Tuesday, July 29, 2008

BSJ, Cashmere, and RSC

Here is the current progress on my BSJ. Doesn't look like much yet, but I can already see the mitered corners in it... I'm using Fleece Artist SeaWool and a size 4 needle on my KnitPicks Options cable.

Due to all the travelling last weekend, I am almost done turning the heel on my cashmere sock!

And finally... the July RSC shipment!!! Not one , but TWO patterns, plus dyer's notes, the actual YARN, and a few Sweet-Tarts, for good measure. ;-) (I love you, Tina!)

Olivia & John's Wedding

Last Friday morning, I had to wake up at 4 am. Why, you ask, should I do such a horrible thing and leave Daniel on the doorsteps of the ferry at such an ungodly hour?

Why, to fly out to Olivia and John's wedding, of course.

Now, let it be known: I usually don't go to weddings if I have to buy a plane ticket. I will buy the people a nice gift, and send that, and then just plan on visiting them later. However, John and Olivia have both travelled to see me a time or two, and we have connected all over the country, from CA to WA to NY to MD and back again, so I thought I should go. Plus, Olivia wanted me to play as part of their wedding band. :)

I got to LAX on Friday, secured my rental car, and ended up meeting Kim at her mom's house in Culver City. I got to meet her awesome boyfriend, Aaron, and the four of us eventually got out the door and headed for the Getty center, a great art museum in LA off the 405, where you can see a great view of the city beyond the gardens.

Here's Kim and me at the Getty Center.

Here's Aaron squatting by this great fountain that dripped down into a vase-shaped cavern on the floor below.

I ended up having dinner with Kim, Aaron, Kim's mom, and Kim's brother and his girlfriend, then it was time for me to drive the last 45 min to the Motel 6 in Camarillo.

The motel messed up and only gave me one bed, when I requested two, so I made a flurry of phone calls and ended up having the room to myself on Fri night.

Saturday, I woke up early, and after getting myself an Ice-Blended mocha (no sugar added) from the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (more of a favorite coffee place than Starbucks... I wish they had them in WA), I made my way over to Olivia's parents house. Therein, I found John and the boys, and got to meet all of his friends who had showed up for the wedding. It turns out John wanted me at his bachelor party, but I didn't know that until Saturday... or else I really would have made an effort to go out earlier!

We hung out there for a time, went to breakfast at Marie Callender's, then came back and I made a trip to the wedding site (a botanical garden) with Dave and Rick to set up the band stuff. We met up with Kim, Aaron, Toby, and Ross (other band members from UCD), and picked out a set list and got the PA system ready, then I had to shuttle Dave and Rick back to Olivia's parents to get ready.

Finally, it was time for the wedding. I am such a sap - I am totally non-emotional, then two people get married and the tears come. Good Lord. But it was an awesome ceremony, no religious stuff, but plenty of thoughtful and learned quotes from famous authors and philosophers. Totally their style. They had a reading in both English and Chinese, and Rick sang a great song expressing their love for each other.

Then...party time! Here's a picture of everyone from Davis! L-R: Eli, Priya, Toby (Mr. Spencer!), me, Damien, Tizita (her and Damien are together now - which is so awesome! yay!), Kim, Ross, and Penny. Toby plays drums, and Ross plays guitar. Dave (who isn't in the picture for some reason) plays piano and organ. Priya and Penny lived with Olivia intermittently, Kim plays flute and bass and piano :), and Tizita was their friend from Davis, too. I think Damien had a class with someone, which is how he got to know them, and he and I were in the engineering department together. Eli and Priya have been together a long time (incidentally, Eli made the skateboard that is hanging on my wall in my condo). And Penny is awesome and gorgeous and apparently used to work in a lesbian bar.

Here are Olivia and John, looking so happy together and coming around the tables thanking everyone for coming...

We played a set during the cocktail hour, and then another set right before dinner...the tunes were pretty cool, although I wished for some free jazz (but some folks there might not have gotten it.. :) )

Olivia's mom is Chinese, and somehow secured a Dragon Dance troupe to come perform (the dragons that come out during Chinese New Year parades...) That was Awesome!

Here is a shot of Olivia gettin' down on the dance floor with Dave during the party-time. I love the red cheongsam (did I get the spelling right, Dawn? :) ) she changed into...

I ended up spending the night with Dave (i.e. we shared the bed for three hours while he talked to me about being compassionate towards the less fortunate, and finally we fell asleep), and I meant to split the room more (with Penny, Ross & Toby), but it just didn't work out... So Dave and I got up at 4 AM and made our way to LAX again....and back home I am! (With a ferry stop to see Daniel for a chunk of Sunday, of course!)

Fitness 5: Day Off

I took today off.

I meant to go cycling after work, but the weather turned south and it's been somewhere in the low 60's this afternoon, with spatters of rain here and there, and I can see the wind moving my plants around outside.

I'm such a wimp when it comes to cycling in less-than-perfect weather. I hate headwind, and general discomfort when I'm stuck on my bike (well, now that I'm out of college and don't have to bike in the rain and cold...)

Tomorrow is my final training session, and then Thursday I will attend the group class!

PS: I am very proud of Dawn and Joey for investigating CrossFit. It's likely the hardest workout you've ever had, besides boot camp, but Dave (my trainer) said you will think you see results immediately, and real changes will happen in your body within 6 months. I hope you're ready for the challenge! :)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fitness 4: Form

Yesterday and today I had back-to-back CrossFit sessions.

Yesterday, I did kettlebells for the entire hour. If you don't know what a kettlebell is, think of a cannonball with an upside-down triangle welded to it for a handle.

The main exercise with a kettlebell involves swinging it around. I approached the kb like a dead-lift, picked it up, and pushed it back between my legs (swinging it). This gets the kb moving. Then, once I had swung it back and forth a few times, on the up-swing I pumped my hips explosively enough to scoot me back on the floor, and that helped the kb go even higher. After starting to get the hang of that move, then Dave had me shrug my shoulders as the kb reached the top of their arc. After you learn that, you do the following: on the upswing, after having pumped your hips and shrugged your shoulders simultaneously, you rapidly bring your fists in under your chin, squish your chest, and the kb's miraculously swing around and land in the pocket created by your upper bicep and forearm. I swore they were going to hit me in the chin. This is called a "clean".

Between swinging various weights of kb's, doing sets of cleans, and squatting and picking up and letting down the kb's, it's a wonder I made it to my car upright. My hamstrings and inner thighs were Uber-Sore.

After I got home, I immediately grabbed my backpack full of library books and walked out to the library.

Dave asked me today if my back was sore, and I told him not really, but that I'd gone for a walk afterwards, and he told me that he prescribes that for people who have stiff backs, to simply go for a walk...

*By the way, I found out what Dave used to do in the US Navy. He was a SEAL. This explains a lot... He also told me he had gone through back surgery... but the man looks like his muscles are steel ropes under his skin.


Today's workout focused on the upper body (mostly). I learned how to do a military press and some movements based on that, like the jump-press (I don't know exactly what it's called) and the clean and press. I believe my weight was around 20-30 lb on the barbell.

The military press consists of approaching the barbell, which is on a rack about chest-high. Take the barbell, load it against the chest, and step away from the rack. Then press the barbell straight up overhead, leaning back on the heels to get the face out of the way of the approaching bar. Lower to the sternum, repeat.

The jump-press is a "cheat" sort of move. The hips are used to lift the weight instead of the upper body. Maintain the barbell against the chest, and stick the butt out slightly. Lower and immediately jump up and press the weight up at the same time. Lock the arms in the upper position by pressing the shoulder blades together and shrugging the shoulders. Lower and repeat.

The clean and press is based on the previous move. After jumping and jerking the weight upward, when it's about head-high squat underneath it and press the arms straight. Lock the arms in place as above, then stand upright.

Dave wanted to see how many sets of each movement I could do. Each set consisted of one press, one jump-press, and one clean and press. I completed 10 sets before exhaustion set in.

I was really impressed that, even though we didn't focus on the hamstrings and inner thighs today, my hips and legs were really responsible for a lot of explosive movements today, and they are still sore. When I poke at my upper arms, I can feel the soreness setting in, too...


Thank god I have this weekend off! I'm going to O&J's wedding! :) Kim invited me to see the Getty museum with her and her boyfriend... I hope I can find it!! I forgot to hit up AAA before coming home, and buying maps of L.A.... (sigh).

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

EZ Lives On

The weather turned strangely cold today - I just hope my tomatoes and other various food crops are OK.

Today was one of my new "off" days. Since beginning Crossfit (a whooole week ago), I am anticipating that a more concerted effort to work intensely when I am working out will let me have more time off, to do stuff I want to do. We'll see if that theory holds.

Anyway, so I had time to run some errands - grab my bag of compost from Tori's place, and buy a skein of yarn for my friend Leslie's baby gift.

I am going to make my very first Baby Surprise Jacket. If you haven't heard of this by now, you are likely either a new knitter, or living somewhere that just got the Interwebs. The BSJ is a classic pattern by Elizabeth Zimmerman, a GodMama of knitting. The beauty in the BSJ is that it's knit in garter stitch (knit every row), and when done, looks like a sea-slug. You fold it specifically, sew two seams and BAM - one baby jacket. Can you use fun self-striping hand-dyed yarns? Of course!! And, I will hopefully get away with making this in one skein of Fleece Artist Sea Wool (color: Angel Fish). ( I broke down and bought "Knitting Workshop" at an LYS on Sunday).

Hopefully I'll finish this before Ms. Kendall "Crotchfruit" Smith makes her worldwide debut!!


(I just received my new camera in the mail today (!!!!!!!), but I am charging the battery, so no pictures tonight.)


Okay, once my stomach stops being full from too much salmon, I have to retrieve my compost from the trunk of my car...not that it smells much, but I don't want to unnecessarily funk-up my ride.


And... I go to Los Angeles on Friday for John & Olivia's wedding! Yay! (Although Daniel has that Friday off as an ARI Day - *sigh*...)

Fitness 3: Side Note

For those who have been keeping score, I have switched to Crossfit from All Star Fitness.

I was afraid that I wasn't going to be able to get my money back from All Star, simply because I didn't like them anymore.

It's strange how stuff works sometimes.

I got a letter in the mail yesterday, telling me that the All Star location I had subscribed to (the Queen Anne location) has lost their lease, and if I submit a refund claim before August 15, I will get the rest of my membership refunded! Yeah! (The other option is to get a free year's membership to any other Seattle All Star location... which would be great if a) there were another one near me, or b) they were actually a good gym).

Anyway, I figure I'll get around $200 back. Enough for about 6 weeks of Crossfit. :)

My next Crossfit sessions are tomorrow and Thursday! :)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

WIP Update - 20 JUL 08

Presenting the latest WIPs, as of today...

The first i-cord braid for Kris' Brunhilde hat:

The latest on my Branching Out scarf (Handmaiden SeaSilk):

Ms. Marigold vest. I noticed my gauge got tighter below the joining in the round..(?):

Finally, the latest on my Daydreamer Sock. I took this and the vest on my trips onto the ferry this weekend (over to Bremerton on Friday afternoon, back to Seattle on Sat. morning, back to Bremerton on Sat. afternoon, and back this morning):

It's amazing what you can accomplish with two round-trip ferry + bus trips between Seattle and Bremerton. :)

Bo Concept

While walking to the ferry a couple of months ago, I was thrilled to see that a Bo Concept store was opening up in Seattle (on Marion St. & Western Ave., for those who are wondering exactly where it is).

I had been introduced to Bo Concept by my coworker Loftus (aka "Booj"), back in Maryland. I had gone by the store in Georgetown (D.C.) a couple of times, but had been intimidated by the high style within.

No Longer!

I went in on Friday, as my bus had caused me to have roughly an hour of waiting time before the 4:20 PM ferry.

I wanted everything in the store, natch'....

However, I've been on the casual-hunt for a couple of things. A new floor lamp, and I had been thinking of the possibility of an area rug for my place, although I do think back to how the brush in my last vacuum was absolutely covered in wool fibers. (Now I have all hard floors, and let me tell you - cleaning up dust bunnies couldn't be easier!)

Anyway, here are the two items that caught my eye.

The Shower Floor Lamp has great clean lines, and I love that it has a relatively small footprint - always a plus in a tiny studio.

I also fell in love with the Flow Rug. The abstract swirling lines caught my eye, as did the beautiful colors (in real life, it is lovely shades of aqua and chocolate, just like my condo).

The salespeople were excellent, and told me that the accessories are currently 20% off. So, I am tipping you off!! Go in and talk to them. :)

More than anything, though, I go into these types of stores for ideas. I can now wander Target, Cost Plus, and IKEA with a better idea of what sorts of things I would like in my own place, and not have to drop $260 on a lamp or $700 on an area rug (even if it was luscious, thickly piled wool...). Plus, I don't want to collect extra stuff that is pricey but may not work when Daniel and I move in together (in good time, dears..)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Fitness 2: First Session

Fitness Post #1

Yesterday I had my first Crossfit session. I walked in, changed my clothes, and waited for my trainer, David.

David is a really, well, fit man who looks to be in his early / mid- 50's, with close-cropped gray hair and twinkling eyes (and a wink that I can't decide if it's a motivator or a tic).

He first evaluated my knees by having me stand straight and at a perpendicular angle to him. He wanted to check if my knees were hyperextended, but they're not, so we moved on.

Next, he taught me how to squat properly - to stick my butt out as the initial movement, instead of bending my knees. Maintain a neutral spine and keep your shoulders back and abs in (reminds me very much of pilates). The goal is to get me to be able to do a full squat - that is, where my butt is right above my ankles. David believes my hamstrings are tight and/or weak because I haven't been using them correctly.

The next step was teaching me how to do a dead-lift (lifting a barbell from the floor to your waist, then lowering it again). It was a bit unsettling to just DROP the barbell, but it was obvious it wasn't going to hurt me, so I got used to it. The dead-lift is based on the squat, and I was lifting about 40 lb. David definitely emphasized form, and he said that the goal is hard work and speed, but not at the sacrifice of excellent form.

The next exercise he showed me was how to row using the rowing machine. I always used it as primarily an arm exercise, but he showed me that, to get the most power from the machine, you push with your legs, and your arms are bending in as a follow-through to the momentum initiated by your legs.

The final exercise was jumping on a box. Sounds simple, right? Well, because of my knees, I am very unsure about jumping onto or off of things. So he gave me a lower box to use (maybe 6" instead of 12"?).

The circuit consisted of: 500 m of rowing in 2:40, then 12 dead-lifts, then 21 jumps onto the box. Repeat twice. I did those three circuits in 16:40. He said that, with practice, I'd be able to do those three circuits using a heavier weight and higher box, in about 9 minutes. Holy Moly!

I was breathing hard, and it's been a long time since I've sweat that much. But (once I caught my breath), I left feeling great! David also shared two encouraging stories with me. One was a man who's knees were so bad, he'd had one kneecap surgically removed, and the other was cracked. He had been coming for a couple of years, and he is now able to do a squat, pain-free. I am sure that is HUGE for him! The other great story was this woman (who happened to be participating in the class going on behind us), who had a fake hip and was jumping and squatting and doing everything in the class seemingly without pain! (Hm, maybe I won't need my knee-braces anymore one day?)

Anyway, this first session was very encouraging. My friend Aash said he is sore every time he goes, because his workout is always different and challenging. I just can't wait till I'm able to just DO things: bike 50 miles, go skiing all day, hike up the nearby mountains. There are a lot of infamous trails that are just "up"....and then "down". In fact, Mt. Rainier is supposedly an "easy" climb for a giant-ass mountain- my friend's husband climbed it, and he said "you just put one leg in front of the other"...i.e. there's no scrambling or technical work, like on most other giant-ass mountains...

I told David "Hey, my boyfriend's in the Navy. I have to be at least as strong as him, right?" ;-)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Le Tour de Fleece

...Gets "Le Tour de Left Behind".

If I were cycling, I wouldn't have even made it past the starting line. I would have been dawdling around behind my heat, drinking a beer.

I see all these people (Yarn Harlot is a great example) participating, and spinning SO much every day! And.... yet... I have no time.

All is not lost, though! I did card up another couple of batts for my Dog's Paw Shawl. They are just sitting in the box, waiting patiently.

I also got to talk to my friend Kim last night - it was great to catch up with her, and even better to benefit from her massive destashing effort! *wink wink*. I'll show my haul when I return from my friends' Olivia & John's wedding.

In the meantime, I did take a passing glance at my forlorn cashmere sock-toe-in-progress on the floor by my bed last night, but was too tired to undertake it while talking to Kim.


In unrelated news...today is my first session at CrossFit! We'll see if I can manage to type a review shortly after, or if my arms have fallen off.

Monday, July 14, 2008


Well, despite the fact that I picked a digital camera (Olympus Stylus 840), I have yet to order it. I keep waffling between getting a package 'deal', or just getting the plain ol' camera. So...not a lot of picture-action goin' on.

Daniel came over Friday, and we got to spend till Sunday morning together. We went to Fry's on Saturday afternoon (how romantic) to look at laptops and cameras, and it resulted in him buying an Asus e-PC and his own Olympus camera. Sunday morning, I dropped him off at the ferry before pilates, then after class, I went to breakfast with my friends Kris & Jeanelle, and after that, I met Tori & Igor, et al, for some kayaking around Lake Washington's Mercer Slough. After that, we all had lunch, and then popped over to a Bellevue blueberry farm and picked buckets of blueberries. At $1 / lb, you can't argue with that! I got about 2 lb, and since I had no cash on me, Igor was kind enough to spot me. I think the winners were Greg & Rachel, with about 4 lb of berries. Tori reminded Igor that he only got to eat 1 out of every 3 berries he picked. :)

After the blueberry ruckus, Melinda invited me back to her place, and we played in her garden! I love playing in other people's gardens...especially when there's food involved! Her neighbor has a huge Bing cherry tree, which we picked from with their blessing, and we also picked some raspberries, rhubarb, and sugar snap peas from her garden. We made a blueberry, rhubarb, and raspberry pie from the fruit, and were about to make a salad, but her lettuce had bolted and gone bitter. :( She also plank-grilled some salmon, and we had broccoli and white wine, to boot. I took the liberty of cleaning up after her, and I also cut a lovely flower bouquet for her and her husband ("CG" to her "MG") to enjoy. I love using unconventional items in floral arrangements - for example, I used some overgrown grape vines (the ends with tender tendrils), and a calla lily leaf, as a backdrop for her huge hybrid tea rose blossoms, along with some plum colored clematis blossoms spilling over on top of lacecap hydrangeas and chrysanthemums. She has a great olive green pitcher that has the spout cracked off, and it makes a perfect flower vase! :)


In knitting news, I started a new pair of socks! I'm using Zen Yarn Gardens' "Daydreamer" pattern, along with her "First Kiss" colorway of 100% Mongolian cashmere sock yarn from her Sumptuous Sock Yarn club (from last year, ahem...). The gauge is 9 st/in, and it is a lot different than I expected it would be! It is just really fine yarn, and it has taken me a little getting used to, but I do love it, and with every pair of socks I finish, I feel more confident in the next one.

I'm also moving on with my Ms. Marigold vest pattern. It's joined in the round, and I'm probably 2" down the body by now? It's good mindless knitting, at least. :)

I also am hoping to finish up the Brunhilde hat soon. I finished the wings on a ferry trip the other weekend, and started on the i-cord braids. You can see my Ravelry page for more pictures.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Dog's Paw Shawl, Part 3

See: Part 1
See: Part 2

This is Part 3 in a series devoted to my first long-term spinning / knitting project.

Daniel and I returned from Bremerton yesterday evening, and I was itching to get some more spinning done for the Dog's Paw Shawl. I was able to finish spinning up the final batt I had stored in my shoebox, and completed plying the two individual plies. I was afraid that, since I don't have a tensioned lazy kate (and therefore use the bobbin holder on my Majacraft Susie as a makeshift lazy kate), that my very thin plies would break because of the somewhat erratic tension the bobbins experience spinning on the holder. I was glad to be proven mostly wrong (the yarn broke once, but I think that was my fault for pulling too roughly). I suspect that the addition of the silk into the batt helped strengthen the fibers, as well as did the tight twist on the single plies.

Last night, I thought I would be eager to start knitting, so I wound the yarn fresh from the bobbin into a cake using my ball-winder. Today, after returning home from various errands, I looked at the cake and knew I would never forgive myself if I didn't take the proper intermediary step and wind the yarn around a niddy-noddy, so I could at least have an idea of the yardage produced.

So I did. 164 yards (according to the niddy noddy - there were 84 rounds of yarn, and it's a 2 yd n.n.).... hmmmm.... I seriously thought there would be more. I bet it weighs...not a lot. Maybe 2 oz, if that? The interesting news is that the yarn is thinner than the yarn called for in the project ( I think I was getting over 20 wpi, and the project calls for around 18 wpi). The sad thing is that the project also calls for around 1050 yd of laceweight yarn....and this is roughly 15% of what I need. However, the ultimate good news is that I have PLENTY more fiber (dog-, worm-, or sheep-based), so I needn't worry on that end.

Check it out! I am very proud. It is very shiny and soft... it reminds me of this yarn that I am very tempted to buy from Yarnia PDX in Portland.


Socks & Hat FO's

Ahhh...finally some more FO's!

These are the "Serendipity" socks from the January (!) shipment of the Blue Moon Rockin' Sock Club. The yarn is called "Dragon's Dance". I used 2 x 24" #1 circular needles, and got 8 st/in. I really enjoyed knitting the lacy pattern, and am looking forward to more lacy socks! I had a small nubbin of yarn left over, the ball squishes into a nice handful. :)

I like how the yarn stripes exaggerate around the heels:

My other FO is the Brunhilde hat for my friend Kris. I still have to knit the wings and i-cord braids for the sides of the hat, but I am glad the main event is done. :) This hat will fit her a lot more snugly than the Viking hat fits Randy.

I pondered casting on something new, but I think I have enough projects already!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Digital Cameras

I am on the hunt for a new digital camera.

My old one, an HP 4 MP that I bought on sale for $150 (inc. shipping), recently suffered a fall, which broke the lens on it. Surprisingly, the crack on the lens does not extend to the shutter area, so it still takes pictures like before! This thing has been a workhorse since I bought it in 2005. I think it's time to give it a rest, and send it off somewhere to an e-waste recycler (this isn't, after all, like an old cell phone that battered women or children could use even after I think it's too old for me....and it takes a lot for me to think electronics are too old for me. My laptop, after a very nice wipe-and-reinstall-of-Windows by my friend Igor, has to be at least 5 years old - it was a hand-me-down from a distant family member who always has to have state of the art toys).

But, I digress.

So, here is my list of criteria for my new camera:

- point & shoot (I love fancy cameras with lenses and stuff, but I am generally happy with the quality of my amateur shots)
- small, can slip into my purse or large pocket easily
- recharges relatively quickly, battery is easily replaceable (unlike an iPod)
- quick start-up when you turn on the camera (i.e. it is ready for action and your subjects haven't run away or grown bored)
-has a slot for a micro-SD card (I have a 1 GB card in my current camera; would be nice to re-use it...or I suppose I could sell it on the cheap)
- $200 or less

I am going to look up digital camera reviews. What has spurred me on is that I will be going to my friends' Olivia & John's wedding at the end of the month, and it would be nice to have something by then.

Anyone have any suggestions? Please comment on here, or send me an email if you know me that well. ;)


I think I decided on a camera. Daniel and I hit up the NEX and the Best Buy over on his side yesterday. I found a salesman at Best Buy who actually knew what he was talking about. I was doing fine with the various website reviews, except that they don't allow for certain search parameters (like "price"). I also wish I could export the search results into Excel so I could filter out results and do a more efficient culling of options. (Wow, I really am an engineer, eh?)

Anyway, I told the salesman that I like to take the camera with me outside, so he suggested Olympus, as most of their cameras are weatherproof and water-resistant. I think the Olympus Stylus 840 8 MP digital camera is a nice compromise between features and price. 8 MP, 5x optical zoom, various flash settings and shooting modes, image stabilization, and more. Best Buy had it priced at $230, but with a quick search online, so far my best deal has been at NewEgg.com (see link above). $170 with free 3-day shipping on certain colors (I don't understand why certain colors of electronics are now priced differently...I can't imagine why that affects any performance on their part... it's probably to make idiots who feel they "identify" with a certain color pay more for the exact same product.)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

WIPs - 01 July 2008

FINALLY, some pictures of what I've been doing! :)

First up, my first sorta-real lace project. This is the Branching Out scarf, from Knitty. I think I'm on the second time of the lace repeats. (Sorry the picture is blurry!). I'm using Handmaiden SeaSilk for this...Man, it's nice to knit with! The color is more purple than the picture shows.

Next up is my friend Kris' Brunhilde hat, from BellaKnits. I've already started the decreases for the crown of the hat here. This is to match the hat I made for her husband, Randy (the Viking hat from BellaKnits). This is done in KnitPicks' Wool of the Andes...not so bad to knit with, and hey, it's cheap! :) (I hear it felts nicely, too).

Lastly is my January Rockin' Sock Club sock, "Serendipity". This is the second sock. I managed to finish turning the heel by the time I'd returned home to Seattle after camping this last weekend, which was very nice indeed. :) I just started on the lace rounds for the foot... it's smooth sailing from here! This is knit using Socks That Rock Lightweight in the club colorway, "Dragon's Dance".

I hope everyone is having a nice week!


For those of you who know me, you know that I have been vaguely winning the Battle of the Bulge since I have lived in Seattle. Since moving here in January of 2006, I've lost roughly 25 lb. I have changed my diet (first, no dairy, now it has morphed to no grains or potatoes, and the dairy is back). My severe acne has cleared up. I started working out 5 days a week, between pilates classes, kickboxing (or my current temporary stand-in of pole-dancing class), spinning (indoor cycling, not yarn!), and the occasional outdoor activity (e.g. hiking, biking, skiing, kayaking, etcetera...). I used to bike a lot more outside (especially last summer), but the weather has been so off this year, that I haven't been outside but once or twice.

Anyway, I got kind of pissed at myself after seeing pictures from our camping trip to the yurt last weekend. You see, my face is a remarkably accurate gauge as to how overweight I am. The instant it turns round(er), I know the jig is up! Action must be taken.

"But", you ask, "You work out 5 days a week?" ... Yes. I am fairly certain that my body has just equilibrated itself to this new level. So, my new plan is the Amazing Time-Tested Duet of... Diet and Exercise! (Ta-da!) See, nothing fancy up my sleeves! :)

My diet will aim towards a lower fat concentration in general, and less red meat. I will tend more towards fish and white meats like chickens and pork. I already eat a lot of fresh produce, so that won't change. I also will try to lower most of my dairy fat content. For example, I used to use whole cream in my coffee (good lord, my lips would get greasy), and I would also whip it and freeze it for a low-sugar frozen snack-o. Those days are gone for now. I've moved to half-and-half for the coffee (I drink one cup a day, if that...probably a more accurate count is between 2-4 cups of coffee a week), and I intend to move towards whole milk, then eventually low-fat, if I can stand it. I bought some uber-tasty raw whole milk (raw, that is - unpasteurized! Victory!) from Whole Foods a couple of weeks ago, and thoroughly enjoyed it's creamy raw goodness... I just bought some (pasteurized, but not ultra-pasteurized- that stuff is the devil!) whole milk on Sunday evening to fill in when my half and half is gone.

My exercise will shift to less pilates (2x / week in the summer), plus a program called CrossFit, if I can take it. CrossFit was originally designed for first responders (firefighters, EMT's, etc.) to make them more wholly fit and able to tackle their jobs with ease and agility. It has now extended to the general public. I just want a better level of fitness overall. While I can bike about 30 miles with no ill effects, I want to be just More Fit. I know my cardio is not up to snuff - I am scared to run because I don't want to injure my knees any more, and while kickboxing is great and I huff and puff in there, one hour a week ain't cuttin' it! Plus, they work with weights. It's basically a circuit training course. And, while expensive, it's actually cheaper than my pilates regimen has been. I spoke about it with my pilates teacher, Joanna, and she was enthusiastic, even if it meant she was getting less money from me. :) She was one of the people who recommended CrossFit to me, along with an old spinning instructor, and my (and my sister's) old gymnastics coach.

My only beef is that my current gym, AllStar Fitness, is a piece of crap and I already pre-paid for it. I'm going to try getting out of my plan. The gym location I went to cancelled about half their classes when "attendance was down", and now their make-it-up-to-you is that you can go to other gyms. Well, what if I don't have time to visit other gyms?! I figure they owe me about $266 or so. I wonder how much yelling I'll have to do to get that money back.

I intend to keep the blog updated with my progress as I go forth into the world of CrossFit.

Right now, since my face is round and my pants are tighter (ugh), I am guessing I'm hovering around 153-155 lb. My goal weight is 135 lb, which I figure is "good enough", and still probably 10 lb more than my sister weighs (an interesting thing is that we're almost exactly the same body build, but I suspect my frame is slightly larger than hers...but as far as height and legs and stuff go, we're the same. Heck, our voices on the phone sound the same!) As far as cardio goes, I probably suck. My muscles are relatively strong, though. My legs are strong, and my arms are getting there, and my abs are strong, except they are obscured by a layer of fat. I am going to try out CrossFit for a few months and see how it goes. I figure I have nothing to lose, and a healthy (and hot) new figure to gain!