Thursday, October 30, 2008


I had the first dentist appointment in (ahem) a while today.

I am very unhappy with the results.

I went to a dentist highly recommended by friends of mine. I was really early for my appointment, as I had overallotted for driving time. They took me into the back fairly quickly.

The first lady who attended to me was fumbling with the x-ray equipment, because it is apparently a new digital system. Biting down on the digital panel assembly was quite uncomfortable because it is large, ungainly, and weighted heavily on the outside of your mouth so it presses into oral bits.

After that was finally over, the dental hygienist came in to clean my teeth. She did a fine job of cleaning my teeth. Then she poked my gums to measure them at each tooth, on the inside and outside. (This is apparently a newer fad amongst dentists, because the last time I went, there was no mention of the measuring). She also mentioned that the dentist was on vacation and would return Monday.

After she finished cleaning my teeth, she started going over the X-rays. This part is what bothered me. According to her, I have "bone loss due to misalignment" of my lower teeth, which she said could be corrected by Invisalign (the "adult braces" that are clear plastic retainers - a rather expensive option), or at least a nighttime mouth guard to prevent tooth grinding. According to her interpretation of the X-rays, I also have two cavities, and the gum on one tooth has receded enough that she recommended a skin graft be done. Oh yes, did I mention that she also recommended a "deep cleaning"? This procedure has the patient numbed with local anaesthetic so they can clean under the gumline. After I was done, they made me an appointment for two fillings and the graft.

Does Anyone See What's Wrong With This Picture?

#1: The HYGIENIST is recommending all these things. The hygienist is not licensed to recommend ANYTHING procedural.

#2: The receptionists should not have made me an appointment based on what a hygienist said.

#3: A general dentist should probably not perform a periodontal (gum-related) procedure. If there is any question, there should be a referral to a periodontal or gum specialist, and they will make the call.

#4: The Invisalign and "deep cleaning" are probably up-sells. According to a friend, dentists make most of their profit from braces. I checked the Invisalign website, and they quote "average cost" of Invisalign retainers as being approximately $5000. I checked my insurance, and for corrective procedures like that, only 60% is covered. That means I would be paying $2000 out of pocket to these people (and it might not even be eligible to be reimbursed through my Flexible Spending Account).

#5: The bone-loss thing sounded the most questionable. It has been a few years since my last set of X-rays. I bet my last dentist has them and I could have them transferred. She is assuming that the spaces between my teeth indicate bone loss. What if that is how my teeth are naturally formed? She also commented many times about the "beautiful teeth" I have, and that they were "very strong and healthy". That seems to directly counterindicate the issue of bone loss, doesn't it??

What I Am Going To Do About This:
#1: I spoke with my family, because after considering what the hygienist had said, it all sounded a little fishy. My father is an opthalmologist, my sister is an anesthesiologist, and my uncle is a periodontal / orthodontic surgeon. They were all appalled that a hygienist was making these assessments in lieu of the actual doctor being available, and that she was using fear-mongering to up-sell me to expensive and invasive procedures.
#2: I am going to call the office tomorrow, and do the following:
- cancel my appointment for fillings / graft
- write a letter complaining about the inappropriate actions of the hygienist in the doctor's absence
- inquire as to what they charged me. If they only charged me for a cleaning fee, that is fair. But I will demand a refund if they charged me for a doctor's consultation, because, uh, NO DOCTOR WAS THERE, and they freely admitted it. (In fact, it turns out his wife was the one who administered the X-rays).
#3: Next step: Find A New Dentist. While this one came highly recommended, I may go the random route now. In fact, there are two dentists within a block of my condo. I think there is even one (or an orthodontist) in the bottom floor of my building. My sister chided me for driving a half hour north of Seattle to find this guy in the first place. Once I get to this person, I will:
- have them request the X-rays be transferred from the original dentist
- ask for a second opinion regarding the cavities, "bone loss", deep cleaning procedure, and "gum loss". Also ask what the long-term prognosis is with regards to the "bone loss" and "gum loss" - if it is positive to marginal, then there is no need to undergo an expensive and painful retainer procedure for the next TWO YEARS or so, and also to go under the knife for a skin graft.
- if the gum loss is deemed an issue (there is no pain or swelling evident there), then a recommendation to a periodontist or gum specialist would be the next appropriate course of action.

The Lesson Here:
I feel really badly for people who do not have the healthcare connections I have. My family is riddled with medical professionals, so I can turn to several different sources of knowledge when I have a question. I am also intelligent enough to perhaps catch on to when someone is trying to swindle me. I mean, these are my TEETH, people. I want to care for them, but I also don't want to be charged thousands of dollars for procedures that would have little to no benefit in the long term. My sister said she is somewhat encouraged when patients ask her questions, but she often sees that they are so uneducated in the procedure they are about to undergo, or their general health, that they are asking entirely superficial questions that have no real bearing on their long term prognosis.
My recommendation for people who do not have such close connections?
- Ask Questions. Write down their answers and then go do some research and see if you can corroborate what they say. If you don't understand what they are talking about, keep pressing them. They should be able to answer in a cogent way without being demeaning.
- If you have any question about a procedure, please seek a second opinion, ESPECIALLY if a non-qualified person recommended it to you. Do Not Be Fooled by people who take too much authority into their own hands. It doesn't do anyone any good.

Thank You. I'll get off my soapbox now.
DISCLAIMER: My friend who recommended this dentist has been seeing him for many years, with satisfactory results for herself. I do not know if she is biased because they were first friends outside the office before she became his patient.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gotland Spinning

I am loving my wool combs! I bought the St. Blaise combs from Carolina Homespun at OFFF.

The Gotland is responding really well to them. The last few nights, I have been relaxing by combing out some fiber and winding it into nests, and then spinning most of it. :) The fiber that remains on the comb, and is not something like a second-cut or nep, I put into a plastic bag for later carding. Most of the fiber that ends up in the bag is a light silver color - I wonder if that is a down layer?

Spinning the combed fiber is awesome. It just floats through my hands.

Something I find interesting is that, even though I have a fair amount of twist in the Gotland singles, once they are on the bobbin, they still have a tendency to pull apart if I tug even remotely on them. I hope this won't happen when I am plying them.

I must say that the color is freaking gorgeous. I love it! I bet overdyeing it would be amazing, since most of the wool is dark grey, but there are flecks of lighter colors throughout - I can envision a lovely heathered yarn.

So I think I am going to make a 2 ply worsted-ish weight yarn with this fleece. I haven't really decided on any projects yet, but I am thinking a nice cabled hat or maybe mitts? The wool is fairly soft, but I can't tell if I am cheating because it is still somewhat greasy?

Oh well! It's still fun to spin! I highly recommend this breed! :)

The only downside to combing is that it is a very near threat to stab yourself. I've already done it once, and was lucky the large drop of blood didn't land in my wool. :)

CrossFit: Angie Smokes Crack

Sweet Gentle Jeezus, today's workout was hard!

Fran stole the workout from the 6AM class' trainer.

Workout: "Angie Smokes Crack" (a variation on "Angie"), for time

- 100 calorie rowing (or 6 min., whichever comes first. I did 57 calories in 6 min. The in-shape guy next to me did 100 calories in 5:20 or so... it is HARD.)

- 100 kettlebell swings (used 12 kg KB)

- 100 wall-ball (used 6 lb ball)

- 100 box-jumps (used box that was ~16" off the floor; stepped up because my knee still hurts a tad)

My Time: 21:10

Incidentally, this is the first workout that I've finished FIRST! There were three of us. The guy took the longest, because he used the 15 lb ball, and also I am pretty sure he was using a 20 kg KB...and his box was higher. The other girl used the same weights as me, but she was jumping onto a higher box.

It was still fun to finish first. ;)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

CrossFit: Another 6 Month Goal Bites The Dust

My second goal to be busted!

I deadlifted my own body weight (150 lb or 68 kg) today! (Hint: the 150 lb D-L was the goal!)

And here is visual proof:

Here is a weight breakdown:

- Men's Bar = 20 kg
- Black Weight Plate = 10 kg x 2 plates
- White Weight Plate = 5 kg x 4 plates (2 white plates per side)
- Blue Weight Plate = 2 kg x 4 plates (2 blue plates per side)

Here is a shot of me lifting a slightly less arduous 64 kg (lacking the final 2 blue plates). A random side note: I never knew my skort was that reflective!

I also have a video of me running with the truck tire behind me; I will try and post that to YouTube soon. :)


My friend Mark's dog, Nick, passed away this morning.

Mark was one of the first people I met after moving to Seattle, outside of online dating and pilates class. He was the first one who took me to the mountains to snowshoe. I remember my sister being concerned because she thought he had a thing for me, and he was "so much older". :)

Nick was a great, if Stinky, dog. :) I never let Mark forget that Nick always made my hands smell - even though Mark would always deny the odiferous nature of his dog, and claimed to not be able to smell Nick.

Here is a picture from April 2006, the first time I went snowshoeing with Mark. Nick is in the foreground. Mark would let him off the leash when we would hike through the mountains, and I would see Nick running back and forth across the trail, enjoying himself the way only animals without inhibitions can.

And here is a horrible picture of Mark and me. :)

Mark adopted Nick from a shelter in 1997, and later on he started the website Lumpy Dog Cookies, because, as I remember it, he said that he looked over at Nick one day and just saw a lumpy dog lying on the floor. (Maybe that is not the true story, but that is what I remember). (where you can see more pictures of Nick and other Lumpy Dogs).

Nick lost a fight with cancer, which seemed to begin with the Boeing IAM strike. (Very odd coincidence, but there you go). I guess that really let Mark spend the last 7 weeks with him, instead of being stuck at work in a machine shop.

There is not much you can say to a friend who has just lost a pet, except offer your condolences and know that they don't mean much because being on the outside is Not The Same.

Hopefully Nick is eating steak and drinking beer, as Mark provided him on his birthdays.

Anyone who knows Mark will miss Nick bounding tirelessly around the house / yard / car / pier / mountain trail/ etcetera.

And I will even miss my stinky hands.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I'm Famous...

Check it out!


Random Musings

Daniel and I had the most awesome lazy Sunday morning yesterday. My pilates class had been moved to 4 PM, so we slept in. I got up around 8 and showered, then knit for a little while. Daniel woke up briefly and motioned for me to get back in bed, so I obliged, and we snuggled and laid there for a long while. Eventually, he woke up and, although I offered to go pick him up a bagel at the store, he came with me. We got back and made breakfast - his bagel was accompanied by 8 oz of bacon I had bought on Friday, and some fruit and yogurt for both of us - and we surfed the internet. Shortly after breakfast, we got back in bed and watched some Discovery channel videos and I sort of half-napped. :) Awesome!! I think Randy and Kris opined it best, that when you have so much to do, that is when you enjoy doing nothing the most. :) The only sad part was that Daniel had to leave at 3 PM in order to go back into work, but that was fortuitous because I had pilates, after which we stopped for dinner at the Elysian brewery.

And here are some WIP pictures for your pleasure.

First up is the progress on my 2nd cashmere sock. :) It is the perfect thing to work on when I have semi-weekly two hour conference calls that start at 7 AM with Rolls-Royce in England. Good lord, those Brits talk a lot!! :) But that just means some good knitting time at work - you can see the lace pattern is well established on the top of the foot.

Next up is the Ms. Marigold vest, from ZephyrStyle. The wiggly-ness you see between the needle tips in the picture is the lettuce-ruffle edging I added to the collar instead of ribbing. I used a ruffle edge from Nicky Epstein's Knitting Beyond The Edge book. The only downside to the ruffle edge is that there are SO many stitches to bind off!!! I am using Elizabeth Zimmerman's sewn bind-off, since it's so stretchy and easy, to boot!

I swatched for the Entangled Stitches gloves, and found that I got gauge with 2.25 mm needles, so that is what I am using. I cast on and had the requisite 68 stitches on my needles, but I found out that I had not been following the charts for the cuff, so I ripped it out and am waiting for patience to strike again. :) That is not a "tv knitting" pattern!!

I am also spinning up my Gotland fleece. I think I'm going to end up with a worsted weight two-ply balanced yarn... at least, that is my goal. Combing the wool is really fun, until you spear yourself on a comb and a large drop of blood barely misses the wool! Ah well.

What else... oh yes, I partially finished processing my Lincoln lamb fleece from... uh... 2006 (guilty face). I washed and picked through over half of it. I have about a pound or so left to wash, but it is a dirty, dirty fleece. Even after picking the burrs out of it and putting it in a bag, I noticed dirt on the wool. The sample that I originally cleaned was Hand-washed in a sink, so I think I took a lo-o-ong time with that little handful (which, of course, came out snow-white). I figure flick-carding or drumcarding will open up the locks, and anything else will either fall out when I am spinning, or when I wash the yarn.

I am also finally working on updating the pictures in the digital picture frame that Daniel got for me last Christmas. It's such an awesome gift, I totally feel guilty about not doing it before. I actually loaded up some resized pictures into it over the weekend, but the slideshow and thumbnail features on the frame weren't working. I'll have to find the directions and peruse them...

Friday, October 24, 2008

CrossFit Notes

This last week, I finally decided to start recording my statistics at CrossFit. I think it's important to start recording stuff, so I can actually see progress written down. Some people carry in notebooks, but at least the staff has a bunch of clipboards available, with recycled papers and pens for writing.

Here are my results so far:


17 October 2008:

Workout: "Fight Gone Bad"

Explanation: "Fight Gone Bad" is a workout where you do max reps of an exercise for 1 min. at a time, and then you do the entire rotation 3x. You add up the totals of each exercise, and the total is your "score".

Exercises / R1 total / R2 total / R3 total:

Wall-Ball/ 32/ 26/ 28

Sumo Dead-Lift High Pull/ 20/ 20/ 18

Box Jump/ 24/ 23/ 22

Push-Press/ 17/ 14/ 17

Rowing for Calories / 7/ 8/ 8

Total: 284


21 October 2008

Workout: Backsquat & Military Press

Weights used:

Backsquat (using men's bar, 20 kg, as a base): 27 kg / 30 kg / 35 kg x 4 sets of 5 (max wt)

Military Press (using aluminum training bar, 7 kg, as base): 7 kg / 12 kg / 16 kg / 21 kg / 22 kg (max wt)

22 October 2008


45 kg deadlift (75% of max)

push-press - 15 kg each hand

Do the following rounds 5x:

- 12 deadlift

- 12 push-press

- 12 pull-ups

- 12 dips

Time: 19:50 (I dawdled on this one, I know..)


23 October 2008

Workout: "The Filthy 40"

40 x lunges w/ kettlebells - used 2 x 8 kg KB's

40 x pushups - used dip handles instead of barbell, 10 holes down on barbell stand

40 x left-hand KB swing- used 12 kg KB

40 x airsquat - went down to black medicine ball + 10 kg weight-plate (under ball)

40 x situps

40 x 2 KB cleans (one in each hand) - used 2 x 8 kg KB's

40 x right-hand KB swing - used 8 kg KB

Time: 19:33


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Anybody Want Some Yarn?

I have some yarn to Sell or Trade! :)

It is super bulky cotton chenille tape yarn. I am guessing it might get 4 wpi, but haven't examined it.

The yarn is great for blankets!

I don't have access to my home picture repository, so here is a link to a picture of the blanket that the yarn came from:

Here is a photo of the yarn after I re-skeined it.
I also posted the yarn for Trade or Sale in my Ravelry stash here.

I am in the process of counting yardage right now, and tagging each skein.

I would sell the yarn for $40. I originally seem to remember paying around $140 for it, and I bought it from Rumpelstiltskin's LYS in Sacramento, CA. could trade me! :)

Here were the items I listed for trade on Ravelry:

- luxury spinning fiber (silk, alpaca, merino, kid mohair curls, etc.)
- some nicely dyed fingering or worsted weight yarn (e.g. Blue Moon, Sheepaints, Dream in Color, etc.)
- a skein of Handmaiden something-or-other
- Malabrigo yarn (lace, worsted, the new Sock yarn...)
- some interesting handspun art yarn

Anyway, leave a comment if you are interested... I would love to give this yarn to a new home! :) I might post it on Etsy... we'll see. :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

My Kind of Jewelry

I am one weird woman.

I have such eclectic tastes, that I love both tension-set, modernist jewelry, and vintage curliques in bronze... (I bought this book recently...)

I love things like aircraft-grade titanium rings.

Stainless steel watches.

Niessing steel rings.

But I also love opulent things like this Tiffany $350,000 necklace. (OK, so it's a necklace that would cost almost as much as a house in Seattle. Leave me alone. I'm dreaming!) :)

Or fun vintage jewelry.

On the other end of the spectrum, there is this place called You & I in Manhattan (I think this website is the same company) where I stocked up on colorful, cheap (cheap!!) costume jewelry.

That leads me to a whole discussion of wanting to live in Manhattan, but the problem there is I'd be broke because I'd constantly be needing new walking shoes since I would be shopping all day long...

Sunday, October 19, 2008 boldly go...

Daniel got his orders on Friday to report to Japan in February.

I definitely have mixed emotions about this, but the predominant ones are:

- I am proud of him for getting this post

- I am happy for him that he got the posting he wanted, because I love him and I want him to be happy

- I am so sad that we'll be apart for a while, and I know it's OK to be sad. A friend of ours is getting deployed to Iraq in August, and his wife told me we'd have to hang out when both boys were gone. Done! :)

- A saying my mom likes to recite is: "If you want to keep the bird, you have to hold it gently", or "you can't squash the bird", or something like that. Something about not preventing a bird from flying away and leaving yourself open for it's return. I'm sure it's more poetic spoken in whatever language the saying originated.

On the positive side... I've always wanted to visit Japan! :) And this is a perfect time for me to concentrate my efforts on my masters degree, when I get in. (Positive thoughts, people!) And I can reconnect with many people who I may have inadvertently neglected over the past two years... *wow*.

My friend Olivia called me today, and I told her about Daniel moving and asked her for advice. Some of you may know Olivia - her and John spent a couple of years separated by oceans as well... and now they are married and oh-so-happy because they are finally together in one apartment! Her big advice is to basically chill and trust that if you have a strong relationship with the other person, then you will come through this with flying colors and you will both come out on the other end as better people. And to write or call on the phone a lot whenever you can't physically be there. :)

So, even if I cry a little bit over the next few months and think about how much I'll miss him, I know in my heart and my mind that the incredible life experiences ahead are worth a little bit of sadness.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

G-Rad Skool Update

I just finished my first draft of my personal statement, and sent it to several people for reviews.

It's really interesting what different people pick up on...

The first person to get it back to me was my current lead, Bob. (Hehe, when I typed that, I imagined Bob the dinosaur from the Dilbert comics). OK, so Bob basically rearranged my essay so it went in the order the instructions gave: Background, Technical Areas of Interest, Future Career Goals.

Dawn was the second person to come back with critiques. She is valuable to me because she is currently in grad school and writes a lot. :) She helped break up some of my longer sentences, and took out a lot of gushy bits.

It will be interesting to see who else a) responds, and b) has critiques that are different.

Ah, grad school by consensus.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Another Fine Blog...

...that I am occasionally contributing to.

It was started by my ex-coworker-now-at-Stanford-for-grad-school, Elizabeth.

Food For Foodies (formerly known as Northwest Foodie).

When I contribute, I am trying to include photos, as well as concise recipe instructions... If you ever have any questions, please leave comments! :)

DIY Flowers

I was walking around the farmer's market on Sunday, waiting for Daniel to finish getting his hair cut, and I came across the cutest autumn flower arrangements: Flowers in little pumpkins!

I did not have cash on me (probably a good thing), so I didn't have the $10 or so that these arrangements were commanding. However, later in the day, I went to Trader Joe's to stock up on normal groceries, and decided that I could make one with Trader Joe's supplies.

I found a bunch of sunflowers for $6, and a sugar pumpkin for $2. So altogether, I spent a little over $8 on this... and had to do the labor of prepping the pumpkin and flowers...which is entirely fine with me!

Step 1: Cut the top off your pumpkin, and scrape it out really well.

I saved my seeds and intend to roast them tomorrow when I get home from Crossfit. (Notice the orange plastic bowl: that is my food waste, going to the food waste bin! :) )

Step 2: Cut your flowers down to size.

You want the stems to be short enough so that the flowers don't stick really far out of the pumpkin.

Step 3: Add some water to pumpkin (about halfway up).

I added a few drops of bleach to help keep the water from stankin' up the joint in two days. Then add your flowers! If you added bleach to the water, either be sure you aren't going to drip water somewhere, or arrange your stuff in the safe and don't bleach your clothes / kitchen towels!

Step 4: Admire your ingenuity at blatantly copying something from a local business!

Cookin' With Coolio

Sweet Gentle Jesus!

Cookin' With Coolio

Episode 1: Coolio Caprese Salad

Episode 2: Fork Steak & Heavenly Ghettalian Garlic Bread

Episode 3: Spinach Even Your Kids Will Eat

Episode 4: Game Day Turkey

Episode 5: Cool-A-Cado

OK, there are more... I just am tired and don't have time to link to them all... :-) Coolio is freakin' hysterical, though.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fond of my Origins

As part of my shopping excursion on Friday, I stopped off at the Origins store in the mall.

I picked up a spray bottle of their new deodorant, and also bought a bottle of their acne clearing gel.

I don't like normal antiperspirants because the aluminum salts in them can traverse your skin and cause bad things to happen, like an increased risk for Alzheimer's (granted, the source I link to is not a health study site, but they do cite a health study done with regards to aluminum's toxicity). Regardless, I do use an antiperspirant when I go to work in the summer...but when I work out, I don't care whether I sweat or not. Now that it's winter, I am not nearly as sweaty, so I just needed something to keep the funk away. Most of the other natural deodorants I have tried over time don't even keep away the smell...and they are sort of a slick gel (usually). My mom uses milk of magnesia, but she doesn't wear sleeveless shirts, so the white residue is not a problem for her.

The Origins deodorant is a spray-on blend of vinegar, alcohol, and essential oils. Today was my first day using it, and although I sweat a little bit on the ferry ride over to Daniel's (it was warm inside the main cabin), I still smell pleasantly herbal.

I am also very impressed with the acne clearing gel. It is a mix of witch hazel, salicylic acid, and essential oils - mostly clove and oregano, both of which have grand antibacterial properties. In fact, oregano oil is a powerful anti-viral, too, and something I take whenever I am sick. (Full disclosure: none of the herbs I take when I am sick taste good. Oregano oil is no different - it tastes like hell). Anyhoo, I dabbed on the gel last night and today on some errant zits, and they have already hastened their retreat....for some reason, the old routine of benzoyl peroxide and the acid toner was not helping me out as much as it usually does. Plus the cold has really dried out my skin, and at least the essential oils don't exacerbate that condition.

A personal note: I use natural products because I am generally cautious about what goes in and on my body. Often the price point of these products reflects that they are made differently (ie they are expensive), but I believe the price is worth it. :) Everyone has to do what works for them...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Cold Friday Morning

Seattle has become Winterized recently.

I was out yesterday in a long-sleeved t-shirt, a wool sweater, jeans, wool socks, a knit hat, fingerless gloves, and a wool peacoat... and I was just fine!

When Daniel woke up this morning at 3 AM (I know... ugh!!!) to go to work, the outside thermometer read 42 deg F.

After I got home from the ferry ride, I took a hot shower, then got into fleece pants and a thermal shirt, and am eating leftover corned beef for breakfast, along with a hot cup of Rooibos Chai / Mate Vana tea blend from Teavana....


I am going shopping for winter clothes after breakfast. :) I have gift cert's at Old Navy and Nordstrom, and I also want to look at Ross and J. Crew, Express... all the usual haunts. :)

G-Rad Skool

Well, I'm doing it.

I'm applying to graduate school.

I was initially resisting the idea... and this is why: Truth be told, my undergraduate GPA is less than stellar. Hell, if it was decent, I would have probably continued on straight to graduate school (my parents offered to pay for it).

But, had I done that, I would not have had the experiences I've had to date.

However, my perception of myself has changed. I always felt I was a fairly competent person, and even though I didn't get A's in classes, I think I understood the material fairly well. My performance reviews at work are always very positive, and I actually just got an offer from a woman in my group who I not only deeply respect, but is industry recognized, to try out her line of work (which is known as Engine Operability... the way I [minimally] understand it, it's like transient Engine Performance). Provided our manager approves, of course. :) (This came out of a conversation we had when we met for lunch to discuss knitting and spinning!)

Anyway... so I have embarked on the application process for graduate school.

I am initially applying to the University of Washington's master's program for Mechanical Engineering. Not only do I like that UW is a decent school, and relatively close to my house, but they have an accredited online MSME program. I figure that I can take classes online, and if shit really goes pear-shaped, I can visit the professors on campus.

The other bonus to all this is that Boeing fully funds any educational endeavors... aka my degree is fully paid for (provided I pass the classes :) )!

So far, I have my GRE scores in, I ordered my official transcripts (gulp) from UC Davis, and I have my letters of recommendation in line from work (from my chief engineer, my first-line manager, and my lead.) I asked for a character reference from my friend Ron, who is CEO of WRF Capital, a company here in Seattle, but he said he could only go as far as writing a letter about my, well, character, and he couldn't speak to my technical proficiency. Which I completely understand... so I let him off the hook. UW only accepts three slots for letters of rec, anyway.

So... all I really have left to do is fill in some slots on the application and write my Personal Statement... *EEEEEEEE*!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Fitness: TIRED!

Today's workout:


Run 400 m with a medicine ball. (I chose the 6 lb one, and was able to run without stopping!).

10-20 alternating lunges

15 squats

10 pushups

15 more squats

A few sets of deadlifts

Abwork - testing out V-ups, hollow rocking (make a hollow shape by flattening out the lower back, and rock from your shoulders to your hips)


5 Rounds Of:

- 5 deadlifts (Amy and I were at 50 kg, or ~110.2 lb. While we were warming up, we had moved up to 55 kg (121.5 lb), but Fran wanted us at a weight that we could repeat several times...)

- 10 hollow rockers or V-ups

- 5 pull-ups. I used the green (midway-resistance) rubber band, and kipped most of my pull-ups with varying degrees of success. Ironically, my kips get better as I get more tired.


After we finished that, Fran had us do a 400 m farmer's walk...which just means "grab two kettlebells and walk around the block". So Amy and I grabbed two 8 kg (17.6 lb) kettlebells each, and walked around the block as instructed, while speaking of the economy. (She is a financial director somewhere in Seattle).


I gotta say, I am TIRED! My lower back will be sore tomorrow, I can feel it. I think I failed to keep it straight / arched while lifting some of the time. :-(

I left CF, gathered my veggies, went to the store for cheese and a corned beef, came home, put the corned beef on the stove, made a tomato soup with garlic, beer, prosciutto, and parmegiano-reggiano (grated), and sat down for a minute after loading up the dishwasher.

Now all I have to do is pack my breakfast / lunch, shower, and put away the washed dishes and the newly cooked food... Maybe I'll even get some knitting done in bed before I collapse! :-)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Washing My Gotland

I decided this weekend would be a nice time to wash my Gotland lamb fleece that I bought at OFFF a couple of weeks ago. The weather was really crappy yesterday (rainy + wind), which sort of pre-empted me going to a Pumpkin Tossing contest up in Snohomish, about an hour's drive north of Seattle. Plus, Daniel was working, so I had the entire day to myself.

I actually ran a bunch of errands through Saturday afternoon, then settled down into washing this puppy.

I decided to use my washing machine, since I just cleaned my bathtub and didn't really want to scrub it out again.

Here is a picture of the fleece, before I started.

I used the "low" volume setting, and "warm" water, and let the washing machine fill with water. I added a scoop of my Trader Joe's laundry detergent - I figured it's detergent, unscented, and should work fine.

I put about a third of a pound of fleece in each of three nylon mesh lingerie bags (one of the items I bought on my errand rounds), and lowered them into the washing machine, and let them sit for about 20 minutes. Then I removed the bags, put them in a large bowl, and spun the water out of the washing drum.

This is the washing machine after the first rinse...check out how brown the water is!

This first batch I rinsed about 4 or 5 times... I lost count. The water in the last rinse wasn't perfectly clear, in fact it was a tad beige, but frankly I was tired of rinsing, so I put the locks out to dry on my other bath towel. (Yes, I only have two bath towels).

Daniel called me today about 12:30 PM, to tell me he was only home to wash his uniform, and had to return to work. Sadness - I was looking forward to seeing him. But his boat is due to come out of drydock within the next week, so he is understandably extremely busy. I do miss him... it is hard to be with someone and only be able to see them once or twice a week, but anything is bearable when the person is worth it and you know this situation won't be around forever. :)

With that information, I decided to wash the second half of the fleece. I used three mesh bags again, but this time I used a mix of "hot" and "warm" water in the washtub, and I spun out the fleece with the water every time. I don't think it adversely affected it. I also used two rounds of soap, and I think that may have helped more. I think I rinsed it three or four times today, and I do think the water looked cleaner at the end of it. I am debating whether to dunk the first half back in the washer... it still smells sheepy, but a lot better, and it feels mildly greasy, but not unpleasantly so. I am now debating how to start processing it... I am thinking of trying my combs. I figure if it doesn't work, I can always go to the carder.


Also, some project progress photos!

Here is my first cashmere sock, done done done! I actually finished it Friday, but I was having trouble finding EZ's sewn bind off instructions online, so I waited and just knit on my Koolhaas until I got home...something which I forgot to photograph. I used her sewn BO this morning...

I also cast on for the second cashmere sock this morning, too. I have Judy's Magic CO instructions in Cat Bordhi's latest book, so I was glad I didn't have to sign online to look that up.

Finally, here is my latest pair of socks. No, knitting one pair at a time isn't enough! :) I am trying (again) the Two at a Time Magic Loop method from Melissa Morgan-Oakes' book. These are the Sugar Maple Socks (Ravelry link). I am using Blue Moon Fiber Arts' Socks That Rock Lightweight in "Fire on the Mountain".

The two-at-a-time thing is making more sense this time around, and I have no explanation for it. I don't know if it's that I am a slightly better knitter now, or I have more patience for it, or the Noro yarn was being a pain in the ass, and the STR just glides along with no qualms. It is just REALLY fiddly on a 32" needle. I have a partial order in to KnitPicks to get myself some 40" sock needles...

I used a long-tail cast on for the cuffs, and I love that her "sugar maple stitch" pattern is just a 2 stitch cable... :) but it's cute. Hey, you can't reinvent the wheel all the time!

Speaking of reinventing wheels, I have an idea for a cool sock pattern. I want to use the Barbara Walker Spider cable chart placed randomly amongst a pair of socks. I think it would be awesome. Check out the cable here: (it really does make a picture of a spider). And, by the way, I think this blog (The Walker Treasury) is an awesome idea - they are gathering sample swatches of all the Barbara Walker stitch treasuries... all of them. Awesome.

Now, one final note about Koolhaas (Ravelry link)... I am STILL having problems understanding how to do the "tbl" instruction. It doesn't twist my stitches the way I think it should. I'm going on to the Interwebs to see if I can find a decent video...


I thought I'd share some of the late summer / early fall bounty I am experiencing right now.

First off, here is the final harvest of my two tomato plants (including the random strawberries that just happened to be ripe yesterday. Anyone else think it's odd that I still have strawberries coming in October?). I figure I will roast or fry the green and less ripe tomatoes. Some have split (see the yellow one in the back?), but the yellow ones taste really good. The green ones were amazing grilled at my friend's house about a month ago (For a sense of scale, they are sitting on a 12" dinner plate)...

This was an effort to cook my beets last week. It looks like a murder scene! :)

I peeled them and threw them in a 400 deg F oven with some maple syrup, olive oil, and sea salt. Simple, and to the point.

Here was the rest of my CSA box from last week: a bag of hardy braising greens, broccoli, beets, parsley, and a yellow squash.

Finally, I had a box of mini sweet peppers I bought at Trader Joe's, and I decided to stuff them with some Humboldt Fog goat cheese I had bought earlier, and just roast them on the stovetop. GOOD LORD these were good. It's true what people say: If you start with quality ingredients, the food will take care of itself.

The thing I love about Humboldt Fog cheese is the flavor. It's like two cheeses in one - the outer layer is a semi-crumbly goat cheese, and inside that there is this gooey, almost brie- style goat cheese. Holy Cow (so to speak).

To end it all, I tossed the veggie remains in the food waste bin. Woohoo!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Do What You Like

It was really interesting for me to read Dawn's latest post. In it, she says:

"I was dubious when I first started knitting socks. I didn't see the point or the necessity for handmade socks even as a hobby. The yarns I first looked at seemed to be too warm for Texas. But I have a competitive nature, if someone out there is making something, I have to be able to make it too."

I found this intriguing for several reasons. I tend to have a competitive nature as to what I consider Unique, which I would best define as "I want to be the only person doing something, or at least the first person to do it that I know of..." This is pointless in knitting, as in music. (I have often heard it quoted that everything in music has been done before). In knitting, while there are things to discover, I doubt that I will ever be one of the pioneers, like EZ, Cat Bordhi, or any of those heavy hitters.

I think Dawn's comment was very honest. :) Although she goes on to say that, apparently, it took her a while to learn to knit socks. Big Surprise! I am fairly sure everyone's socks look like ass at first. Actually, most of my early knitting projects are horrid. But, with practice, they have become better, finally good enough that I felt confident giving them to others.

But, as with some foods that I detest (button mushrooms and mayonnaise top the list), there are some things that I don't think I would enjoy knitting. Projects that require precise seaming, 20-color laceweight intarsia Christmas sweaters in a XXXL... these things completely turn me off, so I doubt I will ever knit them.

My point is that knitting is a hobby, at least for most people. It should be enjoyable. And while I am a big fan of learning new techniques, some are happy making garter stitch scarves for 40 years... and that's great! They are enjoying themselves, and probably get so fast they can whip one out in an evening. But there are some that enjoy the cursing that comes out of their mouths with a new challenge. I think, in general, I am one of those people. I enjoy sitting down with a weird-ass chart and figuring out what's going on, even if means I can't listen to Star Trek while I'm reading the chart. I enjoy knitting socks because I feel they are portable, and I spend a good part of my week in transit to one place or another.

My encouragement to everyone is: Do what you love, but don't be afraid to try new things! If you love garter stitch and hate lace, even after you've tried it, then great! Don't ever make a Swallowtail shawl, because you won't enjoy yourself. Hate socks and love hats? Make a dozen beanies and give them to a cancer ward. Hate alpaca? Don't use it! There are so many wonderful patterns, yarns, and fibers out there that there is bound to be something for almost everyone!

So, I am really happy that Dawn could admit that she learned a new skill, and actually seems to have overcome her distaste for the socks. And she learned a new skill! :) I think it's neat that she is using some of the different fibers for knitting socks (e.g. bamboo), although I did leave a comment that some of the less twisted / plied yarns might be less durable and they might have a shorter staple length, but... the advantage of bamboo is that it's mildly antibacterial, so maybe your feet smell less if you wear bamboo-blend socks! :)

(And yes, wool might be too warm for Texas, I'll admit. But in Seattle, it suits me just fine!! :) )