Maine or bust!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Is that an avocado in your pocket???

Why yes, yes it is. An avocado was all I had time to grab this morning on my way out of the house. So that was breakfast.

I have made some tremendous progress this past weekend. Look what I've been doing:

Several finished squares (and the big-ass hook I made them with)

Mattress stitching the squares together.

One finished strip.

Several strips connected using a simple chain stitch.

I'm nearly done Rob's blanket. I have two more strips that are already chained together waiting to be chained to this pile, and then two more strips' worth of squares at home to sew into strips so I can finish this thing. My mom said I should crochet a border around the whole blanket. Um... no. Maybe when I get a bit better at it.

I have not had a good weekend. Friday afternoon, I developped a migraine that hung on until yesterday afternoon. As a result, I have been tired, cranky and unmotivated. I nearly fell asleep in class last night (to be honest, I think I was nodding off, but after a few minutes, I was able to move around a bit and get myself out of the zone). I'll confess that I haven't been to the gym since last Thursday, but I just found out that the gym is open until 9:30 in the evenings, so I have plans to get there after the kids have gone to bed.

I bought myself another present this weekend...

I can now do nearly half my exercise routine at home (which is good, because the stability ball is a bit humliating in a public place...) I now have a set of 5 lb. dumbells, a set of 10 lb. dumbells, a mini stepper, a yoga mat, the treadmill and the stability ball to work with. I'm forgetting something, but I can't figure out what, so meh.

You know when two people are tired and stressed, they kind of tend to snark at each other for no reason? Yeah... that's been the last couple of days. And I'm not sure if that's related, but I have had THE worst night's sleep and I'm still bloody exhausted (woke up on the dot at 12, 2 and 4, and had a heck of a time getting comfortable at all). Tomorrow, there will be sprout pictures! Two of my flats have sprouted... the third? Nothing. Now I think the third is all parsley, so it may just be a dud package, or they may take longer to germinate, but I was pretty excited to see all the other seeds sprouting this morning. I took the covers off those two flats and we'll see how it goes this week!

Oh, and for the record?

I may be a wee bit addicted to this pattern... (another One-Row Scarf, this one in Red Heart Boutique Changes... gotta love the sparkly bits).

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I'm so excited!!!!

First off, I'm going to the gym tonight with my friend Kari (no, I did not go last night... it's really hard to get back out of the house in the evenings with the kids... maybe Curves, which is a few blocks from my house... we'll see). YAY! Last night, I stopped off at Canadian Tire and picked up 5 and 10 lb free weights, a yoga mat, and some hand grips. Still need a 20kg kettlebell weight and an exercise ball (maybe a medicine ball too). Then I'll be able to do MOST of my gym workout at home. That will have to wait for my next paycheque though.

This is what I've started my new Doctors Without Borders scarf in:

It's Boutique Changes by Red Heart. There are six different yarns in there (there's even a sparkly metallic one). Sadly, I can't adjust the colour (don't have Picasa on this computer) but it's a bit darker than that. This is DWB Scarf # 2:

And now.... what I'm so excited about :D Guess what I did last night?

I planted four pellets of tomatoes (the whole package had 10 seeds in it... ripoff!), eight of chives, twelve of curled-leaf parsley, and six each of sweet basil and cilantro :) Each one of those mini-greenhouses has twelve pellets in it (they really are pellets, and then you pour warm water on them, and they expand into clumps of dirt!) Hopefully they will sprout and I'll have a little balcony garden this summer. I'm planning to add a rhubarb plant (in a planter, obviously) and maybe an avocado if I can ever get one to sprout!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Winds of change...

I'm finally starting to feel a bit more human today, so here I am. Yesterday was spent schlepping Skye to the doctor's office (she's fine, this was an anticipated visit), appliance browsing with Jeff and doing groceries. I've entered the Harlot's black hole on the first Doctors Without Borders scarf... I could have sworn I would finish the thing last night, but there it is, unfinished, looking no longer than it did before I picked it up. *sigh*

This morning's breakfast was a delicious smoothie made from a quarter of a pear, two large strawberries, a kiwi, a handful of baby spinach leaves and some vanilla yogurt. It took me half the morning to drink it (it was only about 1.5 cups), but it was good! I think next time I may peel the kiwi though... and perhaps toss in an ice cube or two. I've got such a variety of fruit in the house right now that the kids are having a ball and I'm getting to actually enjoy some of it! (Trainer told me I needed to eat more fruit.)

Mine actually contains apples, bananas, grapefruit, pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, nectarines and plums right now.

I haven't been to the gym since Friday, and I feel like a lump. No excuses tonight, I have to go. Especially as this week's yoga class has been cancelled (lucky instructor is living it up in Turks and Caicos). Everyone around me is ill right now, including Zachary. I'm clinging to my ColdFX for dear life and drinking as much as I can.

I should have worked on Rob's blanket last night, but I ended up hardly picking up any knitting at all (see above, with never-ending scarf). Today, I cast on a new Doctors Without Borders scarf out of some Red Heart Boutique Changes (it's actually pretty nice stuff, before anybody cringes at the words "Red Heart"). This is my new "at work" project. I'm trying to keep a wider variety of projects going to avoid getting bored... however, I may have missed the point of this exercise by having three of the same scarf on the needles.

It has felt remarkably like spring this past week. The temperature has been hovering between -5°C and 5°C, there's a lot of melting going on, and it just feels awesome. Lots of sunshine today, and I'm feeling that I should be starting some seeds for the window boxes I want to put on the balcony. I wonder how a rhubarb plant would do in a pot... I'd rather have it on my balcony rather than have the upstairs neighbors toss cigarette butts at it from the 3rd floor balcony.

Rob will be here in EIGHT days :D Cleaning needs to be done tonight! 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Watching the wheels....

Actually, this weekend has felt more like spinning my wheels than anything else. Friday afternoon after work, Sarah and I went to the gym. I made another brief attempt at the elliptical, and I just can't do it. Does this frustrate me? Oh hell yes. But anyway, I moved on to a treadmill and did my warm-up, and then we hit the machines and free weights for a solid 30 minutes. Then we went to the Royal Oak for dinner (mmmm Black & Blue Salad! and we shared a plate of Black & Tan Onion Rings) and then on to Bridgehead for our Friday Knit Night! I've never arrived for a knit night that late in the evening before! And after everything else, I really wasn't into knitting, so I did a few rows on each scarf and then just sat there staring aimlessly, wishing for a nap LOL

Saturday, I was working a 6-hour shift, so no gym. I don't consider working at the store to be "exercise", but it definitely takes a lot out of me physically, and I didn't want to overdo it. I squeaked out a bit early (they were looking to cut hours) and headed to my aunt's house. We have a bit of a tradition going that once or twice a year, my aunt, my brother and my cousin work out a menu full of dishes from a particular country, my aunt buys the groceries, and my brother (with assistance from my cousin, who could be a gourmet chef if he wanted to) make dinner for us. This time, it was China. OMG YUM. I ate like a pig, but I did stop and push myself away from the table before I was stuffed (which I'm very proud of myself for... I have little control when it comes to stopping). Then we played asshole until 1am and we all went home :)

Sunday morning, I was working an opening shift, so again, no gym. Then it was off to pick the kids up and driving across town to my mom's house for Zachary's birthday dinner! Again, not too much into the knitting because I was tired... I managed to get a few rows done on one of the scarves, but that's it. After a dinner of ribs, chili and cheesecake (two of those three are Zachary's favorite foods), we headed home to bed.

As a consequence of all this running around, I feel like I got absolutely nothing done this weekend. No dishes, no cooking, no laundry... bleh. Of course, the absence of any (waking) time at home also means I didn't make any progress on Rob's blanket, which is a problem because he'll be here in ten days. I also need to finish reading one of the books I'm working on for class, and start writing an outline of my paper. GAH. Ten days... I can do that, right? :)

In other news.... on Friday, Sarah and I hit Knit Knackers before going to the gym. They were having a 50% off discontinued yarns and odd balls sale. Um... twist my arm? Tomorrow, I may share a picture of the haul I came home with, effectively ending the yarn diet (well, temporarily... it's back on now). I have resisted a number of sales for this yarn diet, and I've been knitting exclusively from stash for a while, but folks, I got skeins of NORO for like $3. (My knitting friends are now going, "oooooh" and everybody else is thinking, "Big freaking deal.")

I'm still impatiently waiting for my avocado pits to sprout. I've got one going at home, and one at the office. I replace the water every day, and I talk to them and everything. Little buggers better sprout!

No pics today, so SQUIRREL!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Candle's burning low...

I've been dragging myself out of bed every morning, and I know that part of it has to do with the angst I've been feeling about the whole weight thing, but part of it is just yearning for daylight and warmth and green. I do still have hope though... I've got an avocado seed in water on my desk, hoping it'll germinate - my mother grows these things in her sleep, and I've never been able to get one to germinate!

I got up this morning (a bit early for me... managed to drag my sorry ass out of bed at 6:30, while I usually hit the snooze button until at least 6:45), got Zachary to empty the dishwasher, refilled it, and got a load of laundry in all before leaving for work. The kids help a lot by getting their own lunches together, although I always go through them before we leave the house (you never know what you're going to find in there). I got *no* knitting done at all last night, although I did figure out how I was going to connect the blanket squares, both for Rob's blanket and for the baby blanket.

Today was yoga, and it was rough. I think I'm still a bit sore from Tuesday's workout (last night I treadmilled for 30 minutes). Two hours later, I'm very tired. Spring is coming, but it's not here yet, and my energy levels are still in the toilet LOL (Maybe I need to go on another caffeine purge... get rid of the diet coke and just drink water). I may just nap in the car while the kids are at swimming. I don't think I can take another session at the gym today. Besides, I have a gym buddy tomorrow! :D (which means I have to go, which means 3 days this week so far, plus one day of treadmill!) Maybe if I'm feeling super ambitious, I'll hop on the treadmill before bed.

So tonight, I think I'm going to concentrate on getting my space in order (somewhat), enjoying my kids, enjoying a nice cup of tea, and maybe flipping my mattress. Because there's always this:

And spring is coming. I promise.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What my problem is...

I made a startling discovery this morning. First off, a bit of back story. I did not end up going to the gym on Monday evening. I had a midterm, the kids were not being cooperative, and I was freaking out slightly (sorry guys!). I did walk around on campus for a while, but there was no significant exercise being done. I also didn't visit the gym over the weekend, mainly because of my belief that being tired and sore is not a good idea when you have to be on your feet for 4-5 hours. I did have a session with Avril the wonder-trainer yesterday, and boy can I feel it today! (Today might be a cardio-only day... I haven't decided yet).

So yesterday, I was in the gym, and I was semi-hungry and semi-nauseous (she says it's normal that when your body starts building up lactic acid through muscle-toning exercise, you will feel a bit nauseated). It was hard work, and I was not wearing gym-appropriate clothing. I was wearing office-appropriate clothing. So resolution one: I need to buy something to wear to the gym that isn't embarrassing for me or for my fellow gym members ;) I was getting hot, and sore, and I was working really hard. And there were tears. This shamed me to no end. I cried while working out.

Now, we're not talking full-out sobbing, wailing that it was too hard and I couldn't do it (like you might see on Heavy). This was more tears slipping out the corners of my eyes and I was powerless to stop them. I kept going, and I kept crying, and I was a bit disgusted with myself. She kept telling me how well I was doing, but I kept calling myself a failure in my mind because I was crying at the gym. I kept telling myself what a weak, pathetic idiot I was for thinking that I could do this. The fact that there were a few guys lifting pretty heavy weights and grunting away next to me probably didn't help... Big hulking guys lifting weights, fat girl crying while tossing a medicine ball.

I was still pretty down about the whole thing when I talked to Rob later in the evening, and him trying to encourage me and cheer me up just brought me down further, because I was convinced he couldn't possibly understand and I was pathetic and he just wasn't seeing it. This morning, I stepped on the scale and nearly started sobbing right there (I'm actually tearing up as I type this). 282. I remember back in October, I promised myself I would never cross the 280 threshold again... I remember in November when I broke the 270 threshold (for a day) and how excited I was. How did this happen? How did I gain back 14 lbs? I have come to two startling realizations.

One: I am terrified of success. Why? I have no idea. Ever since I was about ten years old, I have seen myself as fat and disgusting. My ex-husband has informed me that before I got pregnant, I was actually pretty hot, and when I look back at pictures of myself as a teenager, I really needed help with my hair, but my body was fantastic. So what's with the fat problem? The problem is, I've never SEEN myself as anything other than fat, so a very large (no pun intended) part of me is afraid of what will happen. (or not happen... I think a small part of me is afraid no one will notice, no one will care, and I'm not sure why I care what anyone else will think, but I really do!)

Two: I need to stop getting on the scale. This morning, I actually had this thought: "I gain two pounds every time I go to the gym... why am I doing this again? What the hell's the point if I'm actually going to gain weight?" Now, the problem with this is that intellectually, I know that as I replace fat with muscle, muscle weights (a lot) more and I'm going to gain a bit before I start to lose. I've been eating reasonably well (pizza night last week notwithstanding...), I've been exercising a lot more, and my clothes fit better than they did. I feel stronger, I feel more empowered, so who cares what the bloody scale says? (I do... I SO do, but I have to stop). The whole Biggest Loser thing at work isn't helping either. Here I am, heading down every Friday morning like a lamb to the slaughter, waiting to see how badly I did this week. It needs to stop. I need to stop obsessing over the numbers, and just do what I know will ultimately work, without thinking about what the scale might say. That's REALLY hard for me. So resolution two: I will not get on the scale until Rob arrives on March 1st (I'll actually get on March 2nd, because he arrives late at night). I'm going to put the scale away, and hopefully I'll be able to stick to this. I'm also going to pull out of biggest loser at work, because it stresses me out, and I promise I won't sign up next time it rolls around. *sigh*

I am also very sore today, but I'm not going to take painkillers because it's pain that I earned. I worked hard for it, and I'm going to enjoy it and let it remind me of how hard I worked yesterday and that this totally IS worth it.

(for anyone who came around for knitting news today, I haven't got much... worked a bit on the one-row scarves, and I think I finally found a good joining method for the baby blanket and Rob's blanket, so I'm getting moving with those... Unfortunately, I have a couple of big projects due mid-April, one of which I wanted to have at least a draft of by the end of the month, so I'm doing a lot of school reading).

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday Midterm Madness!!!

Okay, I just liked the alliteration. I'm not panicking and I'm actually kind of looking forward to my midterm this evening. Why? Because it's open book, I really like the subject matter, and I think it'll be awesome :) (For those who don't know, I'm taking "Histoire de la langue fran├žaise" at UQO as part of my Bachelor degree in Translation.) However, the exam doesn't start until 7pm, so what will I be doing before that?

I'm going to the gym :D I have my second session with Avril the wonder-trainer tomorrow, and I didn't visit the gym over the weekend. Not for lack of time/willingness, but because I was working a shift each day at the store, and I figure that 4 hours on my feet is enough of a workout ;) I'm going by myself, I'm going when the gym will be busier than mid-day, and I'm going to enjoy it! I think I discovered endorphins last week, and I think I like them!

In the knitting world, I have a new project that I'm extremely excited about (I started to type "super-excited", thus revealing my French side to everyone... Anyone who's ever met a bilingual franco-ontarian knows that we use "super" for everything in English). Anyway... the girls at Knit Night know that I've been going bonkers over the Yarn Harlot's One-Row Scarf. I can not get enough of this thing. I've got several on the needles, and I never get bored with it! I was thinking to myself, "Self," I said, "we don't wear scarves... so what are we planning on doing with all these scarves?" This was surely a connundrum. I thought about it for a while, and then got a flash of inspiration.

I've been trying to figure out how to donate to Doctors Without Borders (to support the Knitters Without Borders effort), since I don't have a credit card, and don't really like mailing cheques (or anything, as evidenced by the Valentine card I got Rob, which is currently sitting on my desk mocking me). I also don't make a tonne of money, so the opportunity to donate is rare. So I looked at this pile of scarves I'm making, and I put that together with the KWB thing... and lightning struck my brain. I had an apostrophe! Why don't I sell the scarves as a means of raising funds and donate the proceeds to KWB/DWB? I realize that the pattern doesn't belong to me, and isn't meant to be sold, so I did what any responsible knitter would do, and I asked the designer for permission.

Yes, I emailed the Harlot herself to ask if I could use her pattern for this effort. Dudes, I do not need to tell you how I squee'ed like a fangirl when I got her reply. I'm not even exaggerating. I squee'ed out loud, scaring the crap out of both cats and deafening Rob in the process. I was so excited, I could barely sit still to read the email! So with her kind permission, I'm going full steam ahead with this project :) I will knit as many one-row scarves as I can, and then try to sell them for $15 each to raise money for Doctors Without Borders. I'm using stash yarn to do this, so there will be all kinds of scarves. Cotton, wool, acrylic, nylon, bamboo... I've got piles of yarn, so I'm going to try to make as wide a variety as I can.

The only hitch is... I can't figure out how the heck I'm going to sell them. It's not like I can just set up a table on a streetcorner and yell, "Scarves for charity! Come buy a scarf and support a great organization!" I'm still working on that part. If you have a suggestion, shout out in the comments please :) (or if you'd like a scarf, let me know!)

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Friday Report

I was told quite firmly that I had to report back what happened with the trainer today. First of all, I have a confession to make. My friend Kari asked me to go to the gym last night, so... I did. I took it easy though, because I didn't want to be too sore to work with the trainer today (or bawl through the workout because I knew she wouldn't let me use it as an excuse LOL). We did 15 minutes on the treadmill, and then tried to do 10 minutes on the bike. Now, this is a huge step for me. I have not successfully gotten on a bike since I was 18. I had a failed attempt from several years (*ahem* TEN) ago, so I wasn't looking forward to that bit. I managed to do 0.75 miles in 7 minutes! :D YEAH!

So then we did some nautilus weights and called it a day (about 50 minutes, all told... after a 1 hour yoga class earlier in the day!). Today, I was psyched. I was a bit sore, but nothing I can't handle. At lunch, I walked over to the gym, met Avril (trainer) and got started. I am now sore, but happy. She kept commenting on how strong I was for someone who didn't use weights and that she was surprised how well I was doing considering how critical I've been of my abilities :) I won't say it was easy, and I won't say I liked all of it (I did not like the ball, for instance... not great for someone with no balance, but I did it anyway), but it was pretty freaking awesome, and when it was all said and done, my workout was 1 hour, 15 minutes :)

I won't be going to the gym tomorrow, since I'm working a 7 1/2 hour shift at the store (being on my feet for 7 1/2 hours feels like enough of a workout anyway), but I'm going to try to get there on Sunday before work. I'm going to try not to obsess about food and calories, etc. I'm going to concentrate more on exercise and keeping myself moving instead of stagnating in a chair, and the weight loss will follow. As it is, I eat pretty well. I just need to remind myself that certain things are not to be eaten every day, and that treats are meant to be special. (for instance, I'd rather go out for a hand-made gelato rather than buy discount candy at the grocery store).

Fridays are Knit Nights for me, and I have very exciting news to share, but I'll wait until I get there (I don't want to scoop myself by blogging it). Rob will be here in three weeks, so I want to get started on blanket assembly this weekend, but that's not a knit night thing (it's a bit much to carry around), so I've got two scarves on the go. I'm hoping to finish one this weekend (so I can start another one... all part and parcel of the exciting thing I have to tell you all!).

The traffic here is growing by leaps and bounds. I'm amazed! I think a friend must have linked me somewhere, because I'm getting new followers, and new traffic (hi there!) and it's awesome! And now, I leave you with a small distraction:

I don't know why he's purple (probably someone was playing with photoshop), but my arms hurt, so I need to stop typing LOL

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Take THAT!

Okay, so I'm the first to admit I've been in a funk for the last few days... chalk it up to PMS. I was weepy, feeling sorry for myself, and basically feeling down about the whole weight loss thing. Today, I dragged myself to yoga class (after walking an extra few blocks to the bank and back) and HOLY CRAP, y'all. I OWNED that yoga class. There were a few moments where I was a bit frustrated at not being able to do simple stuff most people can do (I have ... um... folds of fat that get in the way for some of the poses), but all in all, it was hard, it hurt, and I did it! Guys, I did an awesome TREE pose! (that's the one that always kicks my ass). I still can't even pretend to do the tree on my left foot, but damn if I didn't hold that right foot one until it was time to come out of it!

This is what full tree pose looks like.
I did not look up, for the record. And my foot rests with the heel just under the opposite knee, because I'm just not that flexible. But I did not fall over once, and I'm insanely proud of that. So I was finding this class a bit more difficult than usual, and I was wondering why... after everyone else left (it takes me longer to get my stuff together after class), the instructor told me that I seemed a bit to limber and chipper leaving class last week, so she stepped up the intensity a bit. Damn. That means it wasn't ME! It was the WORKOUT!!!! :D That left me feeling pretty awesome too :)

My first appointment with her (as a trainer)? It's TOMORROW. I am so excited! We did a quick look-see in the gym before I came back to the office, and I can't believe how much I'm looking forward to this. (note to self: remember your spare sneakers)

Oh, and I can knit what I want again :D I finished Kimery's cowl last night. I actually would have knit another couple of rows, but my stupid circs popped off the cable. *sigh* I don't think I'm much harder on my circs than anyone else, but this is the FOURTH set that's popped on me. I'm rethinking getting myself a set... I may just follow the Harlot into the land of straights and DPNs. I managed to rescue what I had and bind off, which left me a teeny ball of leftovers (but they were leftover from the mittens anyway, so the cowl is a full two balls and a tiny bit extra). I noticed one thing I messed up though, which was probably making it harder to knit. I DOUBLE twisted when I cast on, so I've got a mobius cowl that twists twice. Not a big deal, and it still looks great. I can't wait to give it to her!

Now I can get back to my one-row scarf and finish that one, and I can get back to putting the blankets together! (poor Rob, he's getting worried that it still won't be done when he arrives). The Diagonal Rib scarf requires a bit more concentration, so I think the one-row is going to become my go-to pattern for plain vanilla knitting. It's one row. And it's easy to tell where in the four-stitch combination you're at. I can pick it up and put it down at any point and still be okay. (oh, and speaking of the Harlot... I found out she's COMING! HERE! To Janie's!!!! I am so excited I could spit! (but I won't. I'll just sign up for all the classes she's teaching. She's here for THREE DAYS!!!!)

Shavasana :)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Slight accomplishment and a lot of desperation...

I wrote out this whole long post and then realized I was just whining and feeling sorry for myself, so I deleted it. I did not go to the gym last night. I did groceries and then realized that Zachary had three exams to study for, so it really wasn't fair to drag him to the pool. I could have left him at home and taken Skye swimming, but after an unpleasant grocery trip (that child is beyond difficult when you make her do something she doesn't want to, and she NEVER wants to go grocery shopping), I was stressed out and just wanted to relax. No excuses, I simply didn't want to anymore.

I'm currently feeling very whiny and sorry for myself because I'm hungry, I (still) have a headache, and I am not seeing results (duh, you don't go to the gym, you don't get gym-like results!). The painters are in, and I generally tend to be very weepy and whiny when that happens. I'm also somewhat frustrated because I have a personal trainer who's willing to work with me, who is happy to make herself available, and I'm futtering over how much this is going to cost ($50/hour, which is pretty standard, plus $8/session for three sessions to get her into the gym with me). That, on top of the cost of the gym membership, is a bit hard to swallow and I'm having trouble convincing myself that I'm worth the money. (The fact that I haven't had a shift at the store in nearly a month isn't helping... no extra paycheque coming in.)

I have to do something though, since I do not want to remain this size/weight/fitness level anymore, so I've contacted the trainer and committed to three one-hour sessions with her (*gulp*). Hopefully this won't kill me ;)

In other news, my car wouldn't start this morning. Complete stupidity on my part. I let the tank get really low, and then it went down to -20 C last night, so this morning, condensation and such, car wouldn't start. *sigh* I have learned my lesson, especially as it's been an expensive one (didn't have time to hoof it to Jeff's to pick up his car, couldn't find my jerry can to get more gas, and didn't have any change to take the bus, so I cabbed it to work this morning). I am an idiot (and I'm sure I'll get a lecture from Rob tonight).

On the plus side, I knit a whole lot on Kimery's cowl!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Determined to succeed.

First off, Rob wants me to correct something I said yesterday (he didn't actually ask, but I feel I should) :) While he did not grow up with body image problems like I did, he has in fact experienced a bit of embarrassment and frustration when faced with hard-core regulars at the gym (he started going there to recover from a broken ankle, and it was very slow going at first... kind of a pisser when the guy next to you has been running for an hour and you're hobbling along at 1.5 miles/hour and getting winded). So the fact that Rob is currently in much better shape than I am should not be taken to mean that he's never had a hard time in the gym.

Anyway, I have a few leads on a possible trainer for a couple of sessions, so we'll see how that goes. Tonight is public swim, so I'll bring the kids, toss them in the pool, and tentatively approach the gym for round two. The elliptical will not be spoken of again. Tonight we're going to try a leisurely ride on a stationary bike (I haven't successfully gotten on a bike since I was 18), perhaps some treadmill, and then we'll see. Maybe if I can manage more than a minute or two on the bike, I can split my time between the two machines.Zachary tells me I should play "Eye of the Tiger" while I'm exercising to get motivated LOL I think the kid watches too many movies.

I've also started journaling my food intake on Fitday in the interests of seeing what's going on. Right now, I'm realizing that I don't need as much first thing in the morning, but I need to increase my lunch (just ate a can of tuna because I was starving at 3pm...) So far though, I have managed to maintain a near-perfect balance (however, this does not count dinner...)
Working on it :) Which is also what I've been doing with Kimery's Cowl (poor woman, by the time it's finished, it'll be spring and she won't get to wear it!). I did cheat on it slightly last night, because I'd forgotten it at the office, and a tiny bit today at lunch because I ran out of yarn and had left the other ball at home (anyone noticing a trend?). MILES of seed stitch, I tell you! (Never mind that all the yarn in this pattern doesn't amount to more than 220 yards...) It's growing, and I'm currently half-done, since it's a two-ball pattern, and the first ball is all used up. It will be coming home tonight to be worked on, whether I like it or not ;) I also have laundry and dishes to get to, which I might if it means I can stall on this a bit more LOL There! That's how to get me to do housework! Give me something I'm not enjoying knitting and make me work on it :)

Speaking of knitting... it's going to be cold tonight (-20C). Bundle up! (and someone remind me to plug my car in!)

Monday, February 6, 2012

An exercise in frustration...

I may have mentioned that I got a membership to the city's fitness facilities (there are gyms and pools all over the place). There's one near the office, and there's one I take the kids to swimming classes at once a week. I was very excited and very hopped up and very excited and... well, you get it. Friday was knit night, and so that wasn't going to happen. Saturday, I had a knitting class and ended up with a migraine, so that didn't happen either. Sunday, however... Sunday, I got showered, got dressed, got my butt over to the gym and hopped on an elliptical machine:

and promptly got my ass handed to me by the machine. It took me several minutes (and the help of two other people exercising nearby) to figure out how to even start the bloody thing, and then I got going... my quads started burning, my calf muscles followed suit, and suddenly I was gasping for breath and my heart rate (the thing has heart rate monitors where your hands go) had shot up to 175. I stumbled off the thing in exhaustion and looked up at it to realize - get this - I had done two whole minutes on it.

My legs were total jello and I could barely breathe. I stumbled back to my car in humiliation and frustration and after a long and tearful phone call to Rob (poor guy, he tries, but he really just doesn't get it), I determined that getting my ass kicked after two minutes on an elliptical wasn't a complete failure. Rob convinced me that even getting through the door of the gym and not turning tail when I saw I was the only overweight person in the place was a small victory. I'm sure every person in there watched me walk out thinking, "Well that was quick. She won't be back." But I will. I have to. I'm going to be smart about it though. I'm going to go back - with help.

I'm hoping to recruit either a friend or a trainer (who is also a friend, but I'd pay her for her time, obviously... it's her job!), go back to the gym, and learn how to do this the right way, WITHOUT hurting myself. If anyone is interested in helping me out with this (I'm just looking for one, maybe two sessions), then by all means, let me know! There's a free lunch in it for you (and I'd pay your admission to the gym, obviously).

In other news, I have completely restricted myself to not touching ANY OTHER KNITTING until I'm finished Kimery's cowl, since it's a commission and it's sucking out all my will to live. I need to finish this thing, but if I allow myself to touch ANYTHING else, I'll avoid it. Miles upon miles of grey seed stitch. Ugh.

I'm also on day five of this headache (it doesn't feel like a migraine... it feels like lack of sleep and desperate need for new glasses) and I rather desperately want chocolate right now. Hopefully I will overcome that, since I still have to get through the rest of the day - and then school tonight as well. Monday indeed.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Midnight confessions

Well, not exactly confessions, and it's well after midnight, but meh.

I went to a finishing class today, relearned mattress stitch, and practiced my kitchener stitch and picking up stitches. I also learned a better way to increase! It was an awesome class, but the headache I woke up with had bloomed into a full-blown migraine by the time class was over, and I drove home in a haze of pain. I had intended to go christen my new gym  membership after the class, and then head to a friend's house after dinner, but it was all I could do to down some Tylenol and drag myself to bed.

After a five-hour nap, I felt pretty good :) I've been working on something I have absolutely fallen in love with:

This is the Yarn Harlot's One-Row Scarf  (hers was handspun, mine is made from some Rozetti Always I bought from Knit Knackers back when I was first learning to knit). This pattern is so easy, I can knit it in my sleep. It's four stitches. Seriously. That's it. And this yarn shines with such a simple pattern. As the girls at knit night described, it looks like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups with Cotton Candy ice cream :) These colours shouldn't work together at all, but they really do! I really wish I could still get this stuff (maybe not in the same colourway), but I bought it from the odd balls bin, and they don't carry it anymore. From what I've seen on Ravelry, I'm one of three people who's bought it ever.

I've also started putting together the baby blanket that goes with the BSJ, so that gift will likely be in the mail in a week or two. In other news, since my trip to the gym was pre-empted this afternoon, I'll be going tomorrow morning. Wish me luck. This will be the first time I set foot in a gym since Jeff and I had that YMCA membership nine or ten years ago (I went four times... I was the only fat person in the place, and I felt horribly uncomfortable).

I have to start stepping up my class reading this week. I have a 200-plus page book to get through, write an analysis/review of it, and then find two novels from different eras to compare (I don't KNOW any French novels other than the ones I've read for school in the past. Ugh.) I want to try to get at least a draft of the analysis written by the time Rob comes to visit on March 1st. The fun never stops :)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Oh what tangled skeins we weave...

No, I didn't have a weird ball-winding incident, I've just always liked that line. I've been perusing my stash page on Ravelry (I have an enormous stash which I'm trying to ... um... reduce slightly), and I'm struck by the number of odd balls I have that don't go with anything else. Part of this is the fault of the Knit-Knackers "fun bin" (what I call their odd-ball bin). Miss Emily's a real enabler too ;) Part of it is my own fault, since when I was a shiny new knitter, I had no idea how much you could actually make (or not) with a single ball or skein of yarn. So I bought a lot of odd balls.

I'm beginning to wonder what to do with them all. Some have only 100 yards (like this one):

Fleece Artist Slubby Blue (BFL)
Araucania Patagonia (100% cotton)

Some have about 150 yards:

Araucania Pomaire Multy (100% cotton)
Araucania Pomaire Multy (100% cotton)
 And some of them have a little more... (this one's about 200 yards):

Araucania Ulmo (100% cotton)

Apparently, I seem to have a thing for brightly-colored, chunky yarns... maybe. I also have a lot of worsted acrylic odd balls) but those are a bit easier to sort out. The trouble is, I'm not a hat person, and some of these don't contain enough yardage anyway. I was thinking of doing the Yarn Harlot's One-Row Scarf, but that's a lot of scarves too... I'm just torn.

I'll be taking a finishing class on Saturday, which is super exciting!!! I've been putting off sewing up Rob's blanket in the hopes that I'd be able to take it, and lo and behold, my Saturday shift was cancelled, so now I can take the class :D I did promise that I'd at least finish the blanket before starting myself a pair of socks, so that's what I'll do.

Yoga today was pretty brutal, temperature-wise, but other than that, I had a great time! I'm really enjoying it, and I'm thinking of getting a YMCA membership so I can take some more of Avril's classes once this session is done. (She teaches at the Y near the Museum of Nature, and she's an awesome instructor). Zachary has been begging me to get a gym membership anyway (not sure what a family one would cost), but I've had to explain to him that they don't let you use the weight equipment until you turn 16. He was bitterly disappointed.

I've been wondering what to do for his 13th birthday (other than finally allowing him to have a facebook account), and the only thing I could think of was laser tag. Rob was immediately enthusiastic, so that's something at least (he'd be going with Zachary and maybe 2-4 of his friends, I would knit and wait patiently for them to finish.... it just doesn't sound like my cup of tea). We'll see how it pans out. Zachary is tentatively excited about the idea of it, but we'll see if that translates into an actual willingness to invite people.

I finished with the entire 11-episode run (so far) of Heavy, and I found it quite difficult to watch at times. Man, if I had a team of experts pushing me, I'd probably be a sobbing mess. But I sure as hell would do my damndest to succeed. I really wish I could afford such a thing (without losing my job, y'know?) or at least be able to afford a personal trainer at a gym. I have a few friends who are personal trainers, but I'd never be able to pay them their regular rates, and I won't take advantage of a friendship to obtain services for less than they're worth.

So now I've gotten into Hoarders, and I find it absolutely disturbing... my son watched one episode with me last night, and he said, "Gee, our house looks pretty good compared to these people."... yeah, except they have a mental illness that prevents them from getting rid of anything. We're just slobs. I've become determined to do another mass purge in the apartment, because I just can't take the insane amount of clutter anymore. Spring Cleaning comes early!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Soup's On!

I've been meaning to use this 13-bean soup mix I bought for a while now... Today, I took a "mental health" day to sort of decompress from work and school a little, so I rinsed the beans last night. It says "soup mix", but really, it's just a combination of 13 kinds of legumes. There's no flavoring or anything in there. My kids were kind of surprised to see how much water the beans absorbed (while still being too hard to eat) overnight. I should have taken pictures.

I did accomplish a few things today already. I finished the Chastain Park Shawl, for one thing. Lookit:

I've been reading too much Yarn Harlot lately, and I desperately want to cast on a pair of socks (just to prove I can do it!), but I can't justify that when I still have a baby blanket to sew up, Rob's blanket to sew up, and Kimery's Cowl (the Gap-tastic Cowl on Ravelry) on the go, which is a commission knit. It'll be my reward for finishing up a few things. The other projects in my metaphorical basket are all long-term projects and aren't meant to be finished any time soon.

I mentioned on Daily Mile that I've started watching Heavy. I'm finding it really motivating. FINALLY, a show with actual people that I can relate to, that I can feel struggling, that I can empathize with because I am living what they were living. I cry, of course I cry, but it's helping. Last night, for instance, it got me on the treadmill. Which is awesome, because I'm not too fond of the "dreadmill". On to soup :)

Everything but the Kitchen Sink Soup

2 cups dried beans, rinsed and soaked overnight
1/2 gallon vegetable cocktail (v8 or similar)
1 lb mixed frozen seafood, or 1 lb of whatever meat or sausage or fish/seafood combination you like.
1/2 celery heart (or 3 stalks), chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small can peaches & cream corn (do not drain)
2 Tbsp chipotle sauce (Tabasco, Valentina's or Frank's Red Hot would be just as good)
1 Tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp dill
1 tsp black pepper

Toss it all in a pot, bring to a boil to cook the beans and seafood, and then reduce to a simmer for 30-40 minutes. 

©2011 Lynne Toll at

I had a few leeks and some nice cauliflower I could have tossed in, but my pot wasn't big enough. I decided to save the leeks and make a nice pot of cauliflower-leek soup later on instead. The bean mixture really is a motley combination. It's called Bob's Red Mill 13-bean Soup Mix and it has navy, black, red, pinto, baby limas, large limas, garbanzo, great northern and kidney beans, black-eyed, yellow split and green split peas and red lentils. The frozen seafood mixture I used is from Sea Quest and has octopus, cuttlefish, squid, shrimp, clams and mussels in it (and I added a can of baby clams for good measure). I pretty much always use vegetable cocktail as a soup base (rather than water) unless I'm making a clear, brothy soup (like cabbage) or a cream soup (like the cauliflower-leek will be). It packs more of a vegetable punch and it removes the need for fats like olive oil to add flavor. It does increase the sodium content a bit, but you may have noticed that there's no salt in the above recipe. I don't use it. Heck, I'm not sure I even have any in the house. 

I will be having a bowl of this with a cheese stick later and it smells SO good! (I'd show a picture, but it basically just looks like a big pot of red stuff... i have to learn to take more pictures during prep!)