Thursday, November 12, 2015


Yes, I still spin and knit, even though there hasn't been much evidence of it lately on this much-neglected blog.  I got onto Instagram with the cool kids (lboatsman there) and I got lazy about actually sitting down and writing something, linking photos, etc. etc.

Soooo, I was reminded today when The Princess asked me for photos of our half marathon, which was 5 years ago.  I looked up my recap here and thought, "I should show some knitting."  I'll go figure out what I knit over the last few months and link to my Ravelry project pages.

I made this baby blanket for a shower gift and really enjoyed working with the yarn.  I'm using it again for another blanket.

I knit these socks out of handspun and I can't wait to make some more.  They are slightly big and just perfect for around the house socks.

I wore them a fair amount over the summer, and did the same with these.  The second pair was made as part of a Spin-along organized by some really great dyers.  The event was based on Terry Pratchett's Discworld books, hence the "Noble Dragon" socks.

This shawl was also made from handspun during this same Spin-along.  "Maiden's Wish" was the colorway name and I think it came out nicely.

More socks from the same event; these are called "Magrat".  I worked on these on our trip from the desert to the NW last spring and had a terrible time with them.  No matter what I did, what needles I used, they kept being the wrong size.  I finally finished but did afterthought heels and made them too deep.  I never forced myself to rip them back a little so they are still sitting at home unworn.  I did enjoy the spinning process and figuring out how to make them self stripe.

I had fun making this guy.

Mr. Hollywood is a fan of the Sharknado movies (!?) so I made him a Sharknado shark.  I thought the bloody mouth was a nice touch.

I finished my epic Gradient Heirloom Blanket out of Plucky Trusty.  I love this blanket and it matches our new color scheme at the lake perfectly.

Then I went on to a Seahawks color scheme kick: Made a cowl for my sister, a hat for Mr. Hollywood, and a shawl.  Oh, also a baby hat for our new grand baby who is expected in the spring!

I made another baby hat too; more babies coming in March! This one was really quick and fun.

I finished a sweater but don't really like the way it fits :(  It's in time out at home in Seattle and maybe it will fit better when I get back in the spring!

 I made another hat out of some nice red yarn but don't know who will get it.

I have some other things in progress; I've been working on a baby blanket and also a Stephen West Mystery Knitalong, which has been quite fun.  Most of the way through Clue 1 yields this pretty shape.  No idea where it will go from here.

I'll catch you on the flip side.  Keep knitting!

Friday, July 17, 2015

I Did What?

Edited to add:  I started writing this post early in June.....good thing I don't put everything off quite this long.  So finally, here's the saga:

I like to keep myself in pretty good shape.  I eat well, exercise regularly, like to try new things like kickboxing, but I'm no athlete.  So then why, last Saturday morning (June 6th) at 6:30 am, was I pushing my bike along the path to the park where I was registered for a sprint triathlon?  Yes, that's right - triathlon.

Now if you've been reading my sporadic blog for umpteen years, you might remember that I did a half marathon back in 2010 with the Princess.  Setting that goal for myself and achieving it with her at my side was a monumental accomplishment for me.  But I found out that I really don't like running and, despite my best intentions, really didn't keep up any sort of a running program after that.  I do normal stuff like walk and work out at the gym with weights (and tried kickboxing last spring!) but wasn't on any sort of specific training program during the last few years.

We built a new house on the shores of beautiful Lake Wilderness in Maple Valley, WA and moved into it last summer.

At this point, we spend winters in Palm Desert, CA and the summers here.  Shortly after we arrived last summer, we observed a triathlon that was held here at our lake.  The organizer was a woman I met at the gym, so way back then I decided that I might want to participate in the event this year.  After all, I swam in the lake most days during the summer, walked around the lake multiple times a week, and would just have to get my old lady bike dusted off and I'd be set.

I planned for this all year.  In addition to my gym class, I ran, biked (a little), swam and thought about the triathlon.  I read (no, I obsessively studied) a book written by a chubby woman non-athlete (her description) who progressed from no exercise to a sprint triathlon to eventually ironman distance.  (Note:  I will not be doing that.)

Long story short, about a week after we ended our road trip home from CA, I was up early and walking to the park to start the event.  I had purchased some of the gear but by no means all of it.  I didn't want to look like I expected to do well with the tri suit and fancy bike, etc.  This was just an experiment for me.  There were about 400 people there this year, as the event had grown to include not only my sprint tri, but an Olympic distance one and also various distances of runs; 5K, 10K and half marathon.  My SIL, who regularly runs marathons, decided to come out and do the 1/2.  It was great to have her here for the night and for support.  My sis and DH were along as support staff and photographers.  We had a great crew!

Leaving our house to go to the park.  After reading descriptions of most triathlons, being able to walk to the venue in 5 minutes was much appreciated.

My race number was 1.  I think I must have registered first...don't know how that happened.

SIL left before me on the half marathon.  She's incredible; had run a full marathon a couple weeks before and didn't look tired at all when she was done with the half.

Getting ready to swim.  Notice all the fancy-pants outfits and wetsuits.  The water really isn't that cold!

Embarking on the bike ride.  At least I didn't have a basket on my did look totally out of place amongst all the racing bikes.

You have to walk your bike to the finish line.

Done!  I was happy to see the end.

Celebrating with our (tiny) medals.  SIL won her age group and I got second in mine.  Very handy to be older than most of the competitors!  We added champagne to our celebration when we got home.

Here's the paradise where we live from the end of the lake.  We can't see the mountain (Mt. Rainier) from our house.  Photo credit to sis.

I am very proud of myself for setting this new goal and accomplishing it.  Despite all of my training, I had a lot of trouble breathing during the swim and run portions, which worried me and slowed me down quite a bit.  I think it's turning out to be a vocal chord disfunction, but why it just turned up during the race and wouldn't go away is beyond me.  Even with that really bothering my running, I never considered not finishing.  It was a beautiful morning and my lovely SIL walked/ran the last mile or so with me even after finishing her 13.1.

I'm still swimming most days, a 1/2 mile or so and planning to work up to a mile soon.  Next year we might put together some relay teams, or I might do an individual race again.  The fact that this one is fairly low key and unofficial makes it just a good time.

On to the next thing!

Triathlon info:  The sprint triathlon is the shortest;  the one I did included a 1/4 mile swim, a 14.3 mile bike ride, and a 5.5K (3.47 mile) run.  The Olympic distance involved a 0.93 mile swim, 26.04 mile bike ride, and a 10K (6.2 mile) run.  If you want to do more, there's the 1/2 ironman (about 70 total miles) and the full ironman, which seems totally crazy to me at about 2.5 miles of swimming, 112 miles of biking and then a full marathon (26.2 miles).  I'm sure there are ultra- type things if you really want to torture yourself, but that's not my idea of a good time.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

On The Road Again Last Chapter

We left our hotel in West Yellowstone fairly early in the morning.  We didn't have a really long drive, but we could not abide the annoying (Chinese) tourists in the hotel for another minute.  Someone needs to teach these guys how to behave before they go traveling internationally.  Rant over.

Anyway, we hit the road for Butte, MT.  Before we had gone too far, we ran across Quake Lake.  This is a lake that was formed due to a massive earthquake/landslide that occurred in 1959.  An entire campground full of people was swept away and the river valley was turned into a lake.  Dead trees protrude up from the water in a ghostly way.  Reminder:  Click photos to enlarge.

The drive was nice; we enjoyed seeing wide open spaces and beautiful mountains as a backdrop.  Now these guys have big yards!

We stopped along the way in Ennis to have breakfast and did a little shopping for some Montana products but pressed on as DH was scheduled for dialysis in Butte in the mid-afternoon.  I have to say that Butte really surprised me.  We had scheduled it as a dialysis stop and I hadn't thought of it as a place that would really be interesting.  I was pleasantly surprised.

While DH was busy, I checked into our B&B, which was very nice, and took a long walk around the neighborhood.  There seemed to be snow-capped mountains on every side.  Lovely to see.

The weather was great for my walk, which was a nice surprise after the rain/snow/sleet we had run into the day before.  We found a nice restaurant for dinner and then went to see a memorial to some miners who had died in a mining disaster.  The memorial was at the top of a hill and was very tasteful.  You could also look over the edge to see the open pit mine that took the place of the shaft that had been there originally.  Learning about the mining history of Butte was fascinating, since we hadn't really been exposed to that industry before.  Seeing the pits that continue to be mined reminded us how lucky we are to live in an environment that isn't dug out and scarred like that.

The next day, we visited some other local sights we found out about.  The Clark Mansion was fascinating; I recently read Empty Mansions, which recounted the history of the Clark family.  William Clark, Senator, banker, and investor in copper mines, built the house originally.  Most of the furnishings are not original, but the architecture and details are amazing, as is the size.  The "tour" signs take away something from the elegance, however.

We went on to the campus of Montana Tech (go Orediggers!)  Isn't that a great name?

It's built right beside an abandoned mine shaft, the Orphan Girl.  There are preserved buildings from the former camp, and you can walk around the old equipment and see what life would have been like to work there.  They also offer an underground tour of the mine shaft, but we passed.  Hello, can you say claustrophobia?  We finished our tour of the yard right before the sky opened up with another cloudburst of rain and hail.

We pressed on then, to Coeur d'Alene, ID.  It was nice to get back to some more familiar Northwest scenery, and the right time zone!  The weather was beautiful here and we had a very long walk on a nice, new trail that is being finished along the river and lake.

Then it was finally the day to go home!  We had a wonderful trip and saw so many amazing things, but two weeks on the road is a long time.  As we drove from Idaho into Washington, the sights became more familiar.  There was still range land and prairie, but farms, too.

The Columbia river:

We neared Central Washington where Mr. Hollywood went to school and stopped at a favorite restaurant there for lunch.

Then it was less than two hours to home.  Our little house made it through the winter and looked great.  We were happy to unload the car (and make it possible again to see out of the rear-view mirror.)

Then we had to check out the back.  The yard was hardly finished when we left last fall and we're looking forward to a great summer here.

And now I sit here writing this on the patio and looking out at this great view.  It doesn't get much better than this!

Monday, May 25, 2015

On The Road Again Chapter 3

Picking up where we left off, we drove away from Devil's Tower and continued on toward Gillette, WY.  If you're wondering why we picked some of these places to stop, it was because DH had dialysis appointments set up before we left CA and the availability and location of appropriate facilities somewhat decided our stopping points.  Anyway, we ended up going through some more mountains to get there and this time it was snowing quite heavily for awhile.  Of course, it was my turn to drive again and windy mountain roads with slush on the pavement makes for nervous driving.  We made it, of course, and then continued through spectacular mountain scenery with switchback roads cut right out of the rock in some cases.  Getting behind the slowpokes who think speeding up to 25MPH is what the road signs mean made it a little more interesting(!)  We arrived safely in Gillette, and stayed in a sort of industrial area that was nothing to speak of.  With dialysis out of the way the next morning, we headed out to Cody, NE.

It was quite cool and windy as we headed toward Yellowstone the next morning.  I didn't realize that the elevation at the park is so high and we climbed again through mountains.  Snowy mountains, stone mountains, tree-covered mountains, we saw them all.  We spent two days exploring the magnificence of Yellowstone National Park and enjoyed every minute of it (except some of the people there, who were annoyingly rude and stupid drivers.)    We entered the park through the east gate from Cody and from there went to the upper area to explore.  We saw wildlife, raging rivers, snow covered fields, massive areas burned out in the last forest fire, and newly growing areas regrowing from past fires.  We saw geysers, hot springs, travertine terraces, unspoiled forest, and much more.  I'll just post some photos and try to caption them briefly.  Seeing so much in such a short time makes it hard to remember what was what but it all was wonderful.  Again, click the photos to enlarge.

View from the hotel window in Cody.  Threatening skies and mountains.

Tunnel right through the rock.  Wasn't long enough to get really creepy.

All sorts of terrain come together here; mountains, carved cliffs, trees, and rivers.

Acres and acres of burned trees from the last big wildfire.  So sad to see.

Snow capped mountains peeking out in the distance.

Our first close encounters with wildlife.  It was great to see herds of bison quite frequently throughout the park.

Sometimes the photos taken when you're not quite ready are interesting....

There was quite a lot of snow alongside the road in some areas.  It actually hailed and snowed a bit the second day we visited; of course I was driving again.

These three bears caused quite a traffic jam along the road as people stopped and tried to get photos.

The travertine terraces were spectacular to see.  The hot water bubbles up and leaves mineral deposits on the rock, causing beautiful colors to appear.

The second day we began at Old Faithful, arriving right before a scheduled eruption and before the rain started.  The clock in the lodge said the geyser was supposed to erupt at 9:20.  It started about 9:22.  How do they know that?

The steam plume got large and the hot water rose high into the sky, eventually falling as sprinkles on the spectators.  Very cool.

We toured lots more geysers in the area.  Some were covered with so much steam that our glasses fogged up and we couldn't really take photos.  Amazing.   Some were small and steaming, some were bubbling.  All were beautiful.  You could feel the warmth and smell the sulphur.  There were animal tracks and droppings around the geyser areas indicating that the wildlife probably sleep there where it's warmer.

We went up a trail that led to an overlook where you could see the whole Old Faithful geyser area.  It eventually led to a beautiful solitary geyser where the colors were striking and the woodsy setting was lovely.  As we neared the Old Faithful lodge on our way down, the hail started falling and it got cold.  A lucky break for us to have been able to see so much in the morning sunshine.

After a tour of the geyser areas we drove to Lake Yellowstone and had lunch at the Lake Hotel.  I don't have a photo of it; it's a huge old yellow building, opened in 1893.  It's very elegant and the dining room was great.  The lake is huge, formed during one of the massive volcanic eruptions millions of years ago.

Tomorrow we head for Butte, MT.  After that it's Coeur d'Alene, ID and then home.  We're looking forward to seeing our own little lake.  I don't know how much more sightseeing we'll do, but I'll wrap up the report on Thursday or Friday.