Sunday, June 4, 2017

Five Months!

When last we checked, I was happily settled in the warm weather, swimming and toasting my backside.  There was knitting being done and I actually finished the brioche shawl and the gradient one.  Unfortunately, I didn't have room in my suitcase to bring them home, so they remain in the desert.  They both came out  nicely, despite my ineptness at the brioche section of the first shawl.  The brioche itself isn't hard but I couldn't quite get the ends of the rows done right.  It looked okay in the end, though.

I'm still working on Russell Street, and it's progressing nicely through the colorful mini skeins.  There are going to be a whole bunch of ends to weave in, and lots of picking up of stitches.  Hopefully it will be worth it in the end.

I started another shawl, Kimba, by Ambah O'Brien.  She had a coupon code for some of her patterns so I bought a few.  I'm doing the small size of this one as I'm not a fan of huge shawls usually.  I like this first color a lot and it will progress into two more colors as it grows.

I decided to bring out my spinning wheel for a change of pace when it got too hot to do much of anything outside.  I spun a big braid of JulieSpins Falkland.  I didn't have any big bobbins for my Lendrum wheel so I had to make two sections, which I then plied together into one big hank of yarn.
I had a couple of interested visitors, Mr. and Ms. Hollywood, who each tried their hand at some spinning.  They decided it was harder than it looked!  We had a nice visit over the Memorial Day weekend, which was right before I returned to Washington.

Now to the physical fitness news.  I mentioned last time that I was training to do the swimming in a triathlon here at our lake.  If you're a long time reader, you might remember that I did the whole sprint distance triathlon two years ago and ran the 5K last year.  This time I teamed up with my sister-in-law and her husband and we did the Olympic distance.  I swam a little less than a mile, Joel rode almost 28 miles on his bike and Julie ran 6.3 miles.  We had fun, we finished, we didn't set any speed records.  I'm almost the slowest swimmer in the world but I wasn't last!! That was awesome.  I start out slow so didn't have too much trouble dealing with the crowd of other swimmers, since they were far ahead of me in no time.  I was fast enough to get the first leg over before the sprint swimmers came up and overtook me, so that was good.  I settled into my rhythm and breathing and didn't have to breaststroke the whole way so that was also good.  The medals were much better this year, too!

One of my training mornings.  Yes, that water was cold but my wetsuit was awesome and kept me plenty warm, even though my arms and legs were exposed.

Right after I finished my swim and turned the timing chip over to Joel.

Joel finishing up his bike ride and hurrying into the transition area to give Julie the timing chip.

Julie coming in strongly from her run.

The Team!

Pat and I continue to feel well and, aside from an evening or two when I felt like going to bed at 8:30, I've regained my energy.  A very good month!

Oh, and I almost forgot (again! 😳) We celebrated our 21st anniversary on Friday.  How time flies!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Four Months, Four Days, and All is Well

May the 4th (be with you) was four months post surgery.  Too bad we weren't in Vegas...lucky number 4 for sure!  Anyway, there isn't much to report on the health front, which is good.  Pat and I are in Palm Desert for a little break from the rain. He came down ahead of me and I came a few days after returning from our awesome spa trip.  We've been walking a lot and enjoying the fact that we can be outside without coats on.

We've had some crazy weather here just as the rest of the country has, though.  There were seasonal temps when I got here (high 80s and 90s), then four or so days of highs up to 106, then a day of rain that didn't get up to 70.  Things should be going back to normal now for awhile but you never know.  There was snow in the mountains this morning, which I would have to say is extremely rare for Palm Springs in May.

I jumped back into my beloved exercise class right away and so far I've been able to keep up fine.  In addition to that, I've been going to the community center pool and swimming on the off days.  I can still swim a mile, folks, so it looks like things are on track for the Lake Wilderness Triathlon relay that I have planned to do with my sister-in-law and her husband as the rest of my team.  We're going to do the Olympic distance, which means I'll have to swim 0.9 miles in the lake, which will be a darn sight colder than the pool here in the desert.  I have my shortie wetsuit and hopefully that will be enough to keep me warmish.  We'll see....there never seems to be an end to the things I decide to challenge myself with.  😏  Keeps me from getting old!

Other than that, some knitting has been getting done.  I'm working on two shawls, All About That Brioche

and Good to the Last Drop.

Then, since that wasn't enough, I decided to start another one today since I get bored easily.  I went through my stash here and picked out some mini skeins and a nice dark skein of Plucky Feet for the main color and will cast on Russell Street.

 One of these will be my airplane knitting on the way home at the end of the month.

Yesterday was the cool and rainy day so after a nice long walk in the morning, we settled down for some time at home.  I've been working on a blanket here and up until yesterday it was too hot to work on it, since it's getting pretty big.  Yesterday was perfect to have a wool blanket on my lap!

Oh, a cool thing we saw...we were driving up to our condo the other day and saw a Sharp Shinned Hawk at the edge of the driveway getting a drink of water from the puddle that forms there from sprinkler runoff.  Photos are from the car and we didn't want to get too close, but he shows up pretty well.  He lives in one of the big trees near our place and usually makes his presence known with his squeaky call and large droppings on the patio and umbrella!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Sixth Hike and We're Done

As always, coming to the end of a stay at our beloved Green Valley Spa is always hard.  This time it was especially so, since we don't know what the future will bring.  Under new management, our destination spa is changing and we don't know how things will shake out.  We were able to cobble together our usual complete package and the accommodations, treatments, food, and hikes were pretty much the same as always but lack of guests and the rumblings of renovations were a worry.  We will watch to see what happens and know that our hiking guide friends should always be around to walk us and entertain us through Green Valley Hiking no matter where we might end up staying.  The grounds, and especially the many roses, are a big part of why we love it.

Our last hike was with Kim and was a good one. We went out along a road in Snow Canyon Park and then up into Padre Canyon when we said that we wanted a little more hike than walk.  The scenery was beautiful as always and we used some of Marc's techniques learned earlier.

I remembered to use my arms to support some of my body weight to keep me out of the water.

My sister put too much weight on her foot and slippage occurred!

Hopefully this isn't the end of an era.  The trip this year was to celebrate my recovery from the kidney donation surgery and to thank my wonderful sister and daughter for their good care.  Next year will be our regularly scheduled spa year due to a major birthday with a large number attached.  We will see what the year brings and where our adventure takes us.

Day Five Hike

This time we hiked with Marc, who is a wealth of information, entertainment, and technical advice.  As he leads, he shows us alternative ways to approach whatever terrain is ahead.  Here he leads my sister up a stone incline, no doubt explaining the proper foot placement and the value of walking on the toes.  When we come to a downhill section, he will show us how to go backwards to minimize slipping and also how to place feet and use hands to increase confidence and stability.  While in many cases just walking normally would work, being aware of other techniques is very helpful and getting used to using your body in different ways and calling arm and core muscles into play can really make a difference in confidence.  I always learn a lot from Marc.  Plus, he loves my hand knit hats and I was able to increase his supply this time!  Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo.

The desert plant were blooming like crazy this time.  

This is indigo, which is so much darker and richer in color than what is captured here.

We were really up on top of a big rock but it looks like we're just sitting on the ground.

Day Four and Back on Track

This was the day of the petroglyphs.  We've been on this hike before, but it's always so interesting to see these ancient carvings.  What do they mean?  They could mean anything..."expert" interpretations are probably no more accurate than our guesses.  Everyone seems to see something different but it's fun to speculate.  This was our first day without our Princess, who had to go back to work, and we missed her a lot!

Our intrepid guide, Kim, pointed out some interesting things he noticed in the drawings.  If you're in southern Utah and in need of hiking guides, check out Green Valley Hiking.  They're on Facebook now but are working on their website.  All the guides are personable and very knowledgeable about the area and are now no longer formally attached to the spa but have a separate company. We love them! 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Day Three and Feeling Fine

Our third hike was a good one; not as strenuous as the previous day's.  There was some uphill climbing but not too much. We had to walk through quite a bit of sand, though, and that makes for sore legs the next day. We saw more beautiful views; the colors and rock formations never cease to amaze. It's so different here from what I'm used to in the northwest and also in the California desert. We got to see the butterfly rock again and that's always a treat.