Sunday, December 26, 2010

It's My Holiday and I'll Reschedule if I Want To

This year Hanukkah came at the very first part of December, right after Thanksgiving.  No kids were home, I was in Vegas for part of the time, and we just couldn't arrange to get together for our family celebration.  DH and I lit candles the nights we were home, and I put up some decorations, but in my position as Queen of Everything, I rescheduled Hanukkah.

The Princess and her devoted follower came home for a week, the filmmaker came home for a few days in advance of coming home permanently (!), and our gainfully employed son lives in town.  We rounded up a few more family members and enjoyed our traditional family Hanukkah on Christmas Eve.

Despite the unfortunate burning of many of the latkes and the unusual runny-ness of the spinach casserole, we had an enjoyable and hilarious time.  Our group may be relatively small, but we're still noisy!  The hilarity and possibly the latke burning was probably due to the martinis and/or eggnog.  But whatever....

A few photos follow.  We didn't seem to get everyone included in a picture on my camera, so here's a  representation.  Mostly in the kitchen, as usual!  I notice that DH is notoriously absent, probably cooking the meat outside on the barbeque, or just hiding from the crazy relatives.









I actually made two gifts: The requested black and white checkered scarf for the BF and fingerless mitts for my friend and massage therapist.




I hope your holidays so far have been enjoyable, relaxing, and relatively unburned.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Final Report with Apologies to the Credit Card Commercial

Registering for the Las Vegas Rock and Roll Marathon:  $145

Plane ticket to Las Vegas:  $250

Co-payments at doctor's offices and physical therapy for knee pain due to deciding to be a runner at age 57:  $250

Cool running gear: pants, shirts, jacket, hats, water bottles, waist packs, ipod shuffles, running watch:  Not quite sure but substantial $$

Hotel reservation at Mandalay Bay so we wouldn't have to walk too far to get to the race and, more importantly, back to the place to lie down with ice afterwards:  $350

Miscellaneous food and other shopping expenses:  $200?

Spending the weekend with my girl and sharing an awesome experience:













PRICELESS!!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

We Made It!

Thanks to my cheerleading, encouraging, energetic Princess, we made it the entire 13.1 miles and lived to tell about it.  We're anxiously awaiting official photos from the race website, but in the meantime, I'll share the couple of pictures we took of ourselves (set the camera up and run to pose).

I arrived in Vegas Saturday afternoon and we had to go to the Runner's Expo to pick up our numbers, t-shirts, timing chips, etc.  The t-shirts are pretty cool; nice running shirts with the words and graphics forming the shape of a guitar.


We had pasta for dinner on Saturday night and tried to go to bed early.  The race began at 7:00 am, but we were in a slower group, so we didn't get going until about 7:40.  The weather was good, a little cool, but clear.  We waited around with a bunch of other people until it was time for our group to start.

There were over 19,000 people running the half marathon with us, and an additional 5000 more who ran the full marathon.  You had to be vigilant to avoid running into people who decided to stop and take a picture or walk for awhile and didn't look behind them.  There were a lot of people!  You could tell the real runners, too.  They just look different.  They're the ones coming back toward the end of the half marathon when you're still working on about mile 3.  (Of course, they had a head start!)

We did well.  I'm happy with my results for this first time and hope that the Princess will do another race with someone her own age and get to see how well she can really do.  My muscles were really hurting for a good part of the time (I think it's because I'm used to stopping and stretching every 3 or 4 miles and she wouldn't let me stop until mile 7!)  She truly didn't even look tired at the end and she was so helpful and encouraging to me the whole way.  I'm very proud of us.

We went back to the hotel room, glad to escape the huge crowds, and took photos of us with our numbers and our medals.  We had matching shirts and hats, but I wore the vest so we had pockets to carry our energy chews and some tissues.




All in all, we had a great experience.  I had dinner with the Princess and her boyfriend, then they left and I had a well-earned glass of wine and the first good night's sleep in a long time.  Today I got to show off my t-shirt to my yoga class buddies and they were suitably impressed.

I'll post again when we get official photos.  I'm glad I did it and I'm glad it's over.  Will I do another?  If you had asked me that at 10:35 am on Sunday, the answer would have definitely been "no!"  Today?  It's possible.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I Feel Great!

I had a great yoga class today, physical therapy on my IT band, visited a yarn shop (yeah!) and just ran my last two miles before the race.  I'm pleased that I can run up a gentle slope that used to have me out of breath when I walked up it, can run several miles without stopping to walk, and just generally have a much improved fitness level than I did a year ago.  Finishing a half marathon will be the icing on the cake.

Thank you Kristi and A for your well-wishes.  And thanks to the anonymous commenter who recommended the viagra.  I'm sure he meant well. :)  I like to get comments, but there's a limit!

In knitting news, I started my airplane knitting so I'm all set to mindlessly knit.  This is another ball of Vesper self-striping yarn.  I got it from a Ravelry destash just because I wanted to try self-striping, wouldn't have selected these colors if I had had a better choice, but quite like how they're looking knit up.  I think this is an older base yarn because it's a bit thicker than the other yarn I bought directly from the dyer more recently, but again I like it.  A nice top down vanilla sock will get me through the weekend nicely.




See you later!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The End of November

Well, I made it to the end of NaBloPoMo and blogged every day.  I don't claim to have said something worthwhile every day, or even many days, but my 30 days are up and hopefully I'll have rekindled the habit of blogging on a regular basis.

I was awake half of last night worrying about this weekend; I leave Saturday morning for Vegas and the half marathon is Sunday morning.  I know I've done all I can to be in shape and ready but still.....I have to worry about something!  I guess I'm tired, but I feel a bit melancholy or at least nostalgic for some reason.  Time is marching on; my collegeboy mailed in his application for graduate school today.  I'm so proud of him, but I can't believe my little boy will soon be a college graduate and then studying for his MFA.  He's lucky in knowing what he wants to do and having the passion to go after it.  I have to think that that's a rare quality, especially in young people.  I wish him luck even though I have total faith in him and will keep my fingers crossed until we have an answer in April.  Then when he gets in, we'll worry about paying for it!

So if I'm gone for a few days, I will certainly report back and let you know how the Princess and I did.  I know the experience will be fun, even though we won't be dressed as Elvis or be getting married at the run-through wedding chapel.

Wish us luck!


Monday, November 29, 2010

Another WIP

Inspiration is lacking here on the second to the last day of National Blog Posting Month, so I'll just show a project that I couldn't wait to start but has ended up languishing a bit.

It's the Undulating Scarf from Spin-Off Magazine, Summer 2010.  I spun some Enchanted Knoll fiber when I was on a forced vacation (long story) in October and couldn't wait to cast it on.  It's coming along fine but it requires me to watch the pattern and do this funny double increase thingy every so often which I don't like so much.

I do like how the scarf is looking, though, so perhaps I'll get on the ball and finish it.  Hope springs eternal!


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pieces

My Cassidy sweater is coming along nicely.  I was worried about the gauge so I blocked the back when I finished it and it came out to the right dimensions.  The first front piece looks so narrow, but I know it's due to the ribbing, cables pulling in, etc. so I'm going ahead and working on the second one and will block them together to match the back.  I really like this color; a nice periwinkle.



I'm looking forward to finishing it and having another cozy sweater for the winter.  I still have to finish the laceweight sweater I started and make the short sleeved handspun sweater, but I guess they'll have to wait.  I have to cast on a plain pair of socks this week for my airplane knitting for next weekend.  Why is it that it's always so much more fun to plan the next project than it is to finish the current one?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

10.2 Miles!

That's how far The Princess and I ran today.  It wasn't easy or very much fun toward the end, but it was possible.  Now, those last 2.9 miles that we'll have to do next Sunday?  Not a problem!

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Aftermath

Today is dark and drizzly but thankfully the snow is gone.  My Collegeboy had to drive back over the mountains today in a snowstorm, but he had chains, said it really wasn't too bad, and made it safely.  When I was up in the middle of the night and saw the pass was closed eastbound, I wasn't so happy.  Only a couple more trips for him and then he'll be done over there.

We had a lovely and lively Thanksgiving.  Fifteen people plus one small dog can make a lot of noise!  The food was all good; I've definitely perfected my techniques and recipes by now.  We've come a long way from the first Thanksgiving dinner I had to cook 15 years ago.  No one complained, but the food left a lot to be desired.

A few photos; it seems I never get exactly the ones I want, but it's nice to have some.  They seem to all be in the kitchen, since that's where everyone tends to congregate until I kick them out from the area behind the stove.

I hope your day was peaceful and happy and today you're resting, knitting, spinning, and/or shopping!







Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

I wish peace, joy, food, and loving companionship for all of you.  Or lots of football, whatever you prefer!



Enjoy the day and stay warm, dry, and safe.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Getting Used to the Deep Freeze

Our high temperature today was well below freezing which is nothing to some of you, but to us wimps in the northwest, that's darn cold!  Monday we had the snow which messed up the traffic in the whole region and since then it has just gotten colder.  It's supposed to warm up and rain by tomorrow afternoon, which will be nice.  I've been trying to keep the bird feeders filled and thawed out.  I was worried about our Oldest Rabbit in the World, but he's fine.  He burrowed into all the straw I put into his cage and made a little nest for himself which seemed to insulate him a bit.  No wonder he's gotten so old - he's smart!

The Princess flew in from Vegas on Monday in the thick of all the traffic troubles; her plane was delayed until they were sure they could land here, so DH and I ended up leaving the house at 2:30 am to drive down I-405 which was frozen but mostly empty of traffic.  We came back north on I-5, which was clear going north but was still backed up in the southbound lanes with people trapped there since rush hour. We saw a few busses and trucks sprawled across the lanes, which was impressive.  We had a scary ride, but DH is a pro and got us home safely with our Princess about 4:30 am.  Now I have to keep putting her in scarves and mittens because she's freezing.

Our Collegeboy arrived from east of the mountains, so everyone who has to travel from out of town is here.  Cooking is started and I'm looking forward to a great day of food and family tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Return of Ice Gator

 As the snow falls, Ice Gator once again spots the young and tender Barbie, resting after a full day of snow surfing.


"Ahh, how peaceful it is here," she thinks.


Ice Gator approaches quietly, thinking of his Barbie-snack.


Watch out, Barbie!  You are being admired.


Closer, closer.....


What's this?  Tucked in Barbie's wetsuit was a freezer gun?



Barbie takes deadly aim.


She fires.


"Take that, Ice Gator!"  Whoosh!  Splat!  Whoosh!


Drat, I've been iced!




"That was a lot of work....

but not as much as it's going to be to get the gun back inside my wetsuit."


If I can only get back to my pool.




I'll get you next time, my pretty!



Written, produced, directed, and gnawed by Buddy, who didn't get to participate in the adventure this year.  No Ice Gators were harmed in the production of this photo essay.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Birds

We have bird feeders around the house and I love to watch the birds.  There are two seed feeders outside the kitchen window and a hummingbird feeder.  There are two more hummingbird feeders and a suet feeder where I can see them from my office window.

It was snowing this morning, so I filled the feeders, then tried to take pictures of the birds through the window.  We have mostly chickadees and finches, with some nuthatches and juncos, towhees, flickers, bushtits, and jays thrown into the mix.  Sometimes we get birds we don't recognize and go to the handy bird book in the cupboard to try to identify them.

The birds were hungry today, and we especially had a bunch of them right before it started to get dark.


This is a little like "Where's Waldo?"  There are brown birds and black and white birds sitting on the feeder perches and in the brown branches of the tree on a snowy background.  It's hard to see them all.



 The hummingbirds were much happier after I fixed the feeders.  They didn't much like this.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

I guess we're in for it

The La Nina weather pattern is predicted for the northwest winter this year, and so far it seems to be right on.  We've had deluges of rain, wind (our power went out yesterday just long enough to make all of the clocks blink) and look what we had this morning.




I'm not super at photographing weather, but I think you can tell that this was snow.  It didn't stick, but came down for a couple of hours.  The temperature's around 35F, which is cool for this time of year, and it's supposed to get colder tonight and tomorrow.  We put the light on the rabbit cage today which keeps our little outdoor rabbit warmer and also keeps his water thawed.  He always looks so startled by the light when it gets dark; he hops around like he's onstage with a spotlight.  Since he's the oldest rabbit in the world, I guess it's keeping him young.

In other news, this week I feel like a real runner.  Last Monday I ran 8 miles in the rain, and today I ran 6 in the snow.  If my knee would just stop hurting, I'd be set.