Archive for January, 2009

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

Health Group- Year 5, week 34

I’m short on time, so this will be quick.

I did an hour of elliptical on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and 50 minutes on Thursday. I did 30 minutes of weights and strengthening a couple times this week, including Friday, and I intend to get an hour of elliptical in today.

I’ve lost the three pounds I gained last week, so I’m back to where I was 2 weeks ago. My measurements are basically the same. I’m down an inch in my waist, but again, that had shot up last week, too. So, I’m pretty much the same. After 4 weeks of dedicated exercise and calorie counting.

Here are my thoughts.

The first week when I dropped four pounds, I was drinking a ton of water. I’ve struggled to do that since. So I can work harder at that. I’m frequently coming in under my minimum calorie target. So that may be something to think about. I’ve been out of my vitamins for a couple weeks, so I need to get those. I feel a lot better when I take them, and they’re the first vitamin EVER I’ve been able to say that about.

All in all, while I would love to be losing weight, I’m really happy with the effort I’m putting in. I feel better. And I’m still optimistic that my body will change. So I’m going to keep on, keep on.

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

One done

It’s so cute! I need to work on knitting looser. The pattern is puckering a bit.

This is mosaic knitting which is colorwork, knitting with one color per row and slipping stitches where you want to bring color from the previous row into your working row. Maybe this will be a good intermediate technique to get me used to proper tension for fair isle, which I suck at.

It’s too small for me, so I’m giving it to Abby and Liv to (fight over) (or lose*) share. Once the other one is done I’ll start a bigger pair for me with either some of my delicious sock yarn or my year old Kauni**.

Does anyone know how to bind off the second picot hem without creating an unpleasant ridge on the inside? I purled the working stitch together with a stitch picked up from the inside, and bound off all in the same round. Purling it was better than knitting it, and keeping it loose helped it to feel softer, but that ridge annoys me.

*Abby and Liv have each lost their tweedy fingerless mitts. The ones I made from wool, alpaca and silk that I washed, dyed, blended, carded, and spun. Then designed and knit for them.

**I’m not so sure I like my Kauni anymore. It’s beautiful, but it’s berry, burgundy, and cool pink. They’re not really my colors. And I can’t spell burgundy to save my life. I always get spell checked.

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

There’s only so much time

There are limited hours in a day that I consider “productive” hours. The quiet hours when no one is demanding anything of me and I can get stuff done. The stuff that has to get done. I’ve been exercising 1 to 1 1/2 hours a day and it’s seriously cutting into my productive time.

And I’m really tired.

Four weeks into heavy exercise and calorie counting. Haven’t lost a thing yet. I was complaining to my sister-in-law today that I haven’t even shrunk back into the jeans that are on the smaller side of my current size. I was wearing them a couple months ago. Not now.

I am still really enjoying the exercise but right now, I want to sleep. I’m so very tired.

The yarn train to Portland was really fun. I don’t get to see my friend Katie nearly enough, and she came.

We walked all over Portland for 6 hours before taking the train back home. I was on a very limited budget as we too are affected by the difficult economy. But the stores were giving discounts, and there’s no sales tax, so it was like 30% off of everything. I bought two skeins of Noro Transitions out of a sale bin and a book I’ve wanted for years.

The organizer of the trip gave everyone two colors of yarn and a booklet of top down hat patterns to knit on the train ride. I didn’t think my colors would look good on my head, but they’d make lovely arm warmers, so I cast on to try out the Mosaic book. There’s an 11 page introduction with instructions, and I wasn’t in a position to read it while socializing in a knitting store. Fortunately, this great woman from the group was sitting nearby and gave me some pointers. (Kauni Sweater on the couch).

I later found out that she’s a teacher from Eugene that’s well known. I think her name is Joan. She saved me. I would have had a huge mess on my hands if it hadn’t been for her help. May she live long and prosper. And I wish I’d got a better picture of her.

We ate dinner at a fabulous italian place with a difficult name that I can’t remember.

Super good panini sandwiches and a creamy vegetable soup. Oh! I want more. We didn’t have time for the extensive selection of gelato, which is too bad because I’ve never had gelato. The waiter (man in the bottom center with glasses) was fantastic. Hilarious, sarcastic, attentive… and he sings. He serenaded our table quite energetically. We left him a phenomenal tip.


I ordered a couple dye colors for the silk that I want to put in my purple batts. They’ve been shipped, so I’m going to start soaking my silk tomorrow so it’s ready.

Finally, I typed out a bunch of guitar drivel that I’d imagine most of you don’t care a whit about. But it’s neat for me to see it all spelled out in one place and I’m very, very proud of what I’ve learned.

My guitar teacher gave me 16 new barre chord positions to learn yesterday. In truth, he gave them to me nearly a year ago, but brought them to the forefront this week and told me to get on it. I kind of know 6 of them already. Here’s the list, if you’re interested…

And times them by 2, because I have to learn them in both Root 5 and 6 positions.

Diminished (I know root 6)
Augmented (sort of know root 6)
Augmented 7th
7+9 (sort of know root 5. Root 6 is painful)
Major 6 (know root 6)
Major 6/9
9th (ok, I know both of these)
13th (know root 5)

I already know

Minor 7
Major 7

Dang. I thought that list would be longer. Well, I know a bunch of open chords and their variations as well. He didn’t give them to me, he made me find them on my own by learning key signatures and finding the appropriate notes to add to the chord- Suspended 4, Suspended 2 (or added 9), Major 7, and 6. I don’t have all those memorized for every chord, but I can find them relatively quickly.

There are a few more he wrote in my book about a year ago that he hasn’t pushed on me yet

7 suspended
minor #7
minor 6
minor 7-5

And then there are the scales, root 5 and 6. Fortunately, the different roots are relatively similar to each other for scales.

Minor Pentatonic
Blues Scale (really cool)
Major Scale
Major Pentatonic
Dominant Scale
Pure Minor
Harmonic Minor (also really cool)
and the Dorian

Hee hee. I know all those.

So maybe, if you’ve made it this far and are still reading (wow, you’re dedicated), you understand a little bit better why I say he kicks my butt most weeks.

I love him. If you recall, I chose him a year ago because his bio on the internet said he’d been teaching for over 40 years. I figured he had to be good and he totally is.

I hope he never retires.

Monday, January 26th, 2009

I finally have a little doll for my guitar

Sometime last year, Abby came home with a little yarn doll that her friend made. I asked Abby to make me one since it looked simple enough, but was waiting to have the right handspun for it. It never happened, so on Friday (I’m cheating again and am writing this on Friday night) at our weekly Knit Club*, I took the time to make one for myself. It’s so cute!

I took some thin handspun and plied it on itself a couple times to make a neat, thick, cabled yarn (the green). I then tried to cable another old handspun (the pink-red) but it didn’t work. I must have been twisting it the wrong way. Anyway, I assembled this little cutie and have dropped her into my guitar as a good luck charm. Or something. It sounds fun to me to have a little doll in my guitar. Hopefully, it won’t wreak merry havoc with my pickup.

*My older girls have just started up a little club where a few friends at school come immediately from school each Friday to knit for a couple hours. It’s adorable.

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

Health Group- Year 5, week 33

I’m writing this Friday, as I’ll be out all day today. So I don’t have an accurate weight or measurement. While I haven’t measured myself since last Saturday, I have gained a pound or two. I’m still making my calorie targets, or coming in under. I did an hour of elliptical Tuesday-Friday, and worked out for 30 minutes on Monday and Wednesday with my sister-in-law, Kirstin.

This week was harder for me, and I’ve noticed a trend. I can do just about anything for 2 weeks. It’s always the third week that proves my undoing. But I persevered. Hopefully, next week will be easier, but regardless, I DID it! I’ve had three good weeks in a row.

Hopefully, I’ll start losing weight at some point.

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

I don’t think you could guess what I’m doing right now

My son, who has spent the majority of his life hating showers and baths more than thumbscrews (figuratively speaking of course), has suddenly started asking for baths. (Previously, he’d scream and kick the entire time every time and after some attempts at getting him “over it”, we decided that for the sake of maintaining the mental health of everyone involved, he didn’t get washed very often).

We’re quite stunned and so this morning when he asked for another bath, I agreed. He likes to take long baths, and since I knew I’d be hanging out in the bathroom to supervise for an extended period of time, I brought something to do.

My brother plays some neat stuff on the guitar, but can’t write lyrics. When he was here on Wednesday, I had him record two of his songs into my laptop, and yesterday morning I wrote a couple verses for him that he happened to love. (Surprising, since my tendency would be to write songs from my perspective. Writing for a 26 year old guy who doesn’t want to “sound like a girl” is kind of challenging).

I also had to sing it so he could get a feel for the timing and placement of the melody. Currently, I am trying to finish it. In the bathroom. While my son takes a bath.

It’s going rather well, I must say. And I feel ridiculous, writing and recording a rock song in my pj’s, sitting on a toilet (lid down) in headphones with a mic while my toddler bathes.

But it’s funny, so I wanted to share.

Oh, and my brother’s hat is still too short, so I get to rip the decreases yet again, and add a half inch. Happily, I don’t expect to make this mistake again.

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

Schooled on hats

Thanks for the comments! It’s nice to know that I’m just wrong and not crazy. I’m thinking that maybe I started the decreases at 4 inches for the Hayden and the Esther Williams hats because the decreases were incorporated into the stitch pattern and spread out further than every other row.

That’s my guess anyway. It’s been a few years since I wrote them. But I’m more than happy to know that on regular stockinette or a comparable stitch I’m supposed to knit a few extra inches before decreasing.

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

Hayden came!

I’m a moron and completely forgot to take a picture of her wearing her new, yellow, beaded lace scarf! (The one I knit last week).

We made enchiladas and put olives on our fingers

And we knit, just like the old days

I’m working on my brother’s hat. Not that I ever offered to knit him one, but he’s been nagging me since I finished his scarf (the one that gave me tennis elbows) in March, and I figure I’d rather whip out a hat than continue to listen to him go on about it.

So, it seems that I’ve forgotten how to knit hats. I’ve had to rip the decreases out of this one 3 times because it was too short. Now it may be too tall. I’m waiting for him to try it on before I finish duplicate stitching the requested vertical-stripes-a-la-the-signature-John-Mayer- stratocaster.

We had the same problem with the hat Abby just knit. I though you knit 4 inches of hat length (more if you’re flipping up the rim) before starting decreases every other round? Isn’t that about standard?

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

Health Group- Year 5, week 32

Hey all. I didn’t lose any weight this week, however I’m down 2 inches in my waist and 1 inch in my hips. From two weeks ago, I’m down an inch in my thigh, an inch in my chest, and 2 inches in each of my waist and hips.

I’ve been kicking butt. Last night I hoarfed at Red Robin, so I’m sure I had too many calories… but other than that, I’ve exercised hard on the elliptical an hour a day, (40 minutes on Monday because I’d just been sick, but I’ll make up that 20 minutes +, today) I’ve net about 1200 calories a day, and I’ve been drinking a lot of water. I’m trying to eat sufficient protein, but I’m guessing I still need to get more.

My appetite is down for the most part.

On the elliptical, my settings were wrong, so I wasn’t really burning 600 calories an hour. It’s more like 480-500. So I raised my resistance level to 5 for most of the week to compensate, and just pushed it up to 6 yesterday. I’m now getting around 520. But I have to really watch my heart rate, because it’s so easy to go over. I figure, if I keep my speed slower and just increase the resistance to raise difficulty, it’ll be better for building up my gluts, quads and core. Arms, too when I use them to push the handles. And it’s easy to focus on different muscles based on my position on the pedals.

I’m still very much in love with my elliptical.

So, I’m a little smaller, my resting heart rate is down around 56, my skin has cleared up a lot and I think it looks a smidge thinner, too.

How was your week?

Friday, January 16th, 2009

Try again

It’s pretty,

but I want it darker, so I’m going to re-dye the alpaca. It’s light, and much lighter when I open it up, there are even white spots. It’s amazing how things lighten when they dry. Even the wool wasn’t as dark as it looked like it was going to be. I’m not complaining there. Just observing.

Hayden is coming to visit on Monday. We’re all very excited.


Ok, ok. Now that I’m thinking about it, and looking at the photo, if I dye the silks really dark colors, like navy and superdark purple, that could have some nice contrast. With maybe a bit of a lighter blue.

What to do? What to do?