Monday, May 28, 2012

Inspiration Mondays: Registration

What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything? -Vincent Van Gogh
In 1999, I finished my Bachelor of Education and left for a job in England on the day before my graduation. I thought I was pretty brave then. I've never been afraid to try new things.

Or so I thought.

Back then, I weighed more than 300 pounds. I don't know exactly how much I weighed, because the only scale I would get onto was the one I had at home, and it only went up to 300. And that was that. I knew I was fat. I knew I was unacceptable.

And I knew it was my fault.

When I moved away from home and was forced to make my own food and use public transport in a big, busy, bustling city, the weirdest thing happened:  I lost weight. A lot of weight. All the clothing I brought with me no longer fit.  And I thought I was finished with the weight struggle.

I was wrong about that.

Over the past few months, I've been training a lot... exercise every single day, walking, jogging, strength training, circuits, swimming... and the original goal was to drop some more weight so that I could lower my blood pressure. I thought I'd just drop about twenty pounds and be done with it. And then I looked it up, and I figured that I'd need to drop a lot more than that if I wanted to maintain a healthy body. So, I amped it up, and kept losing more.

And then I had the crazy idea that I'd train for a 10K run in September. Heck, it's good to have goals, right? I thought I'd be at my goal weight by then as well.

So, I've been training for that, and I managed to run about 4K this weekend. Not bad. I was feeling pretty good about the whole thing. Not long before I can really push for 10K.

I was told today that the trail ends uphill, on gravel, no less. I don't know whose dumb idea that was, but they're unlikely to change that anytime soon. Hmm. That's not going to be easy. I briefly considered giving up, that what my well-meaning friends told me was true: that my goals for September were unrealistic. I should settle for a conservative goal so that I wouldn't be disappointed if I didn't reach it. I looked up the registration page for the 10K event and stared at it for a few minutes.

Then, I paged back through my Facebook page and found a video a friend posted this weekend. The following is the extended version:

And so yeah, I'm filling in the form right now. And I'm going to keep on keeping on. And I know that I can't run 10K up a gravel hill right now...

But I will sometime. And that's all that matters. Thanks, y'all. I'm off to Zumba class.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mixing Butter, Nuts, Hemp and Empathy

What do you get when you mix butter with a nut? Butternut, of course! And what if you mix hemp with empathy? Hempathy, naturally. And what happens when you put butternut and hempathy together?

Just plain beauty.

It was a struggle, but man, this scarf is worth it. It wasn't the pattern that was difficult, nor was the yarn any bother to work with. It was just me and my sloooowwwwww knitting for this one. I'm so glad I stuck it through and finished it, though, because it is truly something that makes me smile when I look at it.

I wish there were more bast fibre yarns out there. Cotton is great, but I really love to knit with linen and hemp, especially in the summer, and especially when I find it in such rich colours like this yarn. I think they would make excellent skirts and tops, with excellent drape and a nice, light texture on the skin. Apparently, linen doesn't fade, and both hemp and linen are extremely durable. I'm guessing that linen and hemp yarn is scarce because it's more difficult to create the yarn (it involves quite a bit of processing, I think) and it's not really in high demand.

And no, you can't smoke either of them. I know you were thinking it.

It's raining out today, and it's supposed to rain more tomorrow, so it's going to be kind of chilly out there. That just means I can wear this scarf asap. Score! Man, knitters must be the only people out there who can't wait for the cool weather to come back again.

And well, if you had this scarf, you'd be pining for the cool weather, too!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Inspiration Mondays: How to Defeat Procrastination

It's not often that pain brings about inspiration, but this morning, it sure did.

I woke up at about 5:30am this morning. That's not a bad hour for me (I'm an early bird), but it came with the following issues:
  1. It's a holiday here today. 5:30am is a dumb time to be awake on a holiday Monday.
  2. I'm heading into the city today, which means driving, walking, and weariness, especially if I haven't had a good night's sleep.
I was awakened by a dull ache in my quadriceps. Well, actually, I was awakened by Rascal leaping up on the bed and onto my feet. After that, I noticed the ache in my legs. I tried to change position to get more comfortable, rubbed my thighs a bit, and did a weak stretch, all the while trying not to disturb Rascal the hubby, but eventually, I decided there was nothing for it but to get up and do something about it.

I hobbled down the stairs and filled the bath and sighed when I got in. That was better. After a good soak and scrub, I got out, dried off, got into some comfortable yoga pants and a tshirt and made some tea while I s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d for few minutes. Eventually, I headed back upstairs and back to bed for another half hour or so.

I could have prevented this if I'd just spent twenty minutes last night stretching like I needed to. I felt sore last night from all the exercise I've been doing, but instead of getting up and doing something about it, I opted to look around online for some bamboo circular needles I've been wanting. I dithered so long over it that, by the time I closed the laptop, it was late.

Score one for procrastination.

So often, I hear people say:

  • It hurts. I'll stretch later.
  • I'm so out of shape. I should exercise more.
  • I'm not sleeping well. I should talk to my doctor and see if there's something I can do about it.
  • I don't feel well. Maybe I should do something about it.

And you know what? Yeah, you should. Because you pay in the end... maybe not at 5:30am on a holiday Monday, but sometime. And it sucks.

So, my resolve today is to make sure I do a full hatha yoga session tonight, complete with bow and king dancer pose to ease my still-aching quads. And I will repeat the mantra:  I will close the laptop before 9, I will close the laptop before 9, I will close the laptop before 9...

Score one for me.

Photo by Malene Thyssen

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Whoa, I Think I Felt Some Knitting Happen

It's amazing what happens when you get hands off a keyboard and onto some knitting needles. For weeks now, I've spent my evenings mindlessly wandering around the internet for diversions... scrolling through my Facebook feed, Twitter feed, G+ stream, browsing through Etsy for things I like but don't really need, snagging friends online to chat with them... Entertaining, but not especially productive.

Last night, the hubby recommended we find a movie to watch, so we downloaded Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy from YouTube (which was terrible, by the way). Since we watched it using the laptop attached to the tv, I couldn't do my usual mindless wandering. And so (how about this for a novel idea), I picked up my current project and knitted. Whoa. Knitting. Wow.

This afternoon, I was sitting on the couch with Rascal. He hasn't been feeling too well over the past couple of days since we went in for his yearly vaccinations and deworming. It was too warm to go out to do any gardening, so then... I knitted some more. Yowza.

And I actually finished something... my Butternut Scarf in Hempathy. I pinned it out to block and put it outside to dry in the sunshine (ignore the bad pinning job on the right... I fixed it later). It was so weird to actually have something done for a change.

And, since I was on a roll, I got out some spinning and stood out on the deck with it and spun a few feet. I had a coffee. I tanned my sandal-tanned feet.

Then, there was no stopping me after that. I pulled a few weeds, then I planted another batch of peas in a shady corner. I cleaned the bathrooms. I tidied the yard. I even posed under a tree to take pictures of my new haircut.

But I didn't play around online. I did stuff. Whoa. Again.

So, now I'm sitting here, typing out a blogpost and wondering what I'll get up to next. I might spin some more. I might start another project. I might make some scones.

Or, I might head over the Etsy and buy myself some handmade soap.

I never said I'd stop... it's just amazing what happens when I do!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Inspiration Mondays Redo

I had written a post earlier, but it was full of passive aggressiveness and self-pity. That wasn't working out so well, so I deleted it, went to my Zumba class, and decided to post one of my favourite songs instead. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Hip in my Knits

I've had this little fantasy since I was a teenager of being this supremely cool rock star, traveling around with my peeps, performing to an audience of loving fans, and being generally hip and fabulous.

In real life, I work in an office and sit at a desk and wear office clothes, and a uniform when working with the public. I go home in the evenings to my hubby and my dog and sit on the couch, watch tv, and knit.

Today, I volunteered at a local music festival for the second year in a row as an MC. (Off topic: MC stands for master of ceremonies, but sometimes people spell it "emcee." Why's that?) It's the closest I'm ever going to get to my rock star fantasy... meeting the bands, working with the sound guys, and rockin' out to the music with my water bottle and paper wrist band. It's a festival that features all kind of music: rock, country, bluegrass, jazz and folk. I run around like a groupie, buying CDs to support the acts and pretending like I'm one of the uber-cool musicians.

When I got up this morning, I looked through my closet to find something to wear that would be suitable for such an event. Jeans, for sure. Check. Ok. White blouse? No... too bright for the lights. Blue blouse. Pink blouse. Black blouse. Hm. Alotta blouses. T-shirt? Work out t-shirt, no. Looks like I only have workout t-shirts. Shoot...

I left the clothes, picked up my laptop and sent a message of despair to my social networks:
Emceeing at a music festival today, and I've just realized that all my clothes are office appropriate only. Dude, I feel *square.*
I went out for a run, and then came back, took a shower, and ate some breakfast. I opened up the laptop and saw that a friend of mine had commented on my post:
I hope you wear something you made!
Then, it clicked. I dug out the bolero I made to wear at a Christmas party last winter, popped it on top of a black tank top, pulled on my jeans, did my hair with a messy, tousled style, and bam, rock chick, there she was!

Of course, I made sure I pulled it all together with my new blue suede shoes I scored from a vintage purchase. You can get more music-cool than that!

So, knits aren't just for grannies, people. It's a knit that changed me from office girl to rock star MC. That that, spinster stereotype!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Too Busy Shopping, I Mean, Daydreaming...

Looking for knitting on this blog, are you? Well, you won't find that sort of thing here... at least, not at the moment. My knitting mojo is on low these days. I've been plodding through my re-working of the scarf from my post last week, and it just seems to be getting nowhere. And when I say nowhere, I mean that it's growing excruciatingly slowly, peppered with errors that I can't be bothered to rip out. It'll get done... someday...

In the meantime, between work and exercise and chores and sleep, I've had other things to entertain me, like shopping daydreaming and shopping looking at vintage items online.

My interest in vintage items comes from a love of stories and an interest in recycling. I love knowing that I have an item that has had a past and is unique from the things you could get in ye olde shopping mall today. And every time I commit to actually purchasing one of these items, I almost always find them to be of superior quality than the stuff that gets cranked out of the likes of Walmart or the dollar store.

Take the following items I acquired this week, for example:

The bag is an old Samsonite carry-on bag that has the classic lock latch on the zipper. I got it from a seller on Etsy, and as soon as I saw it, I knew it was something unique. Check out the lock:

It's been drilled. As soon as I knew that, my imagination started running... Why was it drilled? Was it carrying some kind of contraband? Was the person a spy? Did they get hauled out of the airport for illegal activity?

Of course, it could be just that the person lost the key, but that opens up a whole lot of other dreams... Where did that key go...?

And then, today at a charity shop, I found this:

I love enamel colanders, and I love this one especially because it's bright red and damage-free. This one is probably not a very old one, but durn, it's pretty. I had to clean some limescale off it, and it's mostly gone now.

So, what am I gonna do with these things?

I'm pretty sure I'll use the colander for cooking, but I'll have to clean it a bit more before then. I thought briefly about keeping it as a decorative piece, but I just don't think I could justify yet another decorative vintage piece. Every time I take it out of the cupboard to use it, it'll put a smile on my face.

And the bag? Well, it'll probably carry stuff. Big shocker there, huh? And you know what it could carry?

Maybe some KNITTING. Geez, I need to get my butt in gear and pick up some needles...