Thursday, May 21, 2015

The End of Thirty-One

My thirty-first year ends tomorrow and thirty-two begins on Saturday.  I've actually been telling people I am thirty-two for a few weeks, I'm not sure why.  I have reached the age when I have to think about it, and sometimes do some math, to make sure I have the correct age.  It's not that I want to lie about my age, it is just that I honestly forget sometimes. Age is becoming less important especially since I'm always 24 in my head.

Thirty-One has been a pretty good year, I really can't complain.  I'm heading into thirty-two as a triathlete, PTO president and IACRL (Illinois Association for College and Research Libraries) secretary/treasurer. Those are three things I never thought I would be when I started out thirty-one. Being elected to two different offices from my peers is a marvelous feeling. That seems to be the greatest thing about getting older. The years may go by faster, but new and exciting things happen, many that you don't expect.

I am also 19 pounds lighter this year and feeling pretty great.  I hope to loose a few more pounds before the summer is in full swing. I cannot begin to describe how much better I am feeling.  I was active before, but I want to be even more active. I want to be outside.  I want a bikini.

In my thirty-first year, I have made amazing friends.  I have always been a friendly person and have many friends, but this past year I added some wonderful women from the acquaintance list to the friend list.  I hope you know who you are.  You are all so very special to me, new friends and seasoned friends, near and far.

I joined committees and led a major program at work. I chaired a national library committee. I volunteered, shared and loved. My kids grew.  Stormy is talking a lot more now, and well, Miss D we can't get her to be quiet. They are growing up so fast some days and not fast enough other days. Husband and I will mark 10 years of marriage next month.

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Here's to thirty-two.  I'll be celebrating by going lap swimming and then driving to my parent's house for a family weekend. My mom's grilling me steak.  If I play my cards right, I could eat steak a few times this weekend.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Helpers

Miss D readily agreed to be my model today.  She usually hates modeling for me and I have to bribe her. Today she jumped at the chance... because she wanted to practice her fainting pose.





Where does she come up with this? She is such a drama queen. I did get a few "normal" poses.

Here is Oats making a reappearance from my Jury Duty Knitting post.  I said it would be much better on and boy is it ever.



Here is Easy. I used Lorna's Laces in Dandelion.  This is 435 yards of sock weight yarn on size US 2 needles. For you non-knitters this means thin yarn on a small needle which translates to lots and lots of very tiny stitches.

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Both of these are from favorite designers of mine.  I will knit anything by Tin Can Knits (designer of Oats) or Martina Behm (designer of Easy). I highly recommend all knitters checking them out if you haven't already. 

While Miss D was a model model, Stormy decided that modeling is not for him.



Good help is hard to find.

As I mentioned in my last post, I finished two yarns.

This one is from Crosswinds Farms in Eldridge, IA (my hometown). It is 100% Shetland.


The beautiful green yarn is 100% wool.  Merino wool, I think.  I don't have a label. I do know it was hand dyed at The Fiber Universe in Peoria.


With all these finished projects, I don't have anything significant on the needles or wheel, but I do have a few good ideas.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Jury Duty Knitting

Last week I was summoned for jury duty for Peoria county.  I know lot of people that say they dislike jury duty.  I don't tend to hear a lot of positive things about it.  Yet, it remains a cornerstone to the U.S. justice system. Without jury duty, there are no juries and a having a juried trial is a fundamental right established by the Constitution in the Bill of Rights.

Personally, I like jury duty. I love that I get to do my civic duty. I am one of those people that vote in every election, too.  I think it is amazing that I, as a normal citizen, get to participate in the justice system. Last time I was called for jury duty in 2012, I ended up on Coroner's Jury. That was a very interesting experience. This time, I was close to being put on a jury for an assault case, but the defense excused me.  I guess they didn't like my answers.

Beside from that near encounter, I sat in a room, watched Netflix on my iPad and knit for three days. It was a pretty simple job. I am blessed that my employer still pays me on days that I am at jury duty, I know from talking others in my jury pool that this is not the case for many. Last week was pretty much perfect for being on jury duty because most of my big work projects for the semester were completed the week before.

So I sat, watched Gilmore Girls (I binged all week) and knit. I can't believe some people show up to jury duty with nothing to do or read. I think I would dislike jury duty if I didn't come prepared. If knitting and Gilmore Girls became uninteresting, I had two books packed as back up. I don't like having nothing to do.

I finished one knitted item, started and completed another and nearly finished another.  I also got some time to spin yarn (after being dismissed for the day).  I can't complain about jury duty with results like this.

I finished the Newborn Baby Blanket in Malibrigo Rios.


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I used a new crochet bind off on this blanket and I think I am in love.  It was the perfect bind off.  I usually have a really tight bind off edge but not with the crochet bind off.  It is definitely my new favorite.

I started and finished Oats in Cascade Pacific Color Wave.

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I actually finished this one before the other so I used Jeni's Stretchy Bind Off which worked okay.  I can still tell the difference between the cast on and cast off edges and I don't like that, but I can live with it. I need to get Miss D to pose for me wear this cowl (infinity scarf) to really show off its beauty.

I'l have to show you the rest in another post. The completion of these projects, brings me to my goal of 12 projects for the year already.  I guess I really underestimated.  Plus I made a ton of hats.  So maybe I will now have to say hats don't count toward the 12.

So what are your feelings on jury duty?  Do you go prepared? Should hats count toward my goal?


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Seven

The celebrations for Miss D's 7th birthday are complete. Seven started out pretty great for her. She spent the whole week of Spring Break in Iowa visiting between her two grandparents' homes. On her actual birthday she got to eat her favorite foods while having lunch and dinner at restaurants.


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The next morning, she had a pool party at a hotel with her cousins.

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The following day was Easter so the Easter Bunny visited. Easter night she had a sleepover with cousins.

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Now this past weekend, she had her first ever birthday party with friends.  She invited 11 girls and they had a great time. We really lucked out with the weather, her party was the best day of the week. The weather was absolutely perfect for playing outside all afternoon.

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Seven is the beginning of a pretty lucky year for her.

Miss D turning seven also means that I have been a mom for seven years. That's about 20% of my entire life and the vast majority of my adult life. I told Miss D why her birthday is so important to me, because it is the day I became a mother, and she thought that was pretty good.

With my seven years of experience, I am no expert in child rearing.  If I practiced any other craft day and night like I practice mothering, I would expect to be pretty good at that craft.  Yet, with parenting, everyday is different and new and I have to learn right along side my kids how this whole thing works.  Many days are great, many days are not. Some days are so horrible I don't even what to think about them.  And then there are days like when your daughter turns 7, days I want to remember forever.

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Second Tri

I seem to be turning into a triathlete. I never thought what would be a thing. Me a triathlete. I like to run, I like to bike and I like to swim, but I didn't think about putting them together. It seemed like too big of a commitment for people much fitter than me. I didn't even own a bike until 10 months ago.  I didn't start swimming laps until January. Yet, as of last Sunday, I have completed two indoor triathlons, so I guess that makes me a triathlete.



At the Five Points Indoor Triathlon, I swam 575 yards in 10 minutes, biked 9.15 miles in 20 minutes and finished with running 2.08 miles in 15 minutes.  That is a huge improvement over my last race. I ran my first mile in 7:15. 7:15!!!! I haven't run that fast since high school. 

I am not sure what makes me run so much faster at the end of a triathlon than I normally run. I know that my muscles are more warmed up, but one of the hardest things reported from triathletes is that transitioning between biking and running is hard. Triathletes practice "brick" workouts which means usually you bike then run. It is called a brick run because your legs should feel heavy after biking. But so far I have not felt that, instead I feel like I can run and run. And I do and I do it fast. I guess I should consider myself lucky...for now.  I am sure that I will have this brick feeling at some point.

On the race calendar I have several 5k races coming up, but no more triathlons until the Espirit de She in June.  That will be my first sprint distance and outdoor race.  I have a lot of training to do before then, but I am feeling good about being a triathlete.

What is some thing you never thought you'd be?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Ides

I said March was going to be better than February. At the half point, Stormy is finished with his pink eye medicine (as of Friday) and will be done with his second antibiotic for his double ear infection tomorrow. Miss D is on her second weekend of a digestive system clean out and she drank so much medicine that she threw up...all over the dog. My back is doing much better, but still sore at times. When I go running, my mile pace has not back to pre-back injury and it is pretty frustrating.

I can say that March is better than February, but not 100% different. While there has been some problems with March, the weather has been fantastic.  We went from freezing to sunny and warm.  My kids are so excited to play in the backyard. So excited that I got to spend yesterday cleaning up dog poop (for almost two hours) while they played.

If I wouldn't have been picking up the yard, I wouldn't have seen this...

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so March isn't so bad.

How's your March?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Getting Back to Normal

February was the worst.  I cannot remember a time in my life that was so overwhelming at work and at home. But now, in just the first few days of March, it feels like I'm in a new chapter, maybe even a new book.

Miss D is feeling much better. Last week she was sickest she had ever been in her almost seven years of life. Now she's back to her normal sassy stuff.  I kind of enjoyed when she was sick because she was so docile, polite and cuddly. But that's not her and I am glad she is better. Stormy is also back to his normal self. Apparently Augmentin is a wonder drug and now I have my funny little boy back.

Today I even got to run for the first time since throwing out my back. It was a tough run since I hadn't run in two weeks, but it went really well, better than expected.  Although I am not in the shape I was hoping for, I think I will do fine at my 5k race on Saturday. I might even pull off a PR with my new found speed.

I am getting things done at work too.  I was stuck in a holding pattern at work.  I kept working, but I didn't feel like I was getting anywhere. It was like I was treading water, not going anywhere, but not yet actively drowning. Then I missed a lot of days with my sick kids and bad back. In the first two work days of March, I am finally feeling like I am making some headway and getting tasks accomplished. I might get everything checked off my to do list!

I even knit a hat for Stormy.  It is the same pattern as the hat I made for Miss D last week.  I am on a hat kick.

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He's a great model. The hat pattern is called Luuk and I use Patons Canadiana yarn. I might have to make a few more of these hats, the pattern is not quite out of my system yet.

So even through March comes in like a lion, and it really has with a plethora of snow and ice, things are feeling much more lamb-y for me.  How's March going for you?  Lion or Lamb? Or too early to predict?