Friday, December 2, 2016

Friday Mishmash

I've mentioned a time or two that my cats don't get along, despite having adopted them as kittens from the same cage at the animal shelter over 11 years ago.  Mostly it's Kip who has the issue - while he was best friends with our next door neighbor cat, he can't stand to be near his brother, Henry.  And I'm sure Henry knows this, but he just doesn't care.  Which is why I was laughing so much when I looked out my office window to see this:
Henry casually walked over and SAT IN KIP'S TERRITORY.  The nerve of him - you can see how irritated Kip is at this.
Henry is giving me the innocent "what, I just happened to stroll over here" look while Kip is giving me the "make him move" look.
And now Kip was yelling at Henry, who was pretending that "lala lala I can't hear you" - oh, he knows how to push Kip's buttons.
Well, obviously Henry was not backing down at this point, so Kip had no choice to settle in and wait him out.

These cats!  If they were human, I'd send them to couple's counseling...there's no reason why they shouldn't get along.  But since I can't do that, I'll just continue to observe, mock, and laugh at them.

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From annoyed cats to the cutest picture ever - a throwback to little Allie, who fell asleep on the kitchen floor, with her trusty dog standing guard:
Jackie was the best babysitter - she took her job seriously when it came to our kids.

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Sam, Jeff, me, Kevin, Allie

Last week, when all of the kadults were home, we had an adventure at the Escape Room BCS, which is a place where you get locked in a themed room and have one hour to figure out how to escape.  We had a blast - only Sam had done one previously, and that was with coworkers as a team building exercise.  We booked the entire room, because we didn't want the possibility of having random strangers included in our experience - this was just for us.  We chose the Breakout theme, where one of us was locked in a jail cell (Kevin volunteered) while the rest of us ransacked the sheriff's office for clues to get him out, and then we still had to escape from the office itself.  
Fun with PicMonkey...winter headgear for all!

It was challenging and Jeff and I were impressed at how quick the kadults were at figuring out the clues compared to us, but there were a lot of clues and we all ended up contributing.  We could make a phone call for clues if we got stuck; when we were running out of time, we finally made one call (you have up to five) and made it out, but not before our hour time expired - it took us about 62 minutes to escape.  I don't want to say too much about the room itself so I don't give away the clues, in case any of you end up doing one of these, but it was great fun and we're planning on doing it again next time the entire family is together.   

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

2016 BCS Turkey Trot 5K Recap!

This year's shirt - and also, part of my traditional Thanksgiving day outfit.

On Thanksgiving morning we ran the seventh annual BCS Turkey Trot, which was held at a new location this year - it started in the parking lot of the hospital (and race sponsor) where I volunteer every Thursday...only this Thursday, I was running, not selling goodies at the gift shop.

The weather was gorgeous for the race - it was about 45 degrees when we arrived, but it wasn't windy so it wasn't uncomfortably chilly.  Those of our group who were in town for the holiday met up about 30 minutes before the race started, and naturally, took some pictures as we waited around:
Julia, Diane, Karen, me, Jeff, Andi and her daughter Sophie.
This was Sophie's first time to run a race with us, but as she's been killing it with cross country all fall, she lined up near the front and actually raced this race - what a concept!
Diane and I took a selfie beforehand...notice anything about this picture?  See the guy in the upper right?  He looked like the dad actor from This Is Us - I thought so, and got confirmation when Diane, Jimmy and Karen all said the same thing.  
He was jumping around, warming up I guess, but it was hard to get a picture of him because of that...I wanted to go over and say hey dude, could you please hold still for a minute?  I want a picture of you for my blog...that's not weird, right?  Haha.

The race started and we took off a little fast, but pretty quickly settled into our intervals.  We weren't familiar with the route - it ended up going through a nice little neighborhood where the streets were mostly level, although there were a few hills.  This race is always one of the more interesting ones to do because of the variety of participants - grandparents, entire families, people in costumes, very small children, lots of dogs - it's truly a community event.

Diane and I saw Jeff and Julia waiting for us as we crossed the finish line - we felt pretty strong at the end and probably were a little conservative, but we'd planned on running five miles the following day, so it's probably best we held back - it's not like we were trying for an age group award.  And Jeff, who had a pretty decent 5K time, thought he might have a shot at an AG award, especially since they were in five year increments, but he ended up being 14th in his group...too many old people showed up to race, LOL!

Afterward, it was pie time:
They had pumpkin, pecan, and apple, in two-bite pieces...just enough to whet your appetite for dessert later in the day!
Diane and I - Turkey Trot done, pie in hand.  

As long as we're in town, we'll probably always do this race - it's a fun way to start our Thanksgiving morning and at this point, it's a tradition - we've run it six out of the seven times it's been held!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Out With (Some of) the Old, In With the New

I don't know what it is about running shoes, but I have a very hard time letting go of them.  I have so many pairs that have either gone past their mileage for me (once my knees start hurting when I run, it's time to retire that pair of shoes), or just didn't end up being the right shoe for me, but I kept them all.  It's weird - I can get rid of clothing I no longer wear pretty easily, but I have running shoes that go back to 2010 that I'll never wear again - and yet, until recently, there they were, taking up space in my closet.

But I got a new pair of Hokas recently:
Ooh, so green!  I name my shoes so I can distinguish them on Garmin Connect, which is where I keep track of my mileage on each pair - these are called Lemon Lime.  I also have my Hawaii Blues, and The Prettier Shoes (which superseded The Pretty Shoes, natch).  They are all the Clifton model.

And I guess that was enough to send me over the edge, so I culled some (not all, I still have the Newtons from 2010) running shoes:
It's a start, at least!

I've got these bagged up, ready to drop off at our running store - they take the shoes and donate them to local shelters.  And now my shoe section is looking a little more open, although there are other shoes that probably could go as well...baby steps, people:
The shoes on top are what I rotate through each week.  In the shoe case, you can see that I'm down to four pairs that I don't wear anymore - that's an improvement, right?

I never used to have this problem.  But then, I never used to have running shoes, either, so it's not a bad thing, just different.  And I wonder if part of why I hang onto the old shoes is because I'm still slightly amazed that they belong to me, that I used them and wore them out - because even though I've been running for seven years now, some days I'm still kind of shocked that I do this. 

Now, don't get me started on the amount of running socks I own.  That is an entirely new can of worms I'm not willing to open up just yet - luckily, you can own a couple dozen pairs and they don't take up much space.

Friday, November 25, 2016

FMM - No Black Friday Here

I know that today traditionally signifies the start of holiday shopping, and there's that whole Black Friday thing that has gotten completely out of hand (don't even get me started on stores that are now opening on Thanksgiving for these deals), but today, both of my kadults are home and we're just enjoying having our family together.  So no real post; just a quick hello, hope your Thanksgiving was good, and I'll see you next week!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

WWU - 10 Miles, WHEW!!!

I had hoped that this run would go well - the weather was looking great for running, and for me, that's been a huge issue.  Not gonna lie, more than six months of doing nearly all of my runs in 100% humidity has taken a toll and I was feeling like I'd never have a good run again.  Dramatic much?  Haha, maybe, but that's what being a runner in Texas will do to a person.  And even though a cold front was predicted to arrive on Friday, we've been skunked before, with the front stalling out just north of us.  However, the north wind started blowing early afternoon and the temps started dropping - WOOHOO!!!  Seriously, we were more than ready for this.

Saturday morning, my alarm went off and first thing I did was check the weather - gotta love being able to do that on my phone while still lying in bed.  This was what I saw:
YES!!!

I jumped out of bed and got myself ready.  I was a little hesitant about what to wear - sure, it was 45 degrees, but once you start running, you warm up to about 20 degrees higher than the air temperature - so that would make it 65 degrees, and in that case, I'd be wearing a short-sleeved technical shirt.  But it was windy and cold, and the "feels like" temperature was 40 degrees, so I ended up wearing a long-sleeved technical shirt and hoped I wouldn't overheat.  I know, I know - I complain for ages about it being too hot; but bring on the cold and it's a little more complicated.  I did check with the Runner's World What to Wear guide, and they said to wear a long-sleeved shirt, so I went with that.

So the run - oh yeah, that's what I should be talking about, right?  Well, considering my Saturday mileage for the last two months has ranged from 3.1 to 8 miles, I had a feeling that 10 might be a little challenging, to say the least.  And it was.  But I suspect for most recreational runners, doing 10 miles is just plain hard.  Diane and I did our intervals, although there were a few times when we took an extra walking break.  And while I did just fine running 8 miles the previous week, fueling with 24 ounces of Tailwind (which is 200 calories, or the equivalent of taking two GU's), I didn't feel quite as energetic, and ended up eating a few gummy chews that I had on hand.  I think the main issue is that because it wasn't hot, I didn't drink as much as I normally would, and all of my fuel calories were in the drink - I guess I'll have to force myself to drink more if I want to make Tailwind work as my fuel for the longer runs.

We ran a familiar route, but we were on the other side of the street for this run (we were on the sidewalk, so it didn't matter which side we were on).  Maybe they're always there, and we just don't see them, but we ran by a ton of cows, and what made it funny was that they were all facing the road, staring at us as we ran by:
Cary took this picture - she'd been by them before us, and thought it was funny enough to stop and whip out her phone.

On our way back, one cow had gone through an open gate and was standing below us (we were on a bridge), but it looked like he might be loose, so we slowed down to check.  Nope, we saw a bit of fence, and he was on the right side of it, which was good...loose cows around vehicles are never a good combination.  But this cow was pretty close to us, and he kept looking at us, so I MOOed at him several times, and apparently I speak cow, because he backed up and went to stand inside of the gated area with the other cows.  I made a cow move!  Diane and I both got a kick out of that, plus it was a good distraction on this long run.

The only other item of note for this run happened right at mile 9.68 - and it didn't happen to just us, but as we discovered afterward, it happened to Julia and Andi, who were running independently of each other, at the exact same spot.  We were running our last jig-jag around a little neighborhood, when we suddenly felt like the gravitational pull was so strong that we couldn't lift our feet high enough to muster a run, so we walked our way out of the neighborhood; it wasn't far, because at mile 9.8 we started running again and finished up our 10 miles.  I guess there was just enough of an elevation change, combined with it being so close to the end of a long, tiring run that we all ran out of energy, but it was interesting that it happened to us all at the same spot.

Afterward, we spent several hours at Blue Baker, where much merriment happened, including this:
I mean, it's just a plastic knife that broke when Diane was trying to slice her apple, but maybe we were punch-drunk from running 10 miles, because it seemed pretty hilarious at the time.
She managed to eat around the knife part...Diane looks pretty good for just having run 10 miles, wouldn't you say?

I'm glad that run is over with - honestly, with our wonky schedule, that may end up being the longest run I do before Houston.  And if that's how it works out, well then, it will be just fine.  I'm obviously not training for a time - unless it's a GOOD TIME.  Then I'm all in!

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To my American readers:  Happy Thanksgiving (tomorrow)!  We'll be starting our day with a Turkey Trot 5K before indulging in a yummy dinner.  Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Pretty Things

Look, I know it's a busy holiday week for a lot of my readers, and that includes me as well; our son Sam arrived home yesterday, while Allie will be here tomorrow, so blogging is taking a backseat for now.  But I wanted to share with you a few pretty things, just because.

First up is this votive candle vessel that my mom made:
She blended silk fabrics to create this - I've got a glass votive candle holder sitting it it, although it's illuminated by the sun shining through for this picture.

Next is this artsy bowl, also made by my mom:
I set it in this spot to get the sunlight streaming on it for the picture, but normally it resides on my fireplace mantle, next to the copper bowl that I brought back from Santa Fe last year.  I love how they looks so nice together, when she just made it using colors she liked...it just happened to go perfectly with my copper bowl.

My mom likes to play with fiber, and sends me pictures of what she's working on, and sometimes I get to claim certain items.  These pieces are really striking - I'd much rather have original, handmade art in my house than something random from a chain store, so it's especially nice that my mom is artistic and shares the wealth with me.

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The next pretty thing is a pair of socks that I finished - I loved these so much that the first day I wore them?  I kept slipping my feet out of my shoes to admire them.  That's not wrong, is it?  These were my travel socks that I brought with me to work on when I went to California last August:
Yarn is Opal Sweet and Spicy in Fruchtnougat colorway, with the toes and heels done in Cascade Heritage Solids in Charcoal.

Because I am a bit of a sock stalker on Ravelry, I'd seen some really eye-catching socks made out of Opal yarn, and was so happy when I finally found it online and in stock - I placed an order for a couple of skeins and will definitely be buying more in the future.  This colorway was so fun - it was always changing and kept my interest; these socks just made me happy to knit.  I would have finished them sooner, but I have sock ADD and had a couple of other pairs going at the same time.

Ooh, speaking of pretty things, here's a sneak peek of what I'm working on right now:
Wondering how this will knit up?  Stay tuned!

Friday, November 18, 2016

FMM - Sweet Baby Knitwear

As with just about everything, knitted items are even cuter in tiny sizes.  Sure, I can knit a hat, but shrink it down to baby size?  Instantly adorable.  So of course I love to have a reason to knit a baby hat, and when CC announced her pregnancy several months ago, my brain went into overdrive while trying to decide what to knit for her.  I ended up going with a sock monkey-inspired hat, because she likes sock monkeys, and for good measure, I decided to knit a tiny cardigan - after all, a winter baby needs to be warm!

I had the patterns all picked out before I went to California, with the intention of shopping for the yarn while I was there - I wanted to be able to see it in person and make sure it was soft enough for a new baby's skin.  Debby and I went to Monarch Knitting in Pacific Grove, and I squeezed many skeins of yarn before choosing everything for the hat and cardigan.  I knew I wanted a blue for the sweater, as CC had mentioned she loved blue (but not a pastel blue), and Debby ended up finding the perfect color...we bought the last three skeins of it, and while I was pretty confident I could knit the sweater with only one skein, she promised to send me some extra yarn if I ran out.  Luckily, I didn't need that, mostly because I knitted the 0 - 3 month size.

Here's the sweater:
Blue yarn is Madelinetosh Sport in Artic colorway, red yarn is Madelinetosh Pashmina in Tart colorway (I had this in my stash already).  Pattern is Noah Baby Cardigan.

I learned a lot by knitting this cardigan - it was knit in pieces and seamed together, so that was a new experience for me.  I usually weave in my ends as I knit, but life would have been easier had I not done that with this sweater, as it made seaming a bit more challenging.  Rookie mistake - didn't hurt the sweater; just made me work harder when I seamed it together.

I also learned how to do a crocheted edge - I really wanted the deep red edging to make the sweater pop (and I loved how it looked with the deep red buttons), and while the designer recommended doing a knitted edge, I couldn't make that work, so I watched a couple of You Tube tutorials on crocheting an edge, and got the hang of it pretty quickly.  I loved the v-neck of the sweater for a baby boy, and while I didn't plan on having it match the sock monkey hat, I think it goes together really well.

Speaking of the hat - oh man, it was just so darn cute!  I found the pattern and fell in love.  Couldn't wait to get started with knitting it, and once I did, I finished it in just a few hours - it took me longer to get to the store to buy the buttons for the eyes than it did to knit the hat!  Every time I finished a step, I couldn't resist taking a photo:
After I sewed on the button eyes, I decided they were a little too close together, so I removed them and spaced them out a little bit more.

And here's the finished product:
Yarn is Ewe Ewe Yarns Wooly Worsted in Brushed Silver, Red Poppy, and Vanilla colorways; pattern is Knitted Sock Monkey Hat.

I'm surprised I'm still alive, because this hat killed.me.dead. with its cuteness.  Have you ever made something and been so amazed at how well it turned out?  Well, this was like that for me.  I just love this hat so much!

Knitting for babies is so fun.  It goes fairly fast just because the items are so small, but boy howdy do they pack a big punch in cuteness.  I really enjoyed knitting these items, and I can't wait to see baby Mason wearing them soon!

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Have a great weekend - we have 10 miles on tap for tomorrow!