Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The hardest thing to let go of

I've talked lately about how I'm going through and giving up many of my things. I hope that letting go of many of my possessions will make my life simpler and easier and cheaper. While considering how having things affects my life, I thought of an intangible that I cling to: ego.

I think I'm only about as self-centered as an average person should be, it's not that I think I'm especially great or anything. It's more in the context of Buddhism that I refer to ego. In order to be enlightened or to eliminate suffering, according to Buddhism, you have to let go of self. To be honest, that scares the crap out of me.

This blog is one of the most obvious outward manifestations of my ego. It doesn't have to be. If I stop looking to see how many people notice me, and concentrate instead on writing and goals, it can be a tool for personal growth rather than a competition of sorts to see how many people I can get to subscribe (an abysmal number at best). If I stop writing to an imaginary audience, I wonder what I'll write about.

I don't know if I'll ever be able to lose my ego, but the least I can do is be more aware of when it motivates and influences me.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Clutter removal

In just under two weeks I'll be moving in with Jay. His place is completely furnished and decorated, and my clutter isn't needed (nor wanted by me). I've been spending every waking moment at home going through my worldly belongings, some of which have been stashed away and following me around for years. Last night I threw away my postcard collection (correspondence with no real "worth") and tonight I'll give away my bouncy-ball collection to my niece. It's been difficult for me to let many things go, but I know removing clutter from my life will help me with my financial goals. There are so many things that I've bought or been given that I haven't used at all. It's forced me to face those things, cut my losses, and look at how I can avoid it in the future.

The few things I'll keep are very thought out, and we'll find some way to incorporate them into his style so completely different from mine.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Link Love Lazeday

Sunday is supposed to be my day to get things done at home, but generally ends up being lazy. Enter procrastination via blogging! Here, enjoy my first link love post!

Heavy Petal reviewed ladybugs. Yeah, actual ladybugs and their effectiveness in fighting off evil aphids.

Sewing Stars shows off some adorable sewn veggies.

Forget the impact on your waistline, No Credit Needed looks at the cost benefit to dropping pop from your grocery budget. (But calls it "soda", which is clearly wrong;)

And my nomination for yummiest sounding cupcakes of the week: Snickerdoodle cupcakes.

Getting in backpacking shape

I went for a fantastic hike on Saturday. Jay had to spend the day in studying for a final and so I decided to go out alone. It was supposed to rain all day, but when the weather seemed fair, albeit windy, I set out in search of a multi-geocache with an estimated round trip of 4 miles. I need to get some consistent workouts to prepare for backpacking. I've never gone for that long of a hike alone and was pretty excited about the prospect. With no distractions I could completely immerse myself.

After I'd been out for about 1.5mi, I could hear the storms approaching. I decided to tough it out, and donned my raincoat despite the heat. The day just became more beautiful as the rain fell. I stumbled upon a huge toad that covered my entire palm. And I was searching for one of the last waypoints I discovered the most amazing moth, just out of its cocoon and drying its wings. I stood for ages just staring and snapping pictures.

New born moth

The terrain was easy, but the distance was substantial for me and included a daypack. I was proud that I kept good posture, and it was only when I neared the end that I began to feel fatigued. Now I just need to do this more often. My goal is once each week to get a sizable hike in.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge Rochester Race Report

It was a beautiful day compared to the past two years I ran it. I was much, much less in shape but I did pretty well for my level of fitness. I ran/walked as such: run 1 mi, walk 1/4mi, run 1mi, walk 1/4mi, run 1mi. I finished with an official time of 56:24, which is considerably slower than last year, but not my slowest (also a run/walk). For my actual time, subtract the approx. 5 minutes it took me to make it to the starting line.

Our company had our biggest turnout ever, more than twice our previous attendance. There were a total of 29 of us registered, plus various other supporters. We had food, laughs, and look forward to next year.

I had an epiphany this morning. I keep looking for this fancy answer to my shin pain, but maybe it is just due to tight calves! Commence stretching!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Making friends

I've never been good at making online friends. Not that I've won any popularity contests on either plane of existence. It has always seemed to me that the people that are best at making friends online lack those same skills for the real world. Me, I fall somewhere in between, leaning more toward the real world, but I'm not sure why. I've decided that not only do my real-world personal interactions need some work, my online ones do too.

As I've mentioned, the attention I'm giving in the real-world is to listening. Online, I am going to shift my attention to talking. I read quite a few blogs, many of them I skim, but several I look forward to on a daily basis, and I never tell them so. I've started digging articles, but I want to comment more too. Chris over at the Art of Nonconformity writes some inspiring stuff. He recently asked for some feedback, and it made me realize that I am not giving back for all that I am getting from all of my sources. I commented there, but one comment isn't enough.

The other day I linked to an article at Work Happy Now, and not only did Karl notice, he came over and commented on my post. So little things are appreciated, and I want to do more of them. Aside from composing some intelligent comments, I am going to try to compose a weekly-ish "link love" post to let them know I care. Even if I never become a great blogger, at least I can be a great blog reader!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Hey, stupid!

In the past week I feel like I've said more stupid and inconsiderate things than ever before. The worst thing, luckily, was just something that just came out wrong. The others were just not nice and I increasingly regretted them. When I was a kid, I can remember my father instructing me to think before I speak. I still don't, at least, I spend more time wishing I could take things back than I'd like. It is a source of anxiety for me, and I need to eliminate as many of those as I can. The anxiety is often caused by the though of someone finding out what I'd said. Whether it's the person I said it about, or someone that would be aghast that I said something of the sort. Solution: don't say things you wouldn't want everyone to know. Simple.

Unfortunately, I'm not a social genius. As I am sure is true for many, I know my motivation is not a malicious one. It's the one that struggles to be liked and takes the wrong means to get there.

I was inspired the other day by a post on Work Happy Now entitled Create the Work Atmosphere You Want. For me this post can be applied to all social situations, not just for interacting with coworkers. I want to take a more active role in conversation, rather than waiting until I can submit my experience to the story, as I so often always do. I want to be a better listener, to ask more questions to bring people out, and to remember their answers. This is how to get people to like you.

And for something specific, I want to stop labeling people and things as stupid. It's a terrible adjective, and one that I cannot bear to have assigned to me, to even perceive that it's been assigned to me or something I've done. I have a primal fear of being thought of as stupid. So why would I place this label on someone or something else? Awful.

This afternoon I had a brief conversation with a coworker that I don't often get to talk to. I asked him what his plans were for the long weekend, made a joke (I'll never be able to quell the urge to make people laugh), and didn't tell him what my plans were. He didn't ask, and that was OK. I felt really good when I walked away. I want more of that.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Bang, bang (A Sock Wars 3 post-mortem)

Last week I participated in my first Sock Wars. Wow, what a blur! I'm not a terribly fast knitter, so I didn't hope to win. I only hoped for some fun and perhaps to finish one pair of socks to make a kill. I bought a crazy color for my weapon. The Supreme Commander mentioned that the pattern was inspired by the comic book BANG! POW! bubbles, and so when I saw this, I couldn't help myself!

Comic Book Killers WIP

That first weekend that the pattern was released was nuts for me. It was my birthday weekend, and Mother's day. I didn't even get to cast on until Sunday evening. Monday I found out that my assassin had mailed my socks. Already.

At first I was disappointed when I learned of her great skill and speed. I didn't have lofty goals for this war, only to extinguish one soul.

I only just managed to turn the heel on my first sock before death arrived on my door. Wow. What a fine and beautiful pair of socks I died by.


I watched some of the drama unfold on the Ravelry boards. It's like a train wreck over there. Or maybe a lynch mob. Either way, I stayed uninvolved. What a mess. I hope the Supreme Commander knows that many more people had fun.

Even though it was a little sad to be eliminated so quickly, I got the most beautiful socks I've seen in this battle and made some friends in the process!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Concentration. Rather than a game, something I lack. I try to do too much at once. I procrastinate. I daydream. I always have. I remember the nun calling me on it, then calling me on my eye-roll.

I need to meditate. I don't really even hesitate to claim it will solve all my "problems". I know it will help. I know I'm not going to make much progress on all my other things without it. There are too many of them. I need focus.

How to commit?

Friday, May 16, 2008

In the green

Total Net Worth $252.89

For the first time in over 15 years, I am in the green! This takes into account my almost $50K in student loan debt, which I've managed to offset in retirement savings. I figure the student loans will be gone at about the same time I'm eligible to use the retirement money. Heh. I honestly can't believe how fast it's happened, as I can remember it being -$20K in the not so distant past. I got a sizable graduation award from my employer when I finished my masters degree 2 years ago, but it didn't even account for half of that.

This has totally made my day. I'll be even more excited when my credit card debt is paid off. I'm aiming for year end.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


It's been a busy week. I've averaged about 6 hours of sleep/night, which is much less than usual for me. I've had something going on every night, which has fingered me a goner with no kills in Sock Wars. This morning, quite amazingly, I got up at 5:15 to fit in a run. It's not enough. Yes, it's taking me forever to get through the C25K, but that's not what I'm referring to. I need to take better care of my diet.

Tonight I'm off to Red Robin for my birthday burger. (You are on their mailing list, right?)

Are you getting a good indication of my diet problems? I've been making excuses. When I have my own kitchen, I'll stock more whole foods. I'll eat healthier. As if I'm powerless right now. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by the childishness of my overeating. Oh, and the laziness. Berating myself will help, right?

The JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge is exactly two weeks away. I'm planning on a run/walk. I'm going to play it by ear, but since I won't have finished the C25K, I should take walk breaks. Jay found out he has an exam that night and won't be able to run. I'm pretty disappointed, I love racing with him. Not that I can compete, I just love loving a runner.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Greener goals

I think it's time for me to take a more active interest in all things green. I try to be conscious of my actions, but the things I do are just little things here and there. Like bringing my own grocery bag, recycling my plethora of print magazines, and refraining from buying bottled water. My sister even makes fun of me because I'm so terrible at recycling.

I think the environmental movement is something I could really get behind and become really passionate about. I have a bachelors in biology, so it's also something I can understand on a higher level and maybe even work toward professionally if I felt so inclined. I read several environmental blogs, but I need something with a little deeper substance. I've been wanting to start reading more non-fiction, and always linger around the "green" table at the local bookstores. I've never bought any of them, mainly because I'm not sure where to start, and with everyone jumping on the green bandwagon, I'm afraid to purchase without seeing some reviews. And there's the whole debt repayment thing. Plus, it seems silly to buy a book on this topic. I'm headed to the library.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

May is DivaCup Month

Gentlemen, you'll want to tune out on this one.

Ladies, I feel a little funny writing about this topic, but it's one that's close to my heart. I'm doing you a disservice if I don't tell you about it.

The DivaCup has totally changed my period. No longer am I a slave to it. In fact, I only think about it twice a day. No more tampon changes in public restrooms. I haven't bought another feminine care product in the 1.5 years I've owned my DivaCup.

I won't lie to you, it did take me a couple months to get used to it. But I'm really glad I stuck with it. And it isn't for the faint of heart. You can't be afraid of your body to use the DivaCup.

According to the Lunapads website, May is DivaCup month. So check out the resources there (FAQ, how-to guide, testimonials) and maybe give it a try. Let me know what you think! I'll never go back.

Friday, May 02, 2008


That's just great. I'm cruising along, minding my own business, happier with my content, when Edward Mills reminds me that I don't have an expertise. Well, that's not exactly what he said, he says I do have one, everyone does. But what on this green earth is mine? Which one thing do I have extra knowledge of, knowledge that I can share?

I've been bothered by this question for a long time. A long, long time. I've amassed a collection of interests that I'm really happy with. I actively partake in each of them on a regular basis. I feel enriched, it's swell. Is that OK? Is it enough to have varied interests and to specialize in none of them? I don't know if it is for me. And I don't know what to do about it.

Or maybe I am doing something about it right now. Maybe that is what this blog is for. Eventually a pattern will emerge from all these words. When I recognize it, I can begin feeding it and give it a name.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Pocket change

As I try to make up for my cruise indulgences on my revolving VISA, it has begun to pain me that I have no emergency savings. Repaying that balance is my priority, but how can I prevent it from getting out of control against my will if I'm always trying to make up for what's already happened?

I manage my finances from paycheck to paycheck. My "budget" consists of a list of my bills by paycheck on a sticky note. Come payday (today), I immediately pay all of my bills with the remainder going to credit cards. When calculating how much I have left to pay on credit cards, I round each bill up to the nearest $5. I also allot $100 per bimonthly paycheck for cash. Since I withdraw in $40 increments, usually I have $20 of that 100 left at the end of the pay-cycle. Add in spare change due to rounding. On this particular payday, I had $25 left in my checking account. Usually this $25 would get rolled into the next paycheck's credit card payment.

But what if it was more like change in my pocket that got emptied at the end of the day? This was a highly encouraging way for me to look at it, I've heard how fast pocket change accumulates. I say heard since it seems you need to be a guy to take advantage of the actual pocket change savings method, as women's pockets are designed not to carry anything at all.

Thus, I renamed one of my (empty) ING savings accounts to "emergency fund" and transfered that $25 into it. With this new account name, I'm reminding myself that it is only available for use on Unplanned Necessary Expenditures. Not for when I've overshopped or when my VISA "just gets too high" for me to payoff that month. That would be through my will not against. I'm hoping that the knowledge that the remainder is now going toward savings will keep me from getting that bagel in the morning just because I have cash. That if f I don't spend it, maybe I'll end up with more to save. And that's good for my savings and my waistline.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Shift knit

Over the cooler months, I obsessed about socks. I finished 2 pairs as gifts, three to self, and have yet three more still on the needles. The bad news: I'm just about done wearing socks for the next 4 or so months. I'll probably finish one of the pairs as it's pretty mindless. And as they're called Campfire socks, I kinda want to take them backpacking. Otherwise, I think I'm through with socks for now. But not with knitting.

Time to shift gears. I've moved all of the toys in my Ravelry queue to the top, and last night I knit Zoë a mouse and stuffed it with catnip. She was only marginally impressed. Maybe I was too skimpy on the catnip.

Zoë & her new toy

I really want to knit some food. Strawberries & cupcakes are of particular interest. I see it as a sort of diet strategy. Crochet the coveted cupcake rather than consuming it. Mayhap an octopus. There's a whole Flickr group about octopi. I want to contribute! Some of it will have to be crochet, as most toy patterns that I've seen are written as such. I need to start small and simple, as the robot doll of yesteryear frustrated me and put these fun and games on hold. Maybe I'm just not that great at crochet.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Daffodil meadow

I started noticing daffodils in the past few days and decided it was time for my yearly pilgrimage to Daffodil Meadow. It's about 0.7 from parking, which is across the street from work. A nice enough length of an hour's lunch. So on Friday during that's what I did.

On my way I got to see some Trillium and various other Spring flowers.

Trillium Spring flower

When I got there I was not disappointed. The meadow was in full swing.

Daffodil Meadow


And I saw my first toad of the year. Amazingly I did not harass him (at least I'm sure that's the way he would have viewed my affections).

A little friend

This is the dork that I look like when I go hiking during my lunch, or after work:


Hey, I'm short, and I don't want my jeans to get dirty.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Detox daydreams

As I mentioned, I frequented the spa while on the ship more than I should have. One of the themes surrounding my visits was detox. My first related trip involved a metabolism analysis. They hooked me up to a machine with electrodes placed on my hands and feet. By sending a small current through my body they were able to analyze my lean muscle weight and supposedly, my water retention. Peter said that toxins are fat soluble and so become part of your fat cells, then water surrounds the fat cells to protect your body from the toxins. He prescribed a 9mo detox supplement that was a sure way to remove the toxins from my body, thus releasing the excess water while also boosting my metabolism. I was intrigued without the intent to purchase. Sadly my interest just encourages them, but I knew I couldn't spend $300 on the first 3mo of the plan, regardless of how curious I was.

Although the hard sell was a bit annoying, one of the positives I gained was the reinforcement of some things I've already tried to disincorporate from my diet, such as all types of soft drinks, including diet and regular. I've been trying to eat less meat and eating less processed foods is also on my list. Whenever I look at those zero-fat, yet suspiciously still tasty snacks now, all I can hear those sweet words from the Skinny Bitch authors: "chemical shit-storm." Changing your eating habits takes time and so I do what I can. I am still often weak, but try to at least to critically observe what I'm doing. This little bit of positive reinforcement from Peter made it worth the $30 I spent on the analysis. Plus the printout from the machine was pretty cool!

For my next detox spa treatment I indulged in what I've later determined as a complete waste of money: Ionithermie. They lathered me up with some mud & put electrodes on me to stimulate my muscles. I was measured before and after, and found to have lost the completely unbelievable amount of 12 inches. I believably feel 100% the same. The one thing I've taken away from this was the prescription of dry brushing your skin. I didn't buy their $44 dollar brush though, I got the $6 one from ULTA when I got home. I'm hoping it'll stimulate my circulation and remove some dead skin cells.

When I got home I looked into some more detox programs online, including the one pushed on the ship. What I found was that there weren't very many reviews that seemed like they were from real people. Each one had the ring of marketing surrounding it. And some of them had elimination stories that were down-right frightening! Today the Diet Blog I read had an article entitled 4 Reasons Why You Don't Need to Detox. More validation, yay! So essentially I'm going to continue attempting to limit my intake of unnatural chemicals, and look into including some more fiber into my diet.

Infusistic Indulgence

I think I came to a realization today. I like poetry! Well, some of the devices of poetry and applying them to my writing. I've found the missing link in my blog. I thought this venue too dry but not so. I can hear the metre in my head again, whether you can or not. Whether it's ever truly been there or not. I used to write with whimsy and I've missed it. I can find places to infuse words that you might not expect them there. To me, those tiny trespassers adding music. This post, a little thick, I know, but somehow subtler within my goals and interests I can place them.

Self-indulgent? Perhaps. Who would you rather I indulge?

And so I'll continue to write about something somehow more mundane, but less so now. Writing and revising long after you've read until I feel it's finished. I feel much better now.

Dear 43 Things, please add 'study poetry' to my list. Also, mark 'come up with a catchy name for my blog' complete!

No work and too much play

I spent way too much money on the cruise. I had a couple of spa treatments that were essentially a complete waste of money. Partially because it was just a means for them to try to sell me additional products. Don't take my money and then ask for more. I expect things like that locally, but on a cruise ship I just want to relax without being hassled to buy things after an already overpriced treatment. It'll take me a few months to climb out of that hole on my revolving credit card just to get back to where I was. When I got back I immediately purchased my sleeping back for backpacking. That was a known upcoming expense though and completely acceptable. Plus I found it for 25% off + free shipping. Now when the REI anniversary sale gets here I can use that coupon to purchase our water filter.

In positive financial news, I have started depositing $100/mo into my Vanguard IRA. Which I'm really happy about. It's a tough time to decide to invest but waiting is an even less appealing option. I may as well be building wealth while I climb out of debt.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


I am back from my almost 2 week vacation hiatus. Not that I was gone for 2 weeks, but it's always padded by prep time and decompress time. I need, for a time, to refocus on my goal of blogging due to the lapse. Leo keeps reminding me in his Zen Habits blog that it's important not to take on more than one goal at a time, and not to move on too soon.

I don't think I can do the prescribed 30 days per goal, I just have too many and I'll never get to them all. Plus, some, like getting out of debt will take much longer. I'll play it by ear. "Getting out of debt" really is more of a goal category than a single goal. There are sub-goals beneath that take you closer. Same with fitness. I think my 3 main goal categories are: debt elimination, fitness, and enrichment. Maybe it will help to think of them this way.

I walk around all the time with this general desire of self-improvement. Ideas swim around in my head, things I'd like to change, things I'd like to add for enrichment. What I end up with is no clear path, and things get lost. Plus having my brain swim in anything gives me a certain amount of anxiety. So I've started collecting goals. I've started a list that I can locate them in. I think this will help me let go of them until the time is right to get to work. Originally I was using ilist at Twitter, but that was hugely inadequate. I've revived my list at 43 things. I haven't paid any attention to it in quite some time, now it seems exactly what I need.

In other news, I am repeating week 5 of the C25K program because I only ran twice on the ship and really only have time for 2 runs this week. The JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge is May 29th. Hopefully I'll be ready for 3.5mi! I'm not too proud to walk in that race. I've done it before. Hopefully it won't be 85° like the last couple years.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

4 signs that Spring is here

1. The Spring peepers are singing!

2. Baseball season has arrived!

3. IMG_2416!

4. My snowbird parents are home from Arizona!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Fabulous new socks

I love my new Nutkin socks. I finished them last week and they fit perfectly! I'm sure it was largely luck, but they're the first pair that haven't been slightly too big. They're a little twisty around the leg but that doesn't really bother me. Neither does the pooling. It means I made it myself!

Finished Nutkins

So my entry for the Sockdown challenge for the Sock Knitters Anonymous group on Ravelry was complete in the nick of time. Speaking of which, I decided last night not to enter for April. I was planning to do a Jeanie Townsend pattern, but although I liked several of them, the ones I liked were similar to patterns that I've knit before. And with a completed pair number of 3, that simply isn't an option. I'm leaving on Friday, with loads of knitting time in the airport to be had, so I CO the Campfire socks. The pattern is super simple and I've seen a sock knit up in my chosen yarn (in fact, the reason I bought the yarn). The only issue I noticed, after getting a good start accomplished last night, is that the combined yardage of the two 50g skeins is 237 yards! This makes my size 9 foot nervous. I thought about frogging and start over with the pattern toe up, but the toe-up instructions are for two circs or magic loop. It would be my first toe up pair and I don't have circs, plus the instructions are not as "gentle" as the original ones. If I end up without enough to finish a sock with one skein I'll frog then. I love the yarn and the pattern, if I have to start over it won't be terrible.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Spring Forward 15K Volunteering

What a beautiful day for a race! It was 40° and sunny at 8am when I arrived for the volunteer meeting. I was tasked with the job of road marshall near the end of the 9.3mi course. The meeting was quick and I hung around for a few minutes to see if I could spot my yoga instructor. I never did find her.

I finally wandered back to my car and drove out to my corner, the last real turn before the finish. I think there was about a mile left from that point. Essentially my job was to cheer on the runners and make drivers aware that there was a race in progress.

My Road Marshalling post

I had a long time to wait. Luckily I brought a camp chair with me and was quite happy to sit in the sun and wait. I had company in the form of a runner's fiance and his sweet pitbull.

I was at my post for about 2.5 hours. After the last participant passed me, I drove to the finish to cheer him in. As always the runners were very grateful and ever friendly. I had a great morning and will definitely volunteer more in the future.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Annual Orchid Show & Sale

We got a late start due to some faulty alarm-user behavior, but eventually made it to the Orchid show on Saturday. As usual, we headed straight downstairs for the sale.

I am only allowed one new orchid and only from the Masd family. I've had the best success with them and my window shelf has limited available real estate. There were only a few for sale and I made my decision rather quickly. I decided I could also pick up one of the $10 orchids that wasn't in bloom. [I had to leave them at Jay's for the rest of the weekend, I'll update this post once I've set them up with a picture and detailed information as to which kinds I bought.]

The show was amazing as usual. I can't fathom how people get such fantastic blooms to appear. I need a greenhouse.

A particularly wonderful display of Masd
Show Masd

Jay's favorite

We only saw two people we knew, and they happened to be each of our bosses.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Give blood now (or for me, maybe never)

I came to a sad realization a few weeks ago. I don't think I can donate blood anymore. It's something I've always wanted to do, and have multiple times. I think it's important to share life with those that need it. Blood donation, organ donation, etc.

The problem is in my head. I was a 3rd-time 1st-time donor when I first donated. I feel fine all day, but during the wait for my turn, I develop a fever, which effectively disqualifies me. It's happened multiple times. Nothing bad has ever happened to me while donating, although once I felt a little light-headed afterward. I do have "white coat syndrome", and I've gotten better at being calm during my blood pressure reading at the doctor by taking deep breaths and focusing on calm, but I can't seem to beat the thermometer at blood donation time. The anxiety is compounded by my worry of failing the tests.

This year I was planning to get in 6 times to donate. Jay got a pin last year for it, and told me that some minuscule number of people manage to do it each year. That sounded like a challenge to me! I started "practicing" last year. I was denied about once each time I became eligible again and returned the following week to try again. This last time, it was my iron that disqualified me. I've been eating less meat, and my multi-vitamin ran out a week or so prior. Although it wasn't my temperature (we hadn't gotten that far), and therefore not the fault of anxiety, I was terribly upset. During a conversation with the receptionist on my way out, she suggested that because if the stress it causes me, maybe I should find a different way to help. I didn't want to admit it, but she's probably right.

I didn't want to admit it because I feel like this is something I should be able to get over. If I don't it feels like giving in to my anxiety, that my anxiety is something I'll never be able to conquer. And it still feels a little that way.

My sister encouraged me to find another outlet for volunteering. I've worked a day at Habitat for Humanity, and served breakfast at a local women's shelter with work. Both of which I've really enjoyed. Now I'm on the lookout for some other opportunities. Hopefully in doing so I can forgive myself for giving up on this one.


So maybe I don't have any focus.

So maybe I don't have a specialty.

I keep reading that successful people persevere. I'll never move forward if I stop moving or if I am too hard on myself for trying. Maybe those things will come with time, and maybe they won't. That's OK too. Maybe this will never be anything more than a chronicle of my goals and interests. That's OK too.

Plus, Steve Runner says I should keep a blog, well he says everyone should, in his Run, Blog and Share podcast episode. And since I find him amusing and generally trust that his wisdom at running and blogging/podcasting is greater than mine, I'll trust him on this one.

I think my first goal has been accomplished then. I've been posting more regularly, every few days to be exact. I have a lot going on for the next couple weeks. Namely getting myself together for my trip (I'm down to days in the single digits!), I'll set a new fancy goal when I get back.

This weekend look for 2 posts: 1. on the annual Orchid show & sale and 2. on volunteering at a race on Sunday.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Fasting (10 days remain)

Rather than beginning my diet at day 100 in the countdown, I decided it would be prudent to wait until day 17. What could go wrong? Well, come to find out, I was 8lbs heavier than last year on the same date. I buckled down hard and fast.

Dieting has always been an all or nothing thing for me. I have absolutely no success with moderation in times like these. You can have a bite. No, actually, that's not how it works. The more I resist completely, the easier it is to stand my ground. I put it out of my mind entirely. The donut holes and Easter candy you set on the coffee table last night to have with our tea=invisible. It's the only way I can do it.

Now at day 10 I am only up 5lbs, with a goal of making it down 3 more. I tried everything on and it all fits, thankfully and with moderately less self-loathing.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Indie Music Discovery ::shiny-thing(s) of the day::

Aside from my local radio station, I've found two fantastic sources for discovering new indie bands.

1. Echolocations, formerly In-Radio. I've been a subscriber now for 3 years to this fantastic music "magazine". Every other month I receive a CD with an eclectic selection of 15 or so tracks from indie artists. The quality of the website has declined since the magazine changed hands, but the music is just as good. Email the address on the website for a free issue.

2. Indiefeed. A grouping of several podcasts that cover different indie genres. I subscribe to the indie-pop flavor. I've heard a few familiar voices and discovered quite a few more on this weekly podcast.

Have any sources to recommend to me?

Thursday, March 27, 2008


I think part of my problem is that I don't have a specialty or any creative originality. Sure, I'm interested in lots of things, but what am I contributing? I really want to make something but I don't know what or how.

I've always been this way. I flit about between subjects without ever truly knowing enough to contribute anything back. This was why becoming a librarian was so appealing to me, because it encompasses so much. Not that I'm even doing that.

I've been knitting and I think I'm actually quite good at it. But I've never really designed any sort of pattern and I wouldn't know where to start that hadn't already been done. I suppose I need more than a few more years experience.

I don't feel there's anything wrong with all this, so why can't I rid myself of this urge to make?

I want alpacas.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Humbled: Re-revisiting the C25K

Last October just before my favorite race of the year, I developed a sharp pain in my hip. I stopped running and waited a month or so for it to subside, and it only got worse. Two doctors visits and some negative x-rays later, I found myself in physical therapy. My IT band had reached "maximum tightness" according to my physical therapist. A month or so later I was feeling better, and decided to put Jay in charge of the massage portion so that I didn't have to continue to pay someone.

When I tried to go back to running I was greeted by extreme shin pain. The muscle in the front of my shin, Tibialis anterior (the one that lifts your toes), refused to do so. I had to stop running after just a couple minutes and massage it before I could continue. I've had this before, and upon looking at my log, it seems like it has been whenever I've taken extended time off. I finally admitted to myself that it was because I was doing too much too fast. A hard realization to come to when it happens after 2 minutes, since it's a time so short.

I've never made it past "amateur runner", with a 1-time maximum distance of 5 miles (which hurt a LOT), so my base mileage wasn't enough to see me through injury. This wasn't the first time I'd gotten here either. I love running, but somehow my participation in the sport waxes and wains. Sometimes it's pain, sometimes it's the weather.

It's time for me to take up the Couch to 5K program again. As difficult and frustrating as it is to come to this realization, it's better than my other choice of "I'll never be a real runner". By this point I'm a third timer to the C25K. I can't remember why I had to start over last time, but it was a few years ago.

So I did my first run today, running intervals of 60 seconds and walking 90, while listening to Steve Runner's podcast episode about the C25K, hoping it would make me feel better about starting over. His reprimands regarding skipping ahead were just what I needed. I will be able to run on the deck of the Disney Magic in a few weeks, I'll just have to walk some of it too.

Anyone else want to become a runner? again? Check out the C25K.

REI or BUST! ::shiny-thing of the day::

I headed home with Jay for the long weekend to CT, where they now have their very own REI! We're going to start backpacking this summer and I've been starting to accumulate some gear. I've been a member of the REI co-op for almost a year now, and just got my member dividend & 20% off coupon and was eager to use it! I have the REI VISA, which means I earn a dividend on all my VISA purchases in addition to the dividend I earn on REI purchases. This year I managed to accumulate $100, not too shabby. REI stocks brand names alongside their own gear. Often the REI gear is cheaper with all the same thought given to the construction of the brand name gear. I got an REI day pack a few months ago that has changed my entire Geocaching experience.

This was my first time a physical REI store. We spent 3 hours scouring the store for gear. I walked away with Asolo hiking boots fitted with Super Feet, an REI sleeping pad, a tech shirt, a Haiku purse to carry on cruise excursions, and a few other minor items. I also decided on the Marmot Angel Fire sleeping bag, but didn't purchase it at the time. I thought I'd be able to find it online for cheaper but haven't as of yet. They didn't have the stove and water filter that we wanted so we'll have to grab those online. I spent quite a bit of money, but I'm really happy with my purchases & can't wait to get on the trails. I definitely need some training first!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I've been obsessed lately with RSS. I use Google Reader and I wish all of my friends did so we could share fascinating stuff with one another and I could endlessly discover new blogs. Topics read by me lately range from craft to politics to finance to food to zen and green living. I also subscribe to several indie shops selling jewelry and softies. I've cut back on my indulgent purchases lately in an effort to curb my debt, but I still like to look at things.

My interest in RSS and blogs eventually brings me to the fact that I want to have an active blog but for some reason I never post. I like stuff and I want to improve my life. I also love taking pictures of things other people probably find it silly to take pictures of & sharing them. Such as everything I create, mainly involving some craft or food. Endless blog fodder!

So why don't I post? I love writing so it isn't that, although I need to work on my tone because I feel pretty cheesy. I suppose I just don't make the time for it. So I'm going to make a goal of it. Maybe at first I'll start with a goal of one post per week. I also want to make a list of goals and post it here. Maybe I'll be encouraged to keep you up to date. I set up Feed Burner today so I can see if anyone is actually interested, I think not so much because I'll be lonely if no one listens, but because I crave statistics. I suppose I do hope for some dialog though!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Pi Day

Lately I've had the itch to bake, and what better excuse than Pi day? I wanted fruit pie, but since everything is out of season nothing sounded particularly appealing. And my boss already claimed raspberry (the best berry).

Jay suggested Derby pie. He had an exam to study for so I baked one for each of us:
2 Cooling Pies

Last year one guy bought pies. This year we were all fired up, QA bought strawberry rhubarb, peach, apple, and a homemade peanut butter. They were all amusingly stacked on the camera racks, I'm bummed I never got a picture. And this is a sampling of the homemade pies brought in by Documentation (key lime, my Derby & raspberry):

Documentation's homemade pies for Pi day

So much for my cruise diet. Hurray for 3.14!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Vietnamese Coffee at Last!

Tonight we had one of the only storms this winter. We planned to meet some friends for pizza making, but never made it. As we backed out of Jay's driveway, we were unable to pull forward. We'd managed only to get further away from our destination. Back and forth we rocked his crappy-in-the-snow-Civic until we managed to get back IN to the driveway. It was a good laugh if nothing else.

We finally found ourselves in a position to make Vietnamese coffee with the press I gifted him on Valentines day LAST year. Better late than never?


It was slow, very slow.


We decided that if it was any good at all we'd have to purchase another press...


It was!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Does this Kitty Pi make me look fat?

Originally uploaded by gwendrr
I loved seeing all the FO for this Kitty Pi, and just had to make it. Generally Zoë likes anything that's handmade, so I thought there was a good chance she'd enjoy it. So I frogged my Boobie scarf & repurposed the yarn for the Kitty Pi. It was coming out terrible & too scratchy to wear anyway.

I doubled up on the yarn through the sides to make it a little more solid, but it was still pretty floppy. Ended up folding it over and now it holds it's shape great! I threw a little catnip in the bottom of it to generate interest, and the other members of my household rewarded her with treats whenever she entered it. Now it's her regular family room sleeping spot!

So here she is in the finished Pi. I can't get over how huge she looks in this picture! She's only 8lbs!

Thursday, January 31, 2008


Simple Trekking Socks
Originally uploaded by gwendrr
Last night I finished the first socks I've made for myself. It's about time, really. As proud as I was of the previous two pair that I gifted, I've worried that they might not be as nice as they look because I've yet to wear a pair that I've made. My inexperience might make a less-than-I'd-hoped-for gift. But at least I think the friends I've given them to appreciate the work that I did for them more than anything else.

I think they came out great, but my next pair for me will be a little prettier. So here they are. I'm wearing them tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Stash Growth

I've been bad. I felt a little inadequate as a knitter because of my tiny stash, but that's over now. I've got yarn for at least 7 pairs of socks, two scarves, an entrelac headband, and another shawl (on the way). My boyfriend mocks me. Indie sock yarn will be the death of me. I stalk it daily, the sellers on Etsy tempt me with their luscious colors and bonus stitch marker.

My current crusade is to finish my Cozy so that I can cast on Ella with the Lorna's Laces headed my way via eBay. Of course I had to buy some lace Addi Turbos so I could try out a new type of needle. (Oh, and some Debbie Bliss to complete my Fetching.) And I have no idea how I'm going to block any of this lace, but it's just so gorgeous.

I watched the NV debate last night at my boyfriend's & twitched the entire time because I hadn't brought any knitting. I haven't a clue who I'm voting for in the (D) primary. I think knitting last night would have helped me decide.