Archive for February, 2010


Finally, some yoga.

I don’t know if any of you even practice yoga, but I have been doing it for a few years now. At one time, I was very good about doing some everyday, but when I moved back after leaving my ex, yoga fell off my radar, probably when I needed it most, but fell off it did. The lack of a clean, large, private space to practice was probably the biggest reason I stopped doing it regularly, My room at home was too small, and the den that my younger brother and I “shared” was constantly cluttered up with his video game equipment scattered all over the room. Even when I tried to shove things to the perimeter, it was too messy for me to unwind with a good yoga practice.

And for awhile after I moved, I was good about doing my yoga at home in my living room, until I started to get constant calls from work asking me to come in early, or in on my days off, and then of course, December hit, as well as a swarm of illnesses after that, and it was the perfect excuse not to practice, wasn’t it?

Well, it’s been three weeks, 1 round of antibiotics, and 2 rounds of Cold-FX since I have felt good, really good. Last night I was talking to Neil and said that I might go for a run today if I wasn’t coughing very much, but then I stopped myself dead. What happened within a couple days of me running the last three times? I got sick. The first time was after the cold in December, the next day I was throwing up and landed myself in the hospital because I couldn’t keep my fluids down. The second time was in January, just before that head cold. The third time was three weeks ago, two days before I ended up with strep. I had spent so much time complaining about not being able to exercise, that I pushed myself to do it at the first sign of health, and I’m betting that that’s why I’ve been getting sick too much, along with a couple other typical behaviors for me, not getting enough sleep, and not eating very well.

So, I’ve decided that for the next two weeks, my only exercise is going to be yoga, the occasional walk to/from work, and lots of exercising my right to a good night’s sleep. I got about 10 hours last night, (thanks to me sleeping in, hehehe!), and I plan to sleep in again tomorrow too. Normally, I hate to waste the morning away by sleeping in late, but I’ve been sick on and off for two months now, I think I deserve it! And my yoga? It’s going to be trying out some of these great new Yoga Journal Podcasts.

Yoga Journal Podcast 121

You can view a lot more videos on their website, as well as follow the Yoga Journal blog, get links to asanas, articles, quizzes, shopping, and more! My favorite pose that I’m loving right now is this one, Crow Pose, or Crane Pose:

crane

For instructions on how to do this pose, click on the photograph. I struggled with this pose for awhile, being an arm balance after all, but once I got it, I was so proud of myself! Women are often scared to try arm balances, we think of ourselves as not having much upper body strength, but I really encourage you to give it a try. Push yourself out of your comfort zone a bit, try something challenging, just think how excited you will feel if you do manage to stick it for a few seconds! I think the longest I’ve managed is about three or fourth breaths, which I think is just long enough for me right now!

I am working late tonight, but I think I will treat myself to a hot bath and a few restorative poses before I go to sleep, and tomorrow, I am sleeping in again! Followed by a yoga class with my favorite local teacher, Christie. Namaste, and happy knitting!

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Patriotic Pride

People have said it before, and they’ll say it again, Canadians are the kind of people who have a quiet, patriotic pride for their country. They love their country, yes, but they won’t stand up on a soap box and preach about why the country is better than yours the way our neighbors to the South have a tendency to do. As much as we love Americans at times, there are others when we don’t understand them. Why are they so different from us? They came from the same collection of original countries that we did, the lands we have are similar in many ways, we speak the same language, and yet, at times, it feels like we are dealing with an alien race when we talk to Americans. They are proud, arrogant at times, and they start wars when Canadians want to keep the peace. We love our neighbors, we do, but the same way we love that strange relative we have, who is so different from the rest of the family. They’re related to us, so of course we love them, but we don’t always understand them, or agree with them.

That all changed for me from the time I started watching the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. They awoke in me a sense of pride, wonder, and happiness to be able to call myself a Canadian. The opening ceremonies were beautiful, and they displayed the heritage of a country that is rich in it. Watching our Aboriginal people dance, to watching Ashley Mcisaac tell that fiddle who’s boss while hundreds of people jigged below, I was proud that my country was the home of so much diversity. The games taking place in Vancouver means all these amazing things are only about 100km away from me right now. And that closeness makes me giddy with excitement.

I can’t put it into words how thrilled I am to see how well Canada is doing. Yes, I know, we pale in comparison to the medals the States has won, but for Canada, I think we’re doing a pretty damned good job. We have a lot of very talented and skilled athletes, and even though it’s disappointing sometimes to watch our athletes slip from the podium positions, I am amazed when I look at the actual times they are making. We are often losing by hundredths, and even thousandths of a second. This is not a game of who is good and who isn’t, because they are all good, but a game of who can shave those fractions of a second off their time, and who can’t. In ladies skeletons for instance, we took 5th place, which was only about a second or so off the the time of the gold medalist. And in mens skeletons, we won by two one hundredths of a second. Two one hundredths!

Canada’s people are starting to feel what I’m feeling, this deep-buried pride for our country. We are looking around us more and seeing the real beauty of the place where we live. Those snow-covered mountains, the prairies, the Labrador coast, these are not sights that every country can boast. We are lucky to have this beauty around us, and a government that strives to preserve it for the generations to come.

So whether we win gold, silver, bronze, or even nothing, I think the Olympics has restored a love and faith in our country that had been lacking for a long time. Go Canada! Our home, and native land!

Halfway

Halfway through the Olympics, and I think I’ve made a decent dent in Snowdrop.

snowdrop

That would be the body of the shawl, completed. I know to most of you, that seems like there’s not a lot left to do, but I-cord and edging take up time, and it’s going to be a push I think for me to finish this shawl up before the end of the Olympics, but I’m sure going to give it my best efforts. 8 days left to finish up Snowdrop, can I do it?

Yes, things are going well with my Snowdrop Shawl. No, I don’t have any pictures for you right now.

Yes, I did get over strep throat pretty quickly, just in time to get smacked by another virus. Despite spending more time coughing and hanging over the edge of my bathroom sink than I have wanted to, I am still making good progress on my shawl.

I just stopped during the Tiger Woods statement on CTV to make this blog post. And as a quick note, am I the only one who watched that and thought it was complete and utter hooey? The only respectful part about it was when he told the media to stay away from his wife and kids. Oi Tiger, I don’t think “sex therapy” and talk about going back to Buddhism is going to get everyone to forgive you. Grow up already.

I had been thinking this thought a short time ago, and I had planned to get some shots of me in some of my favorite yoga poses, and maybe even blab on a little bit about how I started yoga, its benefits, and why I love it so much, and then, on Sunday night after work, I felt it coming on. Again. This makes the 4th illness in a month and a half, and the 3rd time I’ve gotten strep throat in a 12 month period. Good god, what am I doing wrong? It’s seems that some people are just susceptible to certain illnesses, which apparently I am to strep throat, and that my immune system has probably been run down with the last three viruses, and it made me more prone to streptococcus bacteria. At least this time around I can take antibiotics to get rid of it, instead of waiting impatiently for 2 or 3 weeks for my body to blast the virus within me.

But something that I have never experienced is the extreme fatigue that came with this round of strep. 8-9 hours of sleep at night, and about 3-5 during the day between all my naps just did not sound like normal, until today when my mom and I were on our way to Langley to 88 Stitches to spend our Christmas Stash Cash that she asked me if I had had much to eat, and if maybe I was low in iron? Well, duh! The idea hit me like a ton of bricks, and once we got home, I promptly took 2 iron tablets, and after a cat nap and a couple hours, I already feel better than I have all week, though I’ve got a really weird gravelly voice thing going on now that wasn’t there this morning.

But okay! Yarn! I bet you all want to see what I got, don’t you? Well even if you don’t, you’ll just have to suffer through anyways. I got some luxurious purchases that I’ll probably never make again, and I’m so happy with them.

88yarn

So, starting from the left, we have Araucania in Rancho Solid, no name for the color, but it’s like a denim-y blue. It’s darker than in the picture, but not by much. Think a pair of blue jeans that have been washed a few times. A second skein of the same in slightly variegated gray, and then my pride and joy, a skein of Fleece Artist Hand Maiden Sea Three (70% silk and 30% seacell), in a color way that isn’t written on the label. Whatever it is, it’s gorgeous, and I paid way too much money for it. I will probably never, ever pay that much for a single skein of yarn ever again, but boy did it feel good to pay for it today.

I also purchased a Chibi for my darning needles, so I will stop sticking myself with them when I grab my pincushion. And a bottle of wool wash. Those two aren’t so exciting, but I figured worth noting.

And as quick update, I am up to mid-knee on the first stocking still. I thought that this week would be a perfect opportunity to finish at least the first stocking, but strep knocked me flat on my butt. Until I took the iron this afternoon, I hardly had the will to get up and go to the bathroom, let alone pick up my knitting needles. I have laid in bed or on the couch all week, and when I haven’t been sleeping or zoning out to the tv, I have been reading when I have the will to lift a book. I think I have maybe contributed a whole 1.5 inches to the length of the stocking this week, that’s how tired and sick I have been.

Tomorrow morning I plan to wind my yarn for Snowdrop, and get my needles and notions ready, read through the pattern to make sure I understand it, and then, the first moment that i am allowed to, will cast on my shawl. I am doubting that I will be able to finish it before the end of the month, but I will surely give it my best effort, and ultimately, it’s just for fun anyways. This is a project I’ve had on my “knit list” for a long time, so it doesn’t really matter when I finish it, just that I do.

I wish you all the best of luck on your challenges the next couple of weeks, I doubt I will do much blogging, because that will take away from knitting time, but I will surely do my best to keep you up to date! Happy knitting!

Well, this is when I get a chance to knit on it, anyways. Behold, the first Embroidered Stocking from Knitting Lingerie Style! Unfinished, of course.

embroideredstocking

I love the color, I love the pattern, I love how quickly it’s working up, but what I don’t love is that my left pointer finger got cut last week near the nail bed, and infected, though no matter how much I try to get it un-infected, it won’t go away. It may mean I have to go to the walk-in clinic next week for some antibiotics if the Polysporin doesn’t kick in soon. It’s swollen, sore, red, angry, and if I hit it with a knitting needle by accident it means that I end up in searing pain and have to put my needles down for at least 5 minutes. And since I’m a fast knitter, I bump it pretty regularly.

However, infected finger aside, I’m loving this pattern. The yarn is thick and bouncy (Cascade Fixations), and the pattern shows it off well. I think I will have to use this yarn again for something else. I also cannot wait (you should all put this on your calendars, because what I am about to say will shake the foundations of all that you know about me) to do the embroidery.

I’m letting the shock of the moment sink into your brains now, and truly take hold. Yes, I just said that I am looking forward to doing some type of sewing. Me! The one who abhors it! But I think it’s going to be kind of like cross-stitch…it might involve a needle and thread (or tapestry needle and yarn in this case), but because I’m making a pretty design with it, and not joining two seams together, or attaching buttons, it’s suddenly not disgusting to me! I am going to stick with the designs from the book (feather and fan), but I’ve seen some very creative alternatives to what’s in the book, and they are all very inspiring. I won’t be doing embroidery until the knitting on both stockings is finished though, just in case the Ravelympics starts, and they aren’t finished. Doing embroidery on both stockings that will match will require me to do the first one, then repeat the process one more time right afterwards. My puny brain won’t keep sewing information in it for very long, not even sewing information that I’m excited about.

And speaking of the Ravelympics, 6pm on February 12, 2010 is the start time, and 11:59pm on February 28th is the finish time. I can swatch if I need to beforehand, and have my yarn wound into balls, and needles and notions at the ready, but I can’t actually cast on a stitch until 6pm. The suspense just may kill me! I’m batting for Team Austentatious this time around, and making Snowdrop Shawl by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, just in case you forgot (I sure didn’t!). My goal also, is not to finish the shawl in that time (though that would be nice…), but to simply knit as much of it as I can in that time. All other projects shall be halted, and there is a very good chance I will neglect this blog, Ravelry, and other electronic devices in order to get all that knitting done. I have considered calling in sick to work, but Neil drew the line at that (though he did give me the go-ahead for lots of quickly thrown together dinners, crock-pot meals, housework neglection, and piles of laundry the size of small dinosaurs to pile up in those 16 days), because apparently, “bringing in an income” is high on his priority list. If you want to find out anymore information about the Ravelympics, go to www.ravelry.com, log in, and search for the Ravelympics Group and read the official rules.

Woe-be-us, my Fauxbius!

I can add another finished project to my Ravelry projects page today, Fauxbius came off the needles and was blocked last night, and was dry by this morning for photos. (I would have taken photos even if it wasn’t dry, but that’s beside the point).

fauxbius1 fauxbius2

I absolutely adore this piece, and it makes the 4th Chrissy Gardiner pattern that I’ve completed, and the 5th that I’ve tried (Twisted Cables socks from Interweave have been attempted, but I haven’t found the right yarn for it yet). She is one of my favorite designers, and I love how consistent she is, she rarely throws a curve ball at you, her pieces are always well thought out and planned, and very sophisticated. I can see Fauxbius with an outfit like above, or with a little black dress, a nice piece to elevate it to “classy” and “sophisticated” status.

I immediately felt a lack of lace in my life as I cast the last few stitches off the needles, but Snowdrop for the Ravelympics doesn’t start for another 9 days, so I decided to fill my time with a couple quick and simple projects. I have one pair of plain socks on the go right now, and Embroidered Stockings from Knitting Lingerie Style. I tried to find images from the book online of the finished product, but with no luck. Log into Ravelry, look up the pattern, and you’ll be able to see it.

They are knit toe up with a very interesting twist. Most of the time when you cast on toe-up, you use Judy’s Magic Cast On, or Turkish cast on, and increase in 4 places evenly every other row until you end up with the right number of stitches. But not for these stockings, instead, you use a Provisional Cast on (cause you all know how much I just love to crochet) and cast on 25 stitches, and decrease every other row until you have only 7 stitches, then, you start to pick up a stitch on either side every other row to get back to your original 25 stitches, then pick up the 25 from the provisional cast on, and carry on with the foot like you normally would have.

I’m not sure if all that was necessary, really, when you consider that sometimes picking up stitches leaves little holes (miniscule in this case, thankfully), and if you increase in the right way on toe-up socks, you won’t, and then there’s the fact that I had to break out my dust-covered one and only crochet hook as well, but hey, it got the job done, and I’ll repeat the process one more time for the second stocking, but I think if I ever see this technique used again for a toe-up sock, that I’ll pass, and stick with my lovely magic cast on’s, they are so much less fussy. I’m glad I tried it though!

For these stockings I’m using the yarn they recommend, Cascade Fixations, and I’m using a solid, a nice lavender purple. I’m going to see if my mother (or knitting friends) have any scraps of it remaining for the embroidery though, I don’t really want to purchase another ball just to put some pretty designs on the side. Anyone have any they want to give me? Hmmm?