29 May 2008

Footwork, Fancy and Otherwise

One down,


one to go.


And in other footwear news, I managed for the first time ever to sustain a running pace (only 5mph/8kph, but it was still running) for a full mile today without having to drop to a walk and without feeling like I was about to fall over and die. Granted, it was on a flat treadmill rather than on the hills on our little road, but it's still a milestone for me. I've always been better as a (very) short distance sprinter than any kind of distance runner. I've just never been able to maintain the pace and have had too much trouble with all my joint issues and raging shin splints (and general lack of commitment) to effectively build up to it.

I've also not done any training to speak of to get to this point. Between going out of town and kitty emergencies, I hadn't even been to the gym for a couple of weeks. The only thing different was that I was wearing my FiveFingers shoes, so it seems that they're helping me run much more efficiently. I also didn't have any knee pain during or after and, after slowing to a moderately brisk walk for ten minutes, I was able to go back up to a running pace for the last eight of my half hour of cardio. Color me very pleased.

Of course, I'm nowhere close to catching up to David's cousin Greg, who just ran his first marathon the other week (and whom you may recall from this post). Seeing as he's still in his early 30's and I'm staring down 40, I'm not sure that I'll try to catch up, either, but it was still a nice feeling.


MollyBeees tagged me for this one and it seemed interesting enough. I won't be tagging anyone else, but feel free if you wish to do it anyway.

What's the last book you read that you thought was really super, inspiring, you'd recommend it to most anyone?

I'll make this a twofer and say surgeon Atul Gawande's books, Complications and Better. For the lay person, I think that they help to put a human face on medical practice and point out the reality that we aren't perfect and aren't capable of miracles. For me as a professional, I think they're inspiration to aspire to be better.

What food totally grosses you out, you'd never be able to touch it? Ew. Gag. *hurl*

After many, many years as a vegetarian, this is pretty easy. I can't see myself ever going back to eating meat. Maybe as an act of absolute desperation, but I really find it repellent. Also, fat dog flesh under surgical lights smells an awful lot like beef, which doesn't help.

Did you ever watch a scary movie that frightened you so much you were afraid of the dark afterward? I mean like you're lying in bed trying to sleep, but you have to pee, but you're scared to get up. It doesn't have to be recently; could be when you were a kid. So what movie was it?

Not a movie, but when I was in high school I read Pet Sematary in a single day. When I got to the end, I was home alone (we lived in the sticks in South Carolina) and nobody was going to be home for over an hour. I closed all the curtains, locked all the doors, turned on the TV and radio and called a friend because I was so freaked out.

Oh, and The Mothman Prophecies still gives me goosebumps if I think about it, and I saw it in the theater over 6 years ago.

Is there a song that makes you dance every time you hear it? Would you tap you feet and sing along to it in public?

Every time I hear Pat Benatar sing Love is a Battlefield, I have to sing along and do the titty jiggle move from the video. Every time. Just see if you can resist.

Tattoos: yes or no? Do you have any? Tell us! Do you think they're gross? TELL US!

I blogged these in this post.

When's the last time you laughed so hard your ribs ached and/or you nearly peed yourself? What made you do it?

The hardest I have ever laughed in my life was the first time I saw Suzanne Westenhoefer perform. My face hurt.

Draw or doodle a picture of your pet(s) and post it if possible. Nothing fancy, don't be shy!

It's late, so I'm not going to try to draw anything, but I did make an lolcats of Tuck and Cougar just the other day.

Go through a stack or box of your old music. Stuff that you may not have heard in years. Pick one and tell us about it. Is it as good (or as bad) as you remember?

Again, it's late. And I really do need to go through my collection to see what needs to stay or go, but that project's been pending for a few years now.

Do you still sleep with a stuffed animal? We won't laugh!

No. Not since I was in my early teens, I don't think.

26 May 2008


Yesterday morning, after working all night and then driving an hour home, David & I hopped in the car and made the nearly 3½ hour drive to Cummington, Massachusetts, for the Mass. Sheep & Woolcraft Fair. I managed to nap for about two of those hours since, as you might imagine, I was in no condition to be driving.

After we got to the fairgrounds, all I managed to snap photos of was this handsome fellow:


Otherwise, we made the rounds of all the vendors while David made sure that I didn't add to my already-straining-at-the-seams stash (though I was so very tempted by a couple skeins of laceweight cashmere in gorgeous man colors). And we visited with the usual knitblogger crowd whose company I very much enjoy, but not nearly often enough. There's definitely something to be said, though, for spending time with people you'd rather just spend time with than photograph.

Then too soon it was time to turn around and make the long drive back. And once again I slept.

Sunday in the Garden

Today was devoted to outdoors. Tuck and I started the day with a trip to a nearby garden center, where we got a couple of tomato plants for the garden (Brandywine & Roma), and an assortment of herbs for the front flower beds. David put together a brazier that the Landladies gave us for Christmas, and this evening we had a little cookout for two.

And now I need to see how close I can get to finishing kilt hose #1 before I fall asleep. I'm just a few rounds short of starting the toe decreases, but I don't think I can stay awake long enough to finish it off.

23 May 2008

Do You Think...

...anyone would notice if I just cast this off right here?


I have to do a whole other one of these in the next 4 weeks!

21 May 2008

Too Cute for Words




Well, maybe not entirely.


19 May 2008

Knitters with Lots of Balls

David and I got home yesterday afternoon from the Men's Spring Knitting Retreat at Easton Mountain, which was organized over the winter by Ted and Joe. After Friday's sadness, it was a much-needed escape, my only complaint being that it didn't last long enough.

Because I was a bit distracted on Friday and because events set us a couple hours behind, I forgot my camera and was stuck with the camera on my cell phone, which made for some very fuzzy pics (Sorry, Joe and Josh). And because we had to rush the 4.5 hrs back home so that I could drive the hour to work a 15 hr shift, I'm too tired to write any more about them. Click and you can read the (short) captions on my Flickr site.









And then we came home to this:




And Inga is feeling better and her kidney values have improved with the IV fluids. Another day and I think it'll be time for her to come home.

And now I need desperately to sleep.

16 May 2008

Kitty Update

We now have two kitties in the hospital. This evening David told me that Inga, our 19 year-old who has been in kidney failure for two years, stumbled on the stairs today before I got up. Since we're leaving town tomorrow and since we hadn't checked her bloodwork for a while, I thought it would be prudent to take her in tonight and do a bit of workup. Like their human counterparts, it often doesn't take very much to get an old lady kitty down.

Sure enough, she's pretty badly dehydrated and her kidney values have gone up a good bit. It appears she has a low grade urinary tract infection, so I'm hoping a few days of antibiotics and IV fluids will make a big difference.

Dolores is a somewhat different story. Her pathology report came back as abscess, but sometimes abscesses can be caused by malignancies and I'm waiting to hear back from the pathologist with a couple questions I had. She still doesn't look very well and definitely isn't out of the woods yet, so it's going to be one day at a time for now.


Dolores's condition worsened considerably and some repeat bloodwork this morning was bad. Really, really bad. Weighing what really would have needed to be done (a lot of very unpleasant things, including very major surgery) against the slim likelihood of having a happy, healthy kitty at the end of it, I decided I couldn't justify putting her through any more. I don't believe in heaven or treacly rainbow bridges, but I do believe that it's good not to suffer anymore. I've shed a few tears and will likely shed more over the next few days, but it was the right thing to do for her and at least I know that she was well-loved.

15 May 2008

Now with Bullets!

I realize I haven't been as diligent in posting as I'd like to be lately, but there's been quite a lot going on - not all of it good stuff. In the interest of catching up, I'm going with Annie's preferred Wednesday night format.

  • I've decided that my lawn has a certain mythic quality, mostly because it sprang forth fully formed, like Athena from Zeus's head. We're barely past frost and it was already over a foot high in places and in bloom when I mowed on Sunday.

  • I have tiny little seedlings sprouting in my garden beds. This makes me very happy. At some point I'll take photos.

  • This evening, David and I drove down to Massachusetts and had South Indian food with my cousin George, whom I hadn't seen in far, far too long.

  • If you don't know whether or not you've ever had South Indian food, it's likely that you haven't. Which is a pity, really.

  • Upon leaving the restaurant (Mysore Veggie in Lowell, MA - I definitely recommend it), we saw a rather large possum skirting the perimeter of a nearby building.

  • On Friday, David and I will be heading to the Men's Spring Knitting Retreat organized by Ted and Joe. I'm pretty sure I'm really going to need it.

  • One of my girl kitties, Dolores, who has been living with my folks, is very ill and has been hospitalized at the clinic since Saturday.

  • She had the name long before Franklin's infamous ovine roommate came on the scene. Please note, however, that both of them are spelled D-O-L-O-R-E-S, not D-E-L-O-R-E-S. It matters.

  • My Dolores has two masses in her liver. While I am holding onto the slim hope that the pathology will come back as abscess, the cells I saw from the aspirate suggest otherwise. Given my track record with pets and cancer, I expect the pathologist will likely concur.

  • Did I mention I'm really going to need this retreat?

09 May 2008

Walk Before You Run

On Wednesday, I gave the FiveFingers their first workout at the gym. The website recommends that people whose feet pronate (i.e., are really flat, like mine) use caution starting out with these shoes. Fortunately, several years of yoga taught me to correct my pronation without support, so I don't think that'll be much of concern. The real challenge is the whole shift in how I move.

I learned that I will be building up calluses at the base of the second toe on each foot, as that seems to be where I'm getting the most friction. I've always built up calluses in the summer from wearing sandals, but never at this spot. On the other hand, I noticed a lot less knee pain after my workout than I had in regular running shoes. I didn't try to run yet, of course, but I did walk on the treadmill at a pretty good pace.

Today I'll get to work out in a new pair, as I bought some more just for the gym.

Kilt Hose

I started these on my trip to California at the end of March, but I haven't really blogged about them much. Our minister (who is now on Ravelry, but I'm not sure how a nonny moose she wishes to be) pointed out that I hadn't added them to my projects or posted any pics of them or anything, so here goes:


Because I started these on the go, I opted for a fairly simple design that I could work out in my head. They're 3x1 rib with a simple braided cable running down each side. The wool is woolen spun worsted weight from Elsa Wool Company, and I'm knitting them on two size US3/3.25mm Addi 12" circs.

I knat the cuffs first with a provisional cast on to obviate any concerns about dealing with holes when switching directions for the leg. I'm getting fairly close to being able to decrease the extra stitches for the calf on the first one. I hope to make a lot of progress on these next weekend at the Men's Spring Knitting Retreat.

Apropos of Nothing

Because my job entails long hours with no ability to leave for lunch (assuming you could even find lunch at 2AM), I try to keep a stash of food on hand at the clinic. It's generally nothing fancy, but it keeps me from starving. Everyone else keeps food here, as well, and the rule is that if you don't want it thrown out or eaten, you need to put your name on it.

Fair enough.

The only problem is when people don't respect that rule and eat your food anyway. This happened recently with a brick of cheese I had in the fridge, but it's not the first time.

Now I'm generally more than happy to share my food when I'm working. I don't want staff coming in here and not having anything to eat for 10 or 12 hours. But when I'm coming in to work a 15 hour shift and expect to have food in the fridge, it's more than a little irritating to find some two-legged rat has been at it. So with my latest cheese purchase, I made a little sign to tape to it that I thought would get the point across a little more emphatically.

06 May 2008

And Even More Shoes!

These are totally unrelated to the wedding, though I did consider saying I'd changed my mind just to see what people said. Anyway, last week I read this article (courtesy of Chris, who in turn got it from Chappysmom), which is basically about how bad shoes are for us biomechanically and we're better off going back to barefoot as much as possible.

Given that I already preferred wearing as little as possible on my feet during the warm months and given all my musculoskeletal issues, plus the fact that the article was backed up with hard data, I was an easy sell. The Vivo Barefoot line profiled in the article is pretty much all sold out at this point, so bought myself a pair of these at half the price:

Because they shipped from just outside Boston they were delivered the next day - Friday afternoon - literally a couple of minutes after I left for work. I think the UPS truck deliberately waited around the corner for me to leave, just to be spiteful. David will attest that I called him several times that night to see if he'd touched them or tried them on (He didn't. The toes scare him.) I tried them on briefly on Saturday, but it was too cold to wear them for long.

Sunday was little different, except that it was wetter. So today they got their first real breaking in. I had a few errands to run then spent the bulk of the afternoon working on the garden beds and getting seeds planted. The website doesn't say anything about them being good for moving wheelbarrows full of partly-composted manure to spread on the garden, but they worked quite well. And when I was done, I just tossed them into the washing machine.

I think I may get another pair for the gym and maybe, possibly a pair for work. I think the Vivo Barefoots might freak clients out less, though. When they're back in stock, that is, and assuming I can spare the pricetag.

Other Stuff in the Mail

I did get one package before I left for work on Friday. It was my prize from VUBOQ that I won from entering his 10% Tax Refund Challenge and donating 10% of my refund to a charity of my choice (and getting my name drawn out of a bag.) Unfortunately, when I picked it up I heard a faint *clink* that didn't bode well.

Inside was a pair of handmade pottery mugs, but the handle of one is in about four pieces. Eventually I shall take a tube of epoxy to it, but it was sad because I know VUBOQ put a good bit of work into them. The other mug, at least, is in perfect condition and very lovely.


The Rest of the Weekend

Saturday was quite a big day around the farm. It was David's 40th and Landlady Paula's 60th birthday, so we had a big 100 year birthday bash for them in Paula and Wendy's brand spanking new barn, complete with live band, lots of food, and lots of booze. A good time was had by all, though the size of the crowd was a bit overwhelming.

On Sunday, the main order of business for us was setting up a wedding registry, as friends and loved ones have been asking us more and more frequently. Now, we're hardly just starting out in life, so our needs are relatively few, but one thing we really need is some coherency in the dinnerware department. David had been living in single mode for a decade when we started dating, and I had come away from the relationship with S with his old hand-me-down med school dishes - leaving behind the nice dinnerware set our parents had chipped in to get for us.

So we agreed on putting together a multicolor set of Fiesta® ware, which meant a trip to the local Macy's to get a better visual idea of some of the options available and a couple of hours of discussing which pieces we actually want and what colors were available in each piece - not a straightforward task when you're trying not to have the exact same color grouping in any two pieces. Eventually, though, we managed to put together a list that will give us some nice multicolor place settings but give our guests some inexpensive gift options.

I also added on a few bigger ticket items, just in case anyone is so inclined. After all, that's what wedding registries are for, and I really could use a decent food processor. And a workbench, and a handmixer, and....

01 May 2008

Gimme That Buckled-Down Look

With 53.9% of the 152 votes cast, the buckle shoe is the clear crowd favorite. It's also the one David and I agreed on. In fact, I ordered it because it immediately made me say, "Oooh!" Honestly, I love all three of these styles, but (in my best Sean Connery) there can be only one*.

Um, yeah...anyway, the other two pairs will be headed back to the store soon, though there may be a bit of wailing and gnashing of teeth over seeing them go.

No pulling of the hair, though. That's going away well enough of its own accord.

*I did not know until I just read it on IMDB, but the big scary guy who plays the Kurgan in "Highlander" also does the voice of Mr. Krabs from SpongeBob SquarePants. The things you learn.