Friday, January 29, 2010

To knit or not to knit?

Okay folks... I need input.

I got this skein of yarn from my fabulous father-in-law (he's a weaver).   It's the only one he had and this is exactly the way I got it - no label or identification.

I have NO idea what it is or how much is there.  Any thoughts or idea?  (I'm almost certain it's not a wool of any kind... maybe poly-cotton mix?)

I want to make something out of it but am not sure what to do... first thought is a scarf, but that seems too obvious.   I've never tried crochet, but I have recently acquired a needle, so I could make an attempt at my first crochet project.
Any suggestions??  They're welcome and encouraged.

Thanks a million.
Hope you've got some creative plans for the weekend.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Word of the day (& a podcast)

I was reminded of a word today.
The word is...

Pronounced: \ˈsi-zə-jē\ or 'seh-zeh-gee' for the non-linguists out there
Webster's definition:  the nearly straight-line configuration of three celestial bodies (as the sun, moon, and earth during a solar or lunar eclipes) in a gravitational system

How often do you find a word with THREE Ys and a Z in it?  Probably about as often as a syzygial event happens.  They're not that common - especially if you're talking about ALL the planets aligning, and not just the sun, moon, and earth.

So, what reminded me of this fabulous word???  I was catching up on over a month's worth of The Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcasts (syzygy was mentioned in the December 9, 2009 episode).

I heard about SGU about 6-months ago (maybe less) from the hubby when I came home one day complaining about people and their "homeopathic" or "natural" remedies.    He said SGU was an excellent place for science-based info... everything from astronomy to medicine to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
He was right.
Each member of the group brings his/her own unique perspective and expertise to the discussion; but better yet, their chemistry really works (no pun intended).

My favorite part of the podcast is the game at the end... Science or Fiction... when Dr. Steven Novella tries to stump his panelist with two 'science' and one 'fiction' news items (they have to deduce (or guess) which is which).  I always try to make my decision before the panelist give their answers, but sometimes I'm just blindly guessing.  At that point I listen to each person give their reasons for choosing their answers and then decide.  Either that, or I'm on the fence and wait to hear what Bob says and go with his answer.  ;)

That's about all I have to say (for today).  But, if you want to know more cool science-related current events... check out SGU - Your Escape to Reality.

Monday, January 18, 2010


... or is it vanity?

I'll let you decide.

Almost one year ago, the hubby and I started the P90x program.  It's 3-months of INTENSE 60-90 minute workouts for six out of seven days a week.  We did it from (approximately) February 5 - May 15, 2009.  We both had good results, but determined it was not a realistic program to use for maintenance.  In other words, we quit.

I spent the summer going on occasional walks with the dogs and doing little projects around the house - nothing I would consider an a real exercise routine.

Mid-October, I started something new.  I made a commitment to myself to sweat 3-5 days a week.  This could be a workout DVD, hike with the dogs, hauling firewood, etc.  So long as I got my heart-rate up to a cardio level for at least 30-60 minutes, I counted it.  I also kept track of my workouts on my calendar so I could see when I met my goal and when I didn't.

December '09, I made a new commitment.  I get out of bed at 5:30am (weekdays) and do 25-30 minutes of cardio... every day.  Weekend days are either a rest day, hiking day, or a long workout day (60-90 minutes) - one day of rest, one calorie-burning day.

By the way... I haven't really changed my eating habits.  I eat what I want and I LOVE food.  I try to include veggies each day, try not to pig out during meals and can't remember the last time I had fast food, but I will indulge my sweet tooth occasionally and have a thing for sugary cereals for dinner.  But anyway... I digress.

These last few weeks I have been excited about working out each morning.  5:30 felt very early the first couple weeks, but my attitude has changed.  I LIKE working out - and I LOVE the results.  These last few days I have been feeling REALLY strong.  I've barely lost any weight, but I can tell, fat has turned into muscle - and I'm lookin' good!

Today is January 18, 2010.  Thanks to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, I have the day off.  Since it feels like a "weekend" day, I did 80 minutes of P90x.  Afterward, I did something I don't usually do.  I grabbed the camera and snapped some photos of myself.

Do I post them here???
I'm scared.

This is my 1-year documentation. 
I called this post 'Accountability' - so here I am.  I am totally committed to keeping myself healthy in 2010.    I hope to be able to post even better results in January 2011.

So here it goes... 
"Before" - Flabby me (Feb 2009)

"Work in progress" - Stronger me (Jan 2010)


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

12-of-12: January 2010

Looking back on last year's Jan 12-of-12, I guess January is my hibernation month.  Interesting how this project has become a "reference archive" of sorts.

Today, unfortunately, was a "sick day"... felt lousy most of yesterday, then totally crashed after work.  This morning I woke up with a slight fever so decided to stay home and rest.
BUT, it's a 12-of-12 day... so, around 1pm, when I started feeling a little more human, I started taking some pix.  You will see that today's set is FAR from my most creative, but it's the 12th... so I tried my best to catalog the day as best I could.   

As always, thanks to Chad Darnell for the excellent idea (12 photos on the 12th day of each month).  To see Chad's site and the other cool people who post their photos, click here.

Had to scrap the workout this morning.  I've been doing a great job of getting up at 5:30 each morning and doing 30-45 minutes of cardio/weights.  But not today.  Hopefully tomorrow.

One reason for my need to get in shape (aside from a simple desire to look & feel better) is our upcoming vacation to Sequoia National Park & Kings Canyon.  I can't wait!  Five days of hiking amongst California's giant trees!  WOO HOO!!!

Spent a lot of time in front of the computer today.  This is my current wallpaper.  I LOVE this picture of the kids.  I took it January 2nd while we were playing in the newly fallen snow.
This shot is a pretty typical scene for my two... Mackie tries to hip-check the immovable TaterBug - she thinks she's tough.  He thinks she's nuts.  (She is.)
This little guy sits on the table next to the monitor.  For those that don't know, it's s geode (rocks that have crystal growth inside).  I picked this one up a a Gem & Mineral Show back in October.  Isn't the crystal structure fascinating??

I ate lunch with the birds (well, sort of).  Outside my dining room window I have this and 3 other bird feeders.  The Goldfinches love me for it.  They're wearing their winter colors now, but in the spring the males turn brilliant yellow... and sing their little hearts out.

Nap time!

Rarely will you find ME in photos... I'm always the one behind the camera (and I like it that way).  But since the original rules (per Chad) were to include one's self in at least a few shots, I'd try to oblige this time.

Ya know... it's tough it is to find cool things to take photos of when you're stuck in the house.
I found these two knot projects when I wandered into the kitchen.  I don't know exactly what I'd call them... keychains?  lanyards?  I dunno... but they were fun to make and turned out pretty cool looking.  The bottom one, by the way, is made with glow-in-the-dark paracord, so assuming the cord was "charged" you could see it at night.  I tried to take a picture of it, but it doesn't photograph well in pitch-black. 

I got a special delivery!
Okay, I'm sure for many people, a box of pot-pies is not high on the excitement scale.  But for me, these were an AWESOME sight!  $3.50 gets you tons of yummy veggies and chunks of turkey in a perfect little pie.  We buy them by the case!  Yummmmmm, can't wait for dinner.

Finally, I'm borrowing this idea from one of the other 12-of-12ers (I can't remember who it was, so apologies to them).  Each month they posted a photo of their home/yard that was taken from the same spot each month.  It was so cool to see how the landscape changed over the course of the year.  SO, for each month of 2010, I will post a picture like the one below, taken from my front porch.   

I'm curious to see how long it takes for the snow to melt!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Turn the Page... Tuesday

It's January 5th - the first Tuesday of the month - time for Turn the Page... Tuesday.  And BOY do I have a bunch of books to talk about this month (lots of time in airports and on planes - BOO - then lots of time off - YAY).
But first, thanks to Adrienne of Some of a Kind for the idea of TTP... T.  For more info and to see what other bloggers are reading, check out her site.  Then join in!

SO... what did I read this month, you ask?  A little bit of everything, starting with...

Club Dead by Charlaine Harris
This is book 3 of the Sookie Stackhouse books.  This series is the basis for the HBO Show "True Blood".  I've never seen the show, but the books are fun.  Imagine vampires living among humans as fellow humans with a "disability" - allergic to sunshine and drink blood.  This book is a story of just another "day in teh life" of a telepath (Sookie) and her adventures with the vampires.
I'll admit, I blew through this book rather quickly... and it was enjoyable.  But it's not my favorite Sookie story.  I've noticed this seems to happen in novel series - so books are just better than others.  Maybe this one is setting up story lines for future books.  We'll see.  I'll probably tackle Book 4 next month.

Next, I attempted to read Franny and Zooey by JD Salinger (got about 1/2 way through).  It's not a very cheery story and a tough one to read following a Sookie story.  I found the "undertones" of F&Z interesting, however, with Franny rejecting what seems to be the "status" associated with the people around her - it matches my occasional thoughts on the consumerism of people these days.    Anyway... I might go back to it eventually, but for now it's on the shelf. 

Speaking of cheery... the next one was anything but.  For Book Club, I recommended Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and the members selected it for our January meeting!  I thought I read this in high school (who hasn't), but I honestly don't remember it having the impact it had on me this time through.  Written in 1950, the parallels to today's society are SCARY (fast cars, big screen TVs and a lack of intellectualism or even "thinking" - Sheesh!).  I'm really looking forward to our discussion on the 13th.  Even though the book was short, I don't expect the conversation to be the same.

I learned a new word between reading F451 and my next book, The Maze Runner by James Dashner.  Dystopia: the opposite of an Utopia... a nightmare world.  The Maze Runner is set (in Book 1, at least) in a dystopian world - a maze, where vicious creatures roam at night, so you better be inside - even though you were doing everything you could to escape.  TMR is a book written for teens (teen boys, I would assume), but I found it quite enjoyable.  It was a quick read (as most teen fiction seems to be for me), but also quite exciting.  When I got to the end of the book I saw that it as listed as Book I.  I just learned there are two more books to come... but I have to wait till Fall 2010 and 2011.  ARRGH!  :)

So, what am I reading now?

I completely switched gears again and am reading Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises.  I picked up a hardcover copy at last month's book sale & noticed that it was a Book Club selection from a few years ago (before I was a member).  I'm about 100 pages into the book and can't really comment on it yet.  If I remember, I'll make a note about it in next month's TTP... T.

See ya then!