Wednesday, December 20, 2006

......Merry Christmas to ME......

A scenic shot taken - from the end of our street - over Thanksgiving.

This will annoy my husband to no end (I know this for certain, as I *just* got off the phone with him where he told me in no uncertain terms that it annoyed him to no end) but this afternoon I bought myself a new jacket (in plum). Let's all sing together now "Merry Christmas to youuuuu, Merry Christmas to youuuuuu, Merrrryyyy Chrissssssssttttmaaaaassss Dear Suuuuuuuusan.........Meeeeeeery Chriiiiiiiiiistmasssss toooooooo youuuuuuuuuuuu..........."

After I had the Munch I did major, major breastfeeding time that took my pregnancy poundage right off - with absolutely no effort on my part - with not a little amount of chocolate, brie, pasta, and other yummy carbs being shoveled into my mouth - with no harmful effects. However since the little guy is almost completely weaned, my metabolism is finally returning to it's normal sluggish-at-best state, and while my weight briefly creeped up a few pounds this semester, it's now back to where it was pre-pregnancy. Which is approximately 10-15 pounds above where I'd like it to be. Which is where the lovely Health Magazine article on amping up your basic metabolism comes into play. While I had swam through my pregnancy & afterwards, my enthusiasm for it is seriously waning these days - something about the walk to the pool, the changing, the dampness of it all, the cold, the showering, the changing back into my work clothes - it's just something I have no interest in. But now walking - I never get tired of walking. In a bad mood? Go for a walk and amazingly enough I come back feeling better. Anxious? Depressed? Sad? A walk will clear my head like literally nothing else. Angry or frustrated? Walking just mellows me out better than a glass (or two!) of wine.

So when the Heath article tells me to amp up my resting metabolism (and in a nutshell, amp up your resting metabolism & you simply burn a ton more calories by sitting & existing than you otherwise do) by walking four times a week (twice for 30 minutes, twice for 45 minutes) and lifting some weights twice a week to pack on some calorie-burning muscle I realized that this is something I can totally do. So my walking shoes are already at work, and I know where I can go around campus to walk for just the right amount of time. However that first day that I happily went outside for a walk I came back knowing that some things would most certainly have to change so that the whole walking experience could be the lovely, lovely thing that I know for certain it can be for me.

(oh how FRUSTRATING - bear with me - this is the 2nd time I'm writing up this list, as Blogger lost it the first time around!)

Here is my list (so far) of what I need to have from here on out:

1.) A new jacket. As you already know, this has been recently purchased. In plum. It doesn't get brutally cold here, not really. Not like it does in Vermont or in Wyoming or anything. But still because of our bizarre humidity it gets wet & cold in such a way that a decent warm, padded, closely fitted jacket that keeps the coldly-freezingly wet wind off of your more tender tissues a serious necessity. And even better, the jacket unzips to be three jackets - a single outer layer, a single inner layer, and a single+outer together for the Ultimate Experience. Well worth the cashola, I'd say - staying warm while still being un-bulky enough to fit behind the wheel of a Jeep Wrangler & still easily haul the Munch in & out of his carseat? Yep yep yep - worth the price!

2. A decent wear-to-work-sportsbra. For the love of Pete, why are bras so HORRIBLE so often? The stupid strap-holding bits slide down to where they're roughly 3 feet long and before you know it you're losing - seriously losing - to gravity. A look that - correct me here if I'm wrong - we typically try our best to AVOID. Add that to a brisk 30 or 45 minute walk & add in chafing, scratching back hooks, dripping sweat as there is NO wicking ability in a basic bra - and you've got a very annoyed walker. Find a typical sports bra and you've suddenly got one huge monobreast that spans the entire width of your chest and makes you look like you've been drawn through the eyeball of a cyclops who can't focus on two things at once. I wanted & needed something that I could wear to work and keep me separate & lifted & comfy yet could also handle a sweaty walk in the middle of the day. Leave it to the folks at Title Nine to know exactly what it was that I needed. I ordered one yesterday in black - if I like it a second one will most certainly be purchased in white in a few months.

3. Sunglasses. Man but it's bright out there! I go out & squint which means eyestrain which means headaches & problems. And as someone who is already legally blind without her glasses/contacts lenses (but I have 20/15 vision with my contacts in!) more eyestrain is simply not allowed. Preferably with truly decent UV protection & maybe even polarized to kill the glare.

4. Chapstick. Needing it & not having it is seriously, seriously annoying. A tube that will never, ever leave my new & nifty jacket.

5. Gloves. My hands do lots of swinging when I walk - which means that they get very very cold. I'm not a hands-in-pockets kind of girl or walker, I guess. Plus I need gloves for my drive into work - I had a lovely lined leather pair last year but the dog ate them. Bad dog! Bad dog! Which is why when I saw these for the eye-bulging price of $49 I was seriously reluctant to order them - after all, that's an expensive dog toy in my book! (Plus - honestly - who could choose - brown or black?) I'm guessing that I'm instead going to go with these in (again) plum to match my jacket when they're back in stock.

6. A hat. I was browsing through the hats online at LL Bean & Title Nine & Athleta when suddenly I smacked myself on the head and thought "ohmygod are you KIDDING ME? You're thinking of BUYING a hat when what you obviously need to do - you stupid braindead woman - is make one for yourself????" Now the question is not what hat to buy but rather what hat to make. As I've had my eye on this one and this and this other one for quite some time now. Huh - although I just saw this in the new Knitty issue..... (A note to folks - in order to find the above links I had to search through Knitty's revamped archive/pattern pages about a million times - now instead of one master archive page divided by category - socks, hats, cardigans, etc. - you have to click on then search through each issue one at a time. A very, very bad reorganization decision on their part!!!)

So that is what I have been doing, thinking about, and working on all day today. And not working on the book intro like I'm supposed to have been doing. Ah well - tomorrow is yet another day!

And just so that this blog isn't completely picture-less I just put in a pic up at the very top - we live near a large cemetery in town and at the back of the cemetery there is a large & lovely pond. That was the view across the pond back in November.

The picture above is of *the* most incredible banana bread that I've had in a long long time. Clotilde's flamed-banana bread made with Emily's pecans that she sent me in my care package. YUM YUM YUM. Must make more very very soon! The only thing I'd do different is to coarsely chop the pecans after I was done praline-ing them, as - as you can see - they were a bit big in the end product.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


The past several weeks have felt like I've been submerged, under very very thick & choppy water which in reality was too much work & stress at work, a young son who has been waking up much MUCH too early (4:50 AM, anyone?), a violent allergic reaction due to a mold infestation in the building, and just general insanity & traveling & holiday cheer-lessness.

This afternoon - after a good 15 minutes of watching home video clips of said young son, I finally feel as if I'm emerging and surfacing from my pool of stress and general malaise.

So here - finally - are pictures of some mega-finished-objects. Two single socks, one partially finished sock that will finish up the pair, and some shots of finished Red Knee-Highs on Mr. Peggers himself. Now, unfortunately, remember that one of those knee-highs will be ripped back so that I can knit the toe longer than it currently is. I don't think that I'll be able to salvage the yarn enough to re-use it, so an extra skein of KnitPicks will need to be purchased. Which, as I'm hoping to buy a bunch of KnitPicks after the holidays to knit myself Amelia's Jemima - which I am totally and thoroughly in love with and have high high hopes for (especially after my J. Crew chocolate brown cashmere sweater went missing over a year ago) isn't really any sort of a tragedy by any means!

First, after such a long wait - Red Knee Highs, modeled by Mr. You-Know-Who himself!

This first picture cracks me up, as just behind Peggers you can see The Munchkin come running into the kitchen to see what Mommy & Daddy have the audacity to be doing without him!

Calf shaping. If you squint, you can *almost* see it!

Next some socks. I'm almost done with both of my Dusk socks (selfish selfish me!) and just two days ago finished the first sock for my friend S. She was owed socks from ages ago when she decided to start knitting them on her we both ordered sock yarn and some really nice Addi circs to get started. Then she decided that knitting tiny yarn on tiny needles just wasn't at all her thing, so she gave them ALL TO ME. All of them - the Addis, the yarn - all of it! So I promised her a pair of socks in return.

So - the blue socks are for yours truly, while the single green one is for her. The yarn I used for S's sock is actually an incredible, incredible gift from Emily. For which I have never - horridly - thanked her. But will certainly & properly do so very soon.

The cuff is a basic k/p with twisted knitting stitches, and then plain for the leg. I did a Sherman heel (love love love those!!!!!) and the toe I did a-la Mean Girl Jen & did it in twisted ribbing to match the cuff. Like that ribbed toe, I do I do!

One green, one blue.

Stunningly enough, I actually took truly properly detailed notes on this sock! The cuff is done on 72 sts and done in a basic feather/fan pattern. 9 repeats & then in one round decrease to 64 sts for the rest of the sock. I did the heel in a heel flap - eye of partridge. (I figured w/ these peacock-y colours, that keeping to a bird motif would be appropriate - oui?) After I did the flap & picked up for the gusset I just did the basic decrease until I was down to 64 sts again I knit until it was time to do the toe, then I decreased for that in a star decrease like the directions for the Embossed Leaves sock told me to do. Then when I had 4 sts left I ran the yarn through, and wove in my 2 ends. Easy as can be! I double-checked it with S and it fits perfectly - so I cast on for the pair yesterday & will join and begin knitting on it again tonight.

The yarn is Schaefer in the superwash-blend "Anne" that (again) Emily gave to me. Isn't it STUNNING?????? The woman obviously has very very good taste!

So in a brief yet picture-heavy nutshell, that is what I've been doing with myself for the past - oh - 4 or 5 weeks!

I'm still working on my Super-Secret Project - and will update you on that as soon as possible. Gee, could it possibly be Christmas knitting???????????


Friday, December 08, 2006

I Lied

I have done no knitting this week. NONE. It's been another icky busy week at work, full of running around during the day and collapsing in a heap at night. To add to the ickyness my building has become infested with mold in the ventilation system - a substance that while I typically adore in cheese and other foodstuffs, I am violently allergic to when it's floating around in the air. This has meant me shuffling around from building to building, trying to bum a wireless-capable laptop and trying to find a wireless-capable spot to park my bum and get necessary work done.

I finished the Red Knee-Highs on Sunday - and of course knitted the second foot too small. {SIGH} Would have helped tremendously if I would have actually taken notes on what I was doing the first time around, huh???????

I'm hoping knitting will happen before the month is out!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Still Here...

...just buried under tons of grading, final exam insanity, and the particular hellishness of three candidates visiting campus this week. Next week promises to be better.

Happily enough, though, I *have* been knitting. What I have not been doing is photographing that knitting. That will be next week.

I do, however, have a photo for Eye Candy Friday.

It's been very, very foggy here lately. 'Tis quite cool.