Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Magic Loop Link

Once I get the never ending socks done (aka the socks from hell) I want to work on a pair done on the magic loop. I have the needles, but I don't have the book, so I was looking for a good tutorial on the web. I found this tutorial, so I am putting this link here on my blog so I don't forget it. I have this nasty habit of surfing blogs and thinking something looks great, and then not remembering where it is or how I got there in the first place. So know I should be able to find it again. Let's just hope I don't forget that I blogged about it. :o)

Hot Cocoa Swap - Topic of the Week

What is your most memorable vacation? Where did you go? What made it memorable?

That's a toss up. I have 2 favorite/really memorable vacations that I have taken. The thing that makes them so memorable is that they were both firsts. In September 2001, yes the week after 911, I took my very first vacation by myself, ever. I rented a car and drove all by myself out to South Dakota to visit a friend. And let me tell you, boy is that a really long drive, more so, because I had checked out several books on tape from the library and the rental car did not have either a tape player or cd player in it. Anyway, we visited the badlands, Custer National Park and Mount Rushmore, which was especially nice as they had a 911 memorial set up.

My second most memorable vacation was the trip I took to England in 2005. It was my first trip overseas. I stayed with a friend near Nottingham and had a lot of fun. I was only there a week, but the weather was gorgeous. Normally all they have in March is rain, but the sun shone all week except for my last full day there. After I left, it rained every day for over a month. I thought that was kind of funny!

Good News

I thought I would offset last week's bad news with a little good news.

My Mom called yesterday to let me know that my Aunt Margaret had lost her buddy. I tried to rack my brain for which of my Aunts friends might have gotten sick and died, but that wouldn't in any way be construed as good news. Well so no, that is not what happened at all. My Mom was calling my Aunt's feeding tube her 'buddy'. So after having had her feeding tube in for almost 2 years, the doctors finally took it out yesterday. Hurray for Aunt Margaret!! My Aunt had the feeding tube installed when she was going through kemo and radiation for throat cancer. She has gained about 16 lbs since she was allowed and able to start eating "real" food again. My mom said that she will still have to go back in March to have another throat stretching procedure done, so she still has to put some things through the food processor, but she's doing really well.

Fit Club Update: Even though the B100 Fit Club ended, I have not stopped my workout routines. The gym that I go to, has multiple classes each and every day. Since I work better when in a class than if I go by myself, I have been trying out a couple of the classes. I tried the Bootcamp class on Monday night (75 minutes), but have discovered that I don't really like it. The first week was fine, if a bit hard, but the rest of the sessions have been more running than anything else. In one class, the instructor had us running 'suicide lines' the length of the gym. Multiple times!! God I hate running. The only good thing that came out of that class was that I figured out that I have exercise induced asthma. There is also the Zumba Class (60 minutes), a latin dance aerobic class, which I really didn't enjoy either. I have found a couple of classes that I do like. One is the Only Abs class (15 Minutes), but am usually too late to join it. And I really really like the Signature Strength class (60 minutes) on Thursday night, with is much more like B100 Bootcamp that I had been going to. I have an appointment with a personal trainer Heather tomorrow night. Heather was the instructor in charge of the B100 Fit Club, so she will know more of what I am looking for and not just tell me to do aerobics or treadmill. My original purposes for going into this story was to say that after a couple weeks of doing aerobics and a little weight training and 1 week of weight training only, I have have come to the determination that you really don't loose weight with aerobics. Over the last couple of weeks, I have been 'stuck' with regards to loosing weight. But last week, as soon as I switched back to weight training only, I started loosing again. I have lost a total of 26 lbs and 27 inches so far. I have gotten asked by several people if I have had to go out and buy new clothes yet. The answer so far is no. When I started this all my clothes were super tight. I just hadn't wanted to buy a bigger size. So now, the cloths are fitting me great. Yes, a few are getting a little baggy, but not extremely so. And some items have been tossed in the giveaway basket, but not as many as you would think. I am determined to keep going though, not only for my health which has improved, but also because I have a friend getting married in May and I want to buy a new outfit for it.

PS: I forgot to mention something that happened when I went to the doctor last week to have my bloodwork re-checked. I got the standard look in ears and throat check. Then the doctor asked me to lay down so he could check my stomach area. I was in the process of telling him about my new exercise/diet program and as he was poking here and there, checking my gallbladder/liver/whatever, he suddenly says "wow, you really have been toning up!" I was so proud of myself!!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Bad News

Business has been pretty bad for the company I work for. Order have been very slim lately. Anyway, we found out yesterday that everyone is getting their hours cut. We will all (except the salesmen, who I hope will be putting in overtime) be working only 4 days a week. I will have Fridays off starting tomorrow.

On the good side, the owners announced that that they have been trying to sell their shares in a business they own in India. Well they have found a buyer. Once that goes through, our money problems will go away, because they will have about $500,000 to re-invest into SYSCON.

However, even with this news, I know I will not be alone in getting my resume updated this weekend.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Results are In

I had my bloodwork retested last week. This was my 3 month checkup after I got the last results on 10/4/07 .

Here are my new totals:
Cholesterol = 139 (total) - Down from 157
HDL = 39.0 - Down from 41.0
LDL = 53.0 - Up from 45.6
Triglycerides = 209 - DOWN FROM 352!!!!
Calcium = 8.9 - Up from 8.3
Hematocrit = 33.8% - Down from 37.5%
Blood Pressure = 118/81 - Down from 136/75

The nurse, who called with the results, said the Dr. is a little concerned that the HDL has gone down because I guess they don't want that number to be too low. Not sure of the specifics as to why, but.... Anyway, I explained these were my 3 month check-up after I had been on a new diet/exercise program. I have lost a total of 24 lbs so far. I can't believe that my Triglycerides went down that much! I am so proud of that. My Hematocrit has dropped lower even though I have been taking an Iron supplement. I asked about that and she asked whether it was a OTC or a prescription. It was an over the counter supplement from Walmart. So she said they would call me in a prescription for another iron supplement that I will need to take 3 times a day. And then come have my iron retested in a month or two.

I think I have hit a plateau with the diet/exercise program. I have been exercising 3-4 times a week, but I have been slack on the food front. I just get tired of cooking for one and start looking for short cuts. But now that I see that it is really working, I need to really start watching what I eat again. I mean, I haven't gone back to my old ways of fast food or fried food, but I have kind of gotten tired of fish and chicken.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Hot Cocoa Swap - Topic of the week

Now that we're in the thick of 'Winter'... has your knitting changed to match the season? Are you moving on from dishcloths, and tank tops to afghans, hats and mittens? Has your yarn changed from silk or cotton to wool, superwash or heavier cottons?

Well, to answer th
is honestly, yes my knitting would normally change, but I am stuck on a pair of never ending socks that just don't want to get finished. When I had to rip the beginning of sock #2 out and restart it, I got frustrated. And I started to dislike this sock. I knitted on it last night at Bella Vita and I have made it down to the arch of the foot, so I really don't have much longer to go. Crossing my fingers in the hopes of working on it Sunday at work. But I do have a sweater planned as my next project. I want to knit it in superwash wool (so I don't inadvertently shrink another project). I have not bought or knit anything in silk yet, although I would like to try it out someday. I even looked at some wool/silk blend yarn for my sweater, before I decided to get superwash instead. I bought some silk hankies to try to spin, but they are still sitting in my stash. About the only thing I have ever knitted in cotton is dishcloths. Although the socks I made for the Monkey Sock Swap were a cotton/bamboo blend. It had a real nice feel to it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Retreat ReCap

Nothing super exciting has been happening this week. I just haven't felt in too chatty a mood.

I had a great time at Quilt Retreat this last weekend. For once I actually got everything worked on that I had planned. I have this Buck-a-Block Block of the Month project from Big Island Quilt Shop where you use Thangles to make really quick, accurate half square triangles. I had 5 or 6 blocks to finish. I got them all done except on the last one, I wasn't paying attention and I forgot to use a 1/4" seam allowance, so it was too small. I have enough leftovers from the previous blocks, that I plan to make another block instead of ripping this one. Marti and I took a side trip over to the Big Island Quilt shop in Schoolcraft to get our border fabrics for the buck-a-block project. Oh Marti's doing it too. While we were looking around, we found out that they are going to do another Buck-a-Block quilt for 2008. I had fun with the last one, so I said what the heck, it's only $1 a month. And if I don't want to lay it out like the pattern shows (which is a queen size) I don't have too. So we both signed up. I found out later that Marti had been looking forward to the end of the Buck-a-Block quilt and here I sucked her into another one. Oh well! The next project I worked on, I can't describe until next week. It is a gift that is being sent out this week, so you'll have to wait. But it was super easy and I got lots of compliments and lots of requests for the pattern. It is a free download from the web, so I will post that also next week. And finally I worked on my Temple Guardian quilt. I got all of the background fabric cut for the blocks and I pasted up 5 more of the blocks. I would have had all 9 pasted up, but I realized I still had 2 blocks worth of cat parts to glue stick. Just a quick note on this for those who are reading this and don't quilt, I use freezer paper templates and a glue stick to do my appliqué projects.

And of course the food at retreat was delicious as always. And of course I really really tried to be good, but it was just so good! There was homemade beef stew on Friday with a store bought bread that tasted just like homemade when the warmed it in the oven. For Saturday brunch, my meal crew made an upside down pancake, muffin frittatas (recipe by Giada), and a tropical fruit pudding. It was all yummy, but the Frittatas were to die for. For Saturday dinner, we had 3 types of lasagna; traditional, spinach and a chicken. All were yummy, of course I only sampled 2 for dinner and I took a piece of the 3rd to work on Sunday for lunch. I would love the recipe for the spinach and chicken ones. Sunday breakfast was much simpler, but I think it was great, because after all the other things I had stuffed myself with over the weekend. We had scrambled eggs, cheesy potato casserole and danishes.

I had such a good time, visiting and seeing everyone's projects. I even got a little knitting done on the Never Ending RPM Socks. Don't get me wrong, it is a nice pattern, but I just don't seem to get far on the 2nd sock. They are taking forever to get finished. But I will get them done, I promise.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Procrastination and a Cat Fight

I think I have procrastination down to an art. This weekend is my Winter Quilt Retreat with the Tuesday Night Quilters from Hartford. I didn't start packing or putting together projects to take with me until 10:30pm last night. I have a list that I make up, so that I don't forget things like towels, underwear (which I did forget one year) or cutting blades for the rotary cutter. So you would think that I could just take the list and start putting things together at least a COUPLE days ahead of time. You would think that right? Because that would be the logical thing to do right? But no, I was running around trying to find stuff last night. So of course by the time I got everything together it was almost midnight, and I was too tired to pack the car. As a result of that I had to get up early to do that and I am NOT a morning person. I usually get up at 7am to be to work by 8am. It's no wonder why I always go to bed early on Friday night, stay up all night on Saturday and then need a nap on Sunday to recover.

To top matters off, there was a knock down, drag out fight between the cats last night. I was in the basement picking out clothes for today and this weekend and they were wandering around sniffing things like they do. I wasn't paying too much attention to them. Next thing I know, I hear this herd of elephants racing up the stairs and from one side of the house to the other. I paused listening. Then herd came racing back across and partially back down the steps. Jasmine in the lead, with Java hot on her tail. I yelled some noise and they both stopped in their tracks. Jasmine was so puffed up she looked twice her size. I tried lecturing the two, but they just stared at each other with really ugly looks. Jasmine's look was saying "Now look what you've done. Just wait until I get you alone." And Java's reply was "Who me, I didn't start it, you did!" When I paused to take a breath they decided they had heard enough and they turned around and quietly went back upstairs. So like the blonde I am, I think everything is copasetic and my lecture had been heard and understood. WRONG!! I had turned back to finish packing the clothes I picked out for this weekend, when all of a sudden all hell broke loose. There were shrieks and hisses and growls and more hisses and more shrieks. It sounded like they were killing each other. I went running up the steps, through the kitchen and found the two culprits in the living room. Honest to God, I've never understood the term "fur flying" before. But when those two broke apart there was fur floating in the air around them. And Java, who is a brown tiger, had grey clinging all over him. They have never fought like this before. I tried soothing them and I was able to inspect Java for damage, but couldn't find any. I couldn't get close to Jasmine, who is skittish at the best of times. Honestly I don't know why Java would want to tangle with Jasmine anyway. She will only let me corner her once or twice a year to clip her nails. And they are SHARP. His aren't dull by any means, but nothing like the lethal points she has. I usually leave them alone unless I start feeling the points on my person. So I was more worried about the damage she had done to him than he to her. Luckily none was found, and that seemed to be the end of the fight. Although I was worried about waking up in the middle of the night in the middle of two fighting cats since they both sleep with me. Jasmine finally let me give her a good rub when I got in bed and then she settled at the foot. At some point Java joined us, because I woke up with him snuggled up next to me. So this morning, everything seems to have been worked out between the two. I sure hope so, since I won't be home until Sunday night. So hopefully the house is still standing, when I get home.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Hot Cocoa Swap Scavenger Hunt

1. Who's favorite animal is an Otter? Anne K.
2. Name someone who prefers whipped cream with their hot cocoa - Cindy W.
3. Find 3 people who live outside of the United States - Ana Sofia F., Alex E., Bianca B.
4. Name a fan of Harry Potter - Devin H.
5. Name someone who crochets - Heather V.
6. Name someone who DOES NOT have a healthy supply of notions - Deanna K.
7. Name someone who has NOT put up their questionnaire yet (just put a date with your answer in case they put it up after seeing their name listed somewhere ;-) ) - Megan C.
8. Who likes to have Kahlua, Baileys, or Peppermint Schnapps in their cocoa? - ME, well OK I said Butterscotch Snapps, but I like all 3 of those others too.
9. Name someone who knits fingerless gloves as a 'quick knit' - Michelle J.
10.Name someone who's looking forward to gardening this spring. - Criquette
11.Who's favorite way to drink cocoa is with a gorgeous Frenchman, while overlooking the eiffel tower from a French Cafe? (I'm right there with you... well at the table next to yours!) - Kris L.
12.Name someone who's favorite animal is NOT a dog or house cat - Lyndsey-Jane C.
13. Name someone who's favorite treat is NOT chocolate - Jinxsa
14. Who plays Candyland? - Criquette
15. Name someone who DOESN'T get the winter blahs - Elizabeth F.

Owee! Owee! Owee! (Aka My Time to Whine)

I hurt! I tried an new exercise class last night at Pinnacle. It is the Bootcamp class, so I thought it would be similar to the B100 Bootcamp classes that I had been having. Well it was "similar", but more intense too. And due to the weather warm up, the place was steaming hot. And I mean HOT!. It must have been in the 80's or 90's in the building. I had to stop several times to try to cool down in the middle of an exercise. So glad I didn't forget my bottle of water. My thighs hurt the most, but the back of my arms ache too. We did A LOT of squats and at one point the instructor joked that "every time you sit down to pee tomorrow, you will remember me." Well just a word to her, they are not very fond memories at the moment. And the worse thing is that I always ache more 2 days after than the day after, so I know I will be even more sore tomorrow night.

Well, here is the latest update on my weight loss saga:
Lbs lost this week = 2.2
Total lbs. lost = 24
Percentage of weightloss = 9.74%
Total inches lost = 23 5/8

And now on to non-whiny matters. This weekend is my annual winter quilt retreat. Yeah! I can't wait to see everyone. I haven't figured out what projects to take with the exception of 1. I have a baby gift to finish. I would have finished it last weekend, except for that nasty flu episode. I volunteered for the Saturday Brunch meal and we will be having: Upside Pancake, a variation of the Egg Muffins from Giada, a Tropical Fruit pudding thing and fruit juice. Sounds yummy to me. I have to think over some good healthy snacks to take along, because there is always lots of snacks. I think I will do fine though. And I can always go back to my room and do crunches and squats Right!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Hot Cocoa Swap Questionaire

1. What is your favorite way to drink cocoa? Prepared with milk? Water? from home made recipe or store bought?, In a tea cup, or big mug? Well, I don't think I have a non-favorite way to drink cocoa. Whether it is at the coffee shop with friends or just bundled up at home in front of the TV. I love to drink hot cocoa out of a big mug, prepared with either milk or water but usually a little of both and occassionally spiked with butterscotch snapps (YUM). I've never tried a home made recipe, except for once when I tried cooking one of the mexican chocolates in hot milk on the stove. Normally I just stick with store bought. Flavored cocoas are good too, especially mint or mexican spice.

2. Marshmallows or whipped cream? Either/Or. I don't usually have them on hand though to use them. So I only get them when at a coffee shop.

1. What is your favorite type of yarn? In what colors? Wool or wool blend. I like jewel tone colors, fall colors, some brites depending on the mood I'm in. Blue, pink, purple, teal, rust, green, etc. I don't care for black or white though.

2. Do you knit or crochet (or both)? Knit only.

3. What are your favorite type of needles, would you like to try something new? I usually use the Susan Bates circular needles with the removable tips. I like circular much better than straight. I like bamboo sock needles over metal. But I wouldn't mind trying something new.

4. Do you have a healthy supply of notions? Yes.

5. What one thing do you keep thinking you need to buy for your knitting habit (outside of yarn)? Mainly just big stuff like a Yarn winder and swift.

6. What is your favorite 'quick knit/crochet' pattern (quick gratification) Socks or scarves or felted items.

1. What is your favorite thing to do in the Winter? Read, knit or sew

2. What is your favorite animal? Any that are cute and cuddly.

3. Do you get the 'winter blahs'? Yes

4. What is your favorite way to beat the blahs? Visit with friends as much as I can. I belong to several knitting and quilting groups. Also, I go on my annual winter quilt retreat.

5. What is the thing you are most looking forward to this spring? Light. I hate going to work in dark and coming home in the dark.

6. What are your favorite treat? Anything flavored with Black Licorice or Anise. And chocolate of course.

7. What is your favorite board game? Monoply, Sorry, Uno, Yahtzee

8. Do you have any children (furry or human)? 2 Cats

9. Do you have any allergies or special considerations you partner should know about? No Allergies. But I am trying to watch my weight, which I know doesn't necessarily go along with chocolate, but I have to have some vices right?

Been out sick

Well that nasty Flu Bug hit me last week. I felt terrible. Missed 2 days of work. Luckily I didn't get all the congestion, but the throwing up was just as bad. I think I'd rather have had the congestion any day over what I had.

But now I'm feeling better and am back in action.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

God has a sick sense of humor

You know the saying "Be careful what you wish for..." well I learned about it first hand this weekend. No it wasn't snow that I wished for, so it wasn't my fault Michiana got socked but good! It started Monday night about 9pm and by Tuesday night we had anywhere from 10-19 inches. I got 13. And it still snowed about another 2 inches overnight Tuesday. The forecast is for another 2-4 inches today. But then it should clear up until the weekend when the next front comes through.

But as I said THAT is not what I wished for. Actually it wasn't a wish at all, but an observation that was misconstrued as a wish. So here is what happened. I heard the neighbor snow blowing the sidewalk outside, so I got dressed and went out to start shoveling. I was kind of hoping he would take pity on me, seeing that I had to shovel, and snow blow my drive. Which he did and which I really really appreciated. So I shoveled the porch, around the car, and made a path for the mailman, which really didn't take as much time as I thought it would. So I made a snow angle, which was really fun. Haven't made one of those in YEARS. Can't imagine what the neighbor thought, because I know he saw me plop backwards into the snow, but hey it was really fun. As I stood there brushing myself off, I had this crazy thought that I wasn't tired out yet and could do with a bit more shoveling, because it's great exercise and I could use some. But since I all the areas around the drive, porch,and trash can were clear I just went in the house and made me some yummy (spiked) hot chocolate. So right here is where the misconstruing occurred. Because at 11pm last night I had to go out and shovel the driveway again. Only this time I had to shovel the WHOLE thing. So OK, I guess in a long about way, the extra snow really might have been my fault.

If yesterday had not been a long holiday weekend, I might have just said to 'hell with it' and took a half day off to shovel out. But the holiday pay policy at work is that you have to be there the day before and the day after in order to get paid. So since I couldn't afford to loose 2-days of pay, I shoveled last night. Just so you know, I wasn't the only one. Another of my neighbors was also out at 11pm shoveling his driveway too.