Monday, January 31, 2011

Knit One, Purl Never

I am convinced that there is a gene that make one crafty. I know this because I was born without one. I don't know how it happened - I come from crafty stock. My maternal grandmother was very good a needlepoint. She was so talented, in fact, that I have several of her pieces framed in my house now. My mother was also crafty. She wasn't as persistent in her practice as my grandmother, but my mom could make beautiful needlepoints and crochet afghans if she wanted to do it. You guessed it - I have several of her pillow and an afghan at my house.

I started off OK. When I was a kid, I used to love to needlepoint. I had several of the kid's kits with the huge plastic needle. I loved them and would finish one after another. I even did latch hook rugs. Soon, other things took precedent and I stopped my crafts.

Around the time of college, I noticed the girls around me were pretty talented. Everyone seems to be doing cross stitch. I figure I could pick it up easily. I bought a kit at Michael's and started my little project. I even got a basic kit - the pattern was pre-printed on the cloth. All I had to do was follow the color chart and I would have a cute little picture of bears in a bath tub. Well, I got about halfway through it and never touched it again.

So, a few years after that debacle, I thought maybe the project was just not important enough to me. I decided I wanted to cross stitch a Christmas stocking for my then boyfriend. After all, my grandmother had needlepointed stockings for each of her 3 granddaughters and made stockings for 7 other members of the family. I never even opened the kit bag.

I thought maybe the project was just too big. So, back to Michael's I went to buy a small ornament to cross stitch. I sold that kit at a garage sale about 2 years ago - unopened, of course.

Maybe I needed something other than a cross stitch. I bought a cute little box for Halloween when you just sew the bead on the top of the box to make a ghost. Two rows done. I think I still have it in a closet somewhere.

Perhaps I needed to move out of needlecrafts. I tried jewelry making. I have made all sort of necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and even two rings. They are all in my jewelry box, but will likely never see the light of day. It looks as if a small child with poor motor skills made them. The jewelry making supplies were slowly sold off in the garage sales. I also painted. I finished two of the four class projects and they are not so bad. Of course, the final project was never completed and was thrown in the garbage can at the conclusion of class.

Despite knowing all of this information about myself, I agreed to take a knitting class with my friend a few years ago. Lisa is a craft person. I found out after we started class that she was accomplished as a crochet crafter, but wanted to learn knitting. It took me all 6 weeks to do a straight stitch scarf for myself. Lisa had made a scarf with tassels for herself, then knitted a multi color scarf for her husband. She was planning her next project, a knitted top, by the end of class. I didn't even learn to purl.

Well, I decided to pick up the knitting needles again about 6 weeks ago despite my past history. I still had the yarn that my husband picked out for a scarf I said I would knit for him. So, I called on my good friend Michelle, who is a master crafter, to help me remember how to knit. She invited me to a knitting group and I was off to a promising start. I told myself that I would work on the scarf at least a little each day, even if it was just two rows. I have picked it up about 3 times since then. The thing is that I can't knit while watching TV. I have to focus 100% of my attention on the knitting. Since I am not used to doing it, it also makes my fingers hurt (I think I hold the yarn too tight - I don't know). After years of waiting, hubby's scarf is about 6 inches long.

Perhaps this blog will inspire me to find my crafty side so I can finish the scarf. Or perhaps it will sit in the bag for another 6 or so years until I try again.

Decision Made - Fitness is worth it

Well, I decided I have too much more to learn at CrossFit to give it up now. I really, really like the strength I am feeling from my workouts and I love my CF friends. I am going to cut back slightly from 4 times a week to 3, but I think I will still reap the benefits. I have never done any form of strength training, so I know this decision will have many long term benefits. I think, ultimately, it will also help my triathlon training.

I may have to reconsider in the summer when tri training really ramps up, but for now - I am still a CrossFitter.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Great Contest Follow Up

I recently mentioned a great contest from the blog at Killer Fiction. Well, I didn't win the Kindle, but I did win one of the daily drawings. I received a $25.00 gift card from from author Christie Craig as well as a copy of one of her books. Winning contests is cool.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Price of Fitness

I have a dilemma. I have never really been into fitness. A few years back, my husband suggested that I join a women's running group that was for women who had never really run. I was skeptical, but decided to join it anyway. Now, nearly 5 years later, I have run a marathon and am a triathlete. I was training in the regular triathlon sports-swimming, biking, and running, but not doing any sort of strength workouts. So, my wonderful hubby had another great suggestion - join CrossFit.

He had been doing CrossFit for a while at that point. He really liked the feel of the gym and the killer workouts. I had been to the gym during an open house, and I frankly thought those folks at CrossFit were crazy. Hubby knew there was a way to try CrossFit without being a full member - going to one of the bootcamps. I hated the bootcamp at first (I mean, it was hard!), but then I really started liking it. I completed 2 1/2 camps (I was injured about a third of the way through the first one), and met a great group of friends. When the latest camp ended in December, my friends and workout group decided to be real Crossfitters. I debated for a long time, but decided to join them.

We had our first Foundations class on January 4. There are several classes that you must take to learn the various power lifting techniques used in CrossFit. After the first class, you are allowed to take any of the regular CrossFit workouts. My group and I took our first regular class on January 10 when the new 7:15am time became available.

Here's the dilemma part. The 7:15 bootcamp was always finished by 8:00am, but the regular class will be one hour. That means I hit more traffic on the way home and have 15 less minutes to get ready for work which starts at 9:00am. It is very difficult to get to work. My boss is OK with me being just a little late, but I worry that it is being noticed by my colleagues. So, do I continue with CrossFit or not?

1. It is a strength workout that I don't get
2. I have a strong bond with my group - they encourage me during the workouts and to go to the workouts
3. It is hard and continues to push me to do better
4. It is a different workout every day
5. The coaches are wonderful

1. It is difficult to get to work on time
2. It is expensive
3. I already pay to belong to another gym. They have morning classes that I could take that would have a strength element, but would not be the same as CrossFit.
4. I would miss my friends
5. It is not really triathlon training.

What's a girl to do?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Great Contest

Killer Fiction is running a great contest right now. I am mentioning it here because I would love to win a Kindle. My dad and his wife gave each other Kindles for Christmas, and I am a bit jealous. I would love to have one. It would be great to get books instantly.

Do you have an e-reader? What do you think of it?

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Great Expectations for 2011

2011 is the year I will turn 40. It's funny. I remember as a young teen thinking the year 2000 was so far away, and I would be 28 then. It seemed so strange. I never really though further out than 2000, but here we are 11 years later. I guess the good thing is that I don't feel like I am almost 40 years old. I still feel like a 28 year old.

So, to celebrate this milestone, I have decided to participate in the hardest, longest triathlon race of my life on the last day of my 39th year. I will be racing in the Beach 2 Battleship Half Iron Distance Triathlon. The race will be a 1.2 mile ocean swim, a 56 mile bike ride, and a 13.1 mile run. All of these events must be completed within 9 hours. Luckily, I have about 9 more months to prepare for the race.

I was inspired to do this event after watching our group of tri friends finish it this past November. I trained with most of them during their preparations. I may not have trained for as long or as hard, but I was there. I felt that I wasn't ready to move on to the longer distance - that it was just too much for me to accomplish. I began to change my mind while sitting out and being the team photographer during the 2010 race. I kept thinking to myself that I should be out there with them. I may not be as fast as any of them, but I still have the ability to complete the race. So, on the day registration opened for 2011, I was ready.

It will be a challenge, but I think (hope) it will be a attainable goal. There is a lot of work ahead, but I feel that I will conquer 70.3 miles on October 29.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Best of 2010

So, I know I probably should have written this post during the last week of December, but I have been busy. Sue me.

Hubby and I are big movie fans. Our normal routine seems to be to watch the new discs that arrived from Netflix each week over Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. Of course, we may have other things to do those evenings, but we do seem to watch a ton of movies. Provided I have not seen every movie that came out in 2010, here are a few of my favorites:
Inception-Unique, thought provoking, and full of action
Toy Story 3-Made me long to play with my Barbies and remember the beauty of childhood
Easy A-Smart, funny, made me want Patricia Clarkson & Stanley Tucci for my parents
Black Swan-Beautiful, fragile, absolutely insane

We do watch TV, and really like our DVR. I have to say though, there are not many new shows that debuted in 2010 that have made me a loyal viewer. We have watched No Ordinary Family and Raising Hope, but I have to say I wouldn't be terribly disappointed if they were gone. I am much more impressed by the shows that are still going strong in their second seasons:
Modern Family-this crazy family makes me laugh every week
The Good Wife-passion, drama, and law with the amazing Julianna Margulies
The Vampire Diaries-tense, sexy, always twisting plot of vampire goodness
Being Human-what's not to love about about a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost living together as roommates?

One exception - FX's Archer. This cartoon about an inept spy agency is definitely for adults. It make us laugh out loud every episode with its outrageousness. Look for Season 2 to start January 27.

Hubby is definitely a classic rock guy, and I guess I enjoy a strange mash up of music that is not necessarily current, but not really classic either. We did see some kick butt shows this year:
Steve Winwood-we had never seem a harpsichord in action
Eric Clapton with Roger Daltrey-Hubby says Slow Hand was the best concert he'd ever seen
Pat Benatar and REO Speedwagon-Double trouble from the 80's under the stars at Koka Booth Amphitheater
Joe Bonamassa-The best young Blues guitarist around - it was our 3rd time seeing him
Mollybond-our neighbor and her 6 bandmates making amazing music. Each woman writes and performs lead vocals on their own songs
Daniel Tosh-the handsome comedian has great sense of humor. Check out Tosh.0 on Comedy Central starting January 11.

The Netherlands and Belgium-the best vacation we have taken to date. The beer was intense!
Asheville-our first trip with the dogs. It didn't go as expected, but we will try again.
Wilmington, NC-our first real visit to this great seaside city that hosts NC's only Iron distance triathlon
Charleston/Kiawah Island-One can never be tired of Charleston. We have been over and over and I will always want to go back. This trip included a new destination - Kiawah Island.

This year was full of races for us. We each completed our first international distance triathlon (1500m swim, 45K bike, 10k run) in White Lake, NC, with our group of tri friends. Hubby went on to complete his first Half Iron distance (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run) race in Wilmington, while I finished an additional 6 triathlons at the sprint distance. We both completed the Kiawah Island half marathon as well.

What a great year 2010 was!! What was your best of 2010?