30 August 2010

Running a 5K

My list of projects is growing faster than I can complete anything. I have 3 knitting projects on needles, 5 stuffed animals in queue, an unopened can of paint for a dresser, a sweet but stubborn puppy, a half-finished sun dress, pillow forms with no covers yet, and many more ideas rattling around my head. So, what do I do? A rational person would complete some things before taking on anything else. Am I rational person? I like to think so, but my actions seem to prove differently. Instead of checking a few things off the list, I have decided to add one more thing to it, and it's a big one. Are you sitting down? Wait for it....


What!? Who am a I!? I'm certainly not a runner. I usually prefer biking to running, but I've been considering doing this for awhile. I've done the Couch to 5K program in the past, though never to completion. Now that I've paid the $30 registration fee though, I feel the need to get my money's worth. I have about 9 weeks now until the Tulsa Run. Even for a complete novice (ahem...yours truly), 9 weeks of training is long enough to at least complete a 5k. I'm not going for the gold or anything, but finishing sure would be an accomplishment. The last time I ran competitively was in Middle School track (10 years ago). It was a "Thrower's Relay." In short, this means the coaches put all of the people who don't do running events on a relay team together and make them run around a track. Who comes up with these things, seriously?

Anywho, the Tulsa Run is October 30, and today is my first official training day. Wish me luck!

23 August 2010

A monkey for my nephew

The first stuffed animal I ever knit was Mr. Dangly. I made him as a baby gift for my cousin's little boy. Later, when my cousin had a girl, a two-tone pink Mrs. Dangly was created. I was pleased with this monkey as my first knit animal.

I always enjoy the adorable outcome of knitting animals, but it can be a frustrating process. I really hate stitching seams. I wish everything I knit could just be made in one piece with no sewing afterward. Although, seaming is a small price to pay for the cute animals, I suppose.

Now that I have a nephew, I have ample opportunities for knitting animals. For his first birthday, I knit my nephew a Francis the Fish (must sign up for free membership to view pattern.) I made the fish from the same yarn as the original Mr. Dangly, and I paired it with the book Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister. Honestly, I think my brother-in-law may have been more excited about the fish than my nephew!

My most recent knit animal was another monkey, but a different pattern than my first. This new monkey was also a gift for my nephew. This is probably my cutest animal thus far. See "Little a" and his monkey below. The poor little guy wasn't feeling well, but I hope his new friend kept him company!

17 August 2010

Our little Oliver Twist

We have a puppy. We call him Oliver both because he was an orphan when he came into our lives and because he is a ruddy little troublemaker sometimes. I had always intended to get a dog after I graduated from college. I planned to rescue a shelter dog, since they are so plentiful, but fate had different plans. My grandfather was walking to his truck one day when he heard a terrible racket across the street. He saw a little puppy all alone in the cold. Being the pushover he is, my grandfather brought the puppy inside and inquired whether any of the neighbors knew where this puppy had come from. Returning home empty handed, my grandfather decided to let the puppy stay with him. After hearing this, I asked my grandfather if he could take care of the puppy until I was able to take him. Oliver did not get to stay inside too long though, because my grandfather did not like cleaning up after him. Oliver then went to live on the farm (literally, not figuratively). A few months before he came to live with me, he was allowed to come back into town, where my mom began working with him on housebreaking and basic training. Oliver now resides with my husband and I in our little home. It is a lot of fun having him around.

We think Oliver was born in late February, making him about 6 months old now. He's some sort of terrier mix, possibly predominately Cairn Terrier. He was a pretty goofy-adorable pup, but now his hair is less frizzy and his ears are less floppy. He's still cute, but not as silly looking. Overall, Oliver is a very good pup, but because of his terrier genes, he can be a little wild sometimes. He is especially rambunctious in the morning, when I am least interested in being as alert as he is.

I've been reading a lot about dog training. I am very interested in Cesar's Way. Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer, takes a very pragmatic approach to dog, or rather, people training. Cesar's Way is centered around understanding and using the dog's natural instincts and pack tendencies to the advantage of the trainer. It focuses on establishing oneself as the calm and assertive pack leader. It sounds very easy on the surface, but it's sometimes hard to implement when the dog is just so darn cute! Oliver and I are working on controlling his desire to jump all over the place and calming down his manic pulling while we walk. I'm also trying to expose him to as many different situations as possible. He's made two doggie friends, and has taken an interesting trip to Petco. He's a big chicken when it comes to meeting new people or dogs, so I want to continue to expose him to lots of new things so that he's not so unpleasant to guests.

I'm going to try to take some better pictures of Oliver, but despite his cuteness, he's actually a really terrible model. He's quite energetic, and since he is small, I have to get down on the floor to take any good shots. That's a mistake though, because once he sees me, he just wants to play or lick the camera. Perhaps I'll just have to tire him out first.

One last thought: If you ever have a dog, especially a puppy, get a Kong (the little red toy above). They're a little pricey as far as dog toys go, but they are completely worth it. This thing occupies Oliver for hours. It's especially great to give him when he's feeling bitey. I just put some peanut butter inside and stick it in his mouth and it distracts him from biting my fingers. It's a win-win situation.

08 August 2010

Old Ladies' Club

My coworker/friend, I will call her M, and I have started a new club. We tossed around several names at first: Zombie Apocalypse Preparedness, Self-Sufficiency Training, DIY Club, and several others. The one that stuck though, was Old Ladies' Club. Our goal in forming this club is to regain the skills of resourcefulness and self-reliance that have been lost somewhere in the past few generations. We want to learn those things that were just second nature to our grandmothers. Part of the goal of this is to take steps to Green our lifestyles, but we also want to explore new hobbies, make useful things, and eat delicious food! We have a running list on M's desk of all the things we hope to try out as a club. Hopefully we can expand to include more than just the two of us!
Old Ladies' Club had it's first official meeting two weeks ago. We met at M's house and began preparing 30 pounds of tomatoes for canning. M wanted to make tomato sauce and salsa and she was able to work out a good deal with a farmer at the Farmers' Market. What a mess! After a couple hours, M's kitchen was a disaster! But it was a fun and educational experience. Luckily, we weren't complete novices at canning. M took a class with the Oklahoma State University Extension and I have been around and marginally involved in canning with my mother and grandmothers. Even so, we had much to learn.
Lessons learned:
1. Blanching only takes 30 seconds not 5 minutes.
2. 30 pounds of tomatoes becomes a lot less after you peel them and remove the seeds.
3. Canning is a weekend job. It is too much work to do on a Tuesday evening.

For the second meeting of Old Ladies' Club, M came over to my house and my fiancé made us a lovely dinner of black bean soup, Spanish tortilla, and his famous cornbread. For dessert we had strawberry cake baked in little bunny shaped pans. It was so much fun! The goal of this meeting was for me to teach M how to knit. When I learned how to knit, my first project was a scarf. I don't recommend this. It takes a very long time for a beginner to finish a scarf, and it is easy to lose interest before the project is completed. I started M on a dishcloth using cotton yarn

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M was a very quick learner. She not only grasped the idea quickly, but she is able to recognize mistakes, even if she is not able to correct them herself. Recognizing mistakes is a very important skill. She'll finish this dishcloth in no time and be ready to move on to more interesting projects. Teaching M how to knit got me really excited about knitting again. It comes and goes in waves, but knitting is the hobby I have stuck with the longest and intended to keep doing regularly. I have 3 projects on needles right now, and several more in the queue.

Be sure to let me know if you have any suggestions of projects/skills for the Old Ladies' Club!