Friday, April 25, 2008


I've been saving this meme for a day when I don't have anything else to blog about. Today is that day. Actually, I need to get the camera out to take pictures of things that require photos for blogging. But until then, here we are. This meme came from Nichole and Melissa, thanks!

1. WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (Mother and Father's middle name): Ann Alan
2. NASCAR NAME: (first name of your mother's dad, father's dad): Verne Erling
3. STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first name): Oyedi
4. DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal): Green Leopard
5. SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born): Adele Mayfield
6. SUPERHERO NAME: (2nd fav color, fav drink, add "THE" to the beginning): The Red Latte
7. FLY NAME: (first 2 letters of 1st name, last 3 letters of your last name): Diyen
8. GANGSTA NAME: ( fav ice cream flavor, fav cookie): Mint Chocolate Chip Chocolate Chip
9. ROCK STAR NAME: (current pets name, current street name): Wiley Rio Vista
10. STRIPPER NAME: (name of your fav perfume/cologne, fav candy): Jasmine Butterfinger
11. PORN NAME: (1st pets name, street you grew up on): Licorice Dellwood

Let me just say that all of these names are awful. The only one that came out halfway decent was #3. Maybe y'all should vote on the worst of these names.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I guess I had it coming...

On Tuesday morning, as I was stuffing my knitting bag into the saddle bag (it's not really a "bag", but a "case" of hard, but thin, plastic with a metal frame) on my motorcycle, I heard a "snap". My first thought was that I broke the saddle bag or one of the screws holding it in place. This has happened before and can be fixed. But then I realized that I just might have actually snapped a small bamboo knitting needle. It was in fact the knitting needle that broke. And I can't fix a knitting needle so this was very upsetting. I wished it had been the saddle bag that snapped.

On Wednesday morning, after parking on campus, I noticed one of my saddle bags barely hanging on by a single screw. I'm lucky it didn't fall off on the road. I bungeed it back together to get home in the evening, but upon closer inspection discovered that the welding on the metal frame is what broke. I can't fix that, and it's not clear if anybody else can either because there is very little metal left to weld onto. So now I have a broken knitting needle and only one saddle bag on the motorcycle (yes, it looks dorky). Oddly, the saddle bag that was involved in the knitting needle accident is NOT the broken saddle bag.

This photo has nothing to do with yesterday. It's just the best picture I have of me on my bike. And it's from before I added the saddle bags.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Finally, I have a schedule for converting our water hungry ex-lawn into a xeriscape. Somehow, if I can write things down as a nice little list of things to do, then I can get it done. We've decided to replace most of the lawn area with low-water buffalo and blue grama grass. This will also involve some levelling of the yard, adding rock to the edge near the wall and planting lots more xeric plants.

As expected, the toughest part about this project is removing the existing (mostly dead) grass in order to put in the low-water grass. Even xeric plants require daily water when they are first put into the ground, which can revive the dead lawn. So here's the rather anti-intuitive grass replacement plan that has been recommended:

1) Water the yard daily until the grass greens and the weeds sprout. I started today and will continue this for the next 2 weeks.
2) Kill grass and weeds with Roundup (there are arguments for and against the environmental friendliness of this chemical) and wait a couple of weeks for roots and everything to decompose.
3) Rototill all the dead stuff under, and add compost.
4) Plant the new grass and water it.

The ironic part about this is that I was going to replace the grass two summers ago while I was unemployed. So we stopped watering the grass in order to kill it, but then it rained every day in July which completely re-greened the lawn. At that point it seemed like too much work to try to kill a thriving lawn. Now it turns out that I have to revive the grass anyway, because you can't kill dormant grass.

Spending this many hours doing yard work has never been my cup of tea. However, this year I haven't been rock climbing at all. So I decided that I'll finish the xeriscaping which will give me plenty of outdoors exercise instead of rock climbing this summer. It's also a good diversion from all the hours I spend sitting indoors. Once it's all done, I can enjoy my low-maintenance yard and do more exciting outdoors stuff.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Problem project

Our digital camera did a great job of capturing all that pretty orange/red sand in Sedona, Escalante, and Lake Powell last month... literally. I can't get the sand back out of the camera and the camera lens won't open and close properly, hence the camera won't take any more pictures. I have gotten my hands on a replacement camera, so here are some pictures of my latest problem, uhhh, project.

I'm working on my second felted purse. I found this pattern which reminded me of a purse I bought many years ago in Peru which was absolutely the perfect size for me. At some point, the Peruvian purse wore out, and I've been searching for the perfect purse ever since. As I've been knitting this new purse, I've been worried about the size since it looks huge (even given that it will shrink when felted) compare with the purse that I now carry which I think is already too big.
That didn't deter me from just going ahead and seeing how it turns out. Of course, I am also running out of yarn and I have at least 20 more rows to do. I don't think it'll make it, and I don't know when I'll be in Taos again to buy a matching skein.
Then, yesterday, I discovered this mis-alignment in the pattern. I'm not entirely sure how happened, or why I didn't notice until yesterday. It looks like the problem stems from how Ithis picked up stitches around the very bottom of the purse.

With 3 strikes against it, I'm tempted to pull the whole thing out and start over. Now I'm used to ripping out my projects several times before finishing, but somehow it seems tougher this time because I was so close to the end. On the bright side... the slower I knit, the fewer projects I can do and the less yarn I need to buy. Maybe I should just go back to cross-stitch.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Name that hike (part 2)

Nobody was able to guess where January's hike was. In that photo, I'm sitting on a hilltop in Maryland, looking down at Harper's Ferry, West Virginia below, and the mountains in the background on the left are in Virginia. You can tell by my leather jacket and running shoes that I wasn't really expecting to do much hiking on this trip. There was no room in the suitcase for proper boots and warm, breathable clothing.

I intended to share a hike a month, but amazingly, I did not hike in the whole month of February. I made up for that in March. So... name where this hike is:

Hey, it's even got a trail sign to give you a hint! However, you may not trust a trail sign that labels this an "easy" hike.

In an unrelated matter, somebody asked about what "fartlek" is (in my run training program). I asked the same question when I first downloaded that running schedule. It's Swedish for "speed play". It's a speed-training run, where the intervals are random (run as fast as you can to the next tree, then go slow to the next stop sign...). I have been doing my own speed intervals according to a more strict regimen on the treadmill where I'm forced to keep an exact pace. This keeps me entertained while I run on the treadmill which is inherently mind-numbingly dull. But I like my treadmill time because it's more fun than anything else I can do with my 90 minutes between classes twice a week. And I think keeping to that schedule of exercising during the day helped me lose 5 pounds in the past 5 weeks.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

My 4-legged running partner

I'm dedicating this post to Wiley because he is such a dedicated running partner. At 9 years old, he was putting on some belly fat and acting very lazy at home. During our 5-day backpacking trip a couple of weeks ago he started out full of energy, but by day 3 he was clearly sore. After the trip it took him two days to recuperate before he was excited to go for walks again. We only did about 6 miles/day on that backpacking trip which is far less than normal. So I was a bit concerned that my little running buddy was no longer up for the hiking and running he used to love so much.

Yesterday, as I was getting ready for a 5-mile run, Wiley would not let me leave the house without him. He knew I was going running and he demanded to be a part of it. I haven't been taking him with me for the past few months, but he seems rather invigorated and back to a lean, healthy weight since that backpacking trip. So, I took him on the 5-mile run and he did just fine. He wasn't sore later in the day either, so I guess my running buddy is back! Now if he'd just stop howling at hot-air balloons, I could take him running more often. Nothing ruins a beautiful, sunny morning with balloons in the air like a barking dog running along side.

By the way, my 10k training is going great. I even bumped up to the "advanced beginner" training schedule a few weeks ago (it was from, but they no longer have this schedule up). The Run for the Zoo is just a few weeks away. I'm on Week 4 of this schedule, but I do the longest runs on my own during the week.

Advanced Beginner 10k Training Program

Week Run/Walk 5 min/1 min Fartlek Long Run Run/Walk 3 min/1 min (optional)
1 4 mi 2 mi 3 mi 3 mi
2 5 mi 3 mi 4 mi 3 mi
3 6 mi 4 mi 5 mi Rest
4 5 mi 2 mi 6 mi 3 mi
5 4 mi 3 mi 5 mi 3 mi
6 3 mi 4 mi 6 mi 3 mi
7 4 mi 3 mi 4 mi 3 mi
8 3 mi 2 mi Race Rest

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Baby stuff

Congrats to my friends in Bakersfield who's baby girl was born on Sunday! She looks very peaceful in the photo I received which hopefully means that the transition from the womb to the outside world wasn't too rough. Above are the hat and booties that I made for her, but the hat is probably too small for an 8-lb baby. Here's the pattern for the booties For the hat, I just followed Katie's instructions, thanks!.