Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Year

A year ago, on August 24 to be exact, I went to the doctor because something seemed wrong in my abdomen. After many more appointments and a surgery, it was determined that I had a rather large, benign, uterine tumor which was removed. I bring this up today because very recently, I received and paid the final bill for this illness. Why did it take a full year to pay for this? It had nothing to do with me paying installments, I simply never received this bill until now. That's apparently how long it can take a hospital and an insurance company to muddle through all their paperwork. I'm glad I'm not an accountant for a hospital.

During this past year, I've managed to recover completely from the surgery. In yoga class yesterday, I discovered that I'm more flexible than the average UNM student that signs up for Intermediate Yoga. And I haven't had any problems running, even doing speedwork. It may be time to start rock climbing again.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Ravelympics is done

The Olympics is over, so Ravelympics is over. I finished knitting two items and received two medals. The first is a cabled scarf made from the aran yarn I bought in Ireland. I started this on the first day of the Olympics and had 1/4 of it done by the end of the day. It took 12 days to finish the other 3/4.

At that point, I was running low on time so I started the second project right away (on Aug 20). It took four days to knit up the purse. Then I felted it on Sunday. The knitting part is done, so I claimed my medal. But I still need to add the zipper and liner before I can really use the purse. Hopefully, I'll get that done tonight (I had to wait for it to dry).

Friday, August 22, 2008

More New Mexico

A couple more New Mexican things that I forgot to put in the last post:

While gardening last weekend, I looked up to see a roadrunner standing about 2 feet from me. He walked around the yard a bit before hopping over the adobe wall that separates us from the neighbors.

While driving to the local high school to run around their track, I saw a guy riding his horse down Arenal. Is horse feed cheaper than gas? You could say that this would only happen in the South Valley, but I've also seen goats crossing Central in the middle of downtown. They were accompanied by people, but I'm not sure if they were simply out for a walk or if there is some business downtown that a goat would want to visit.

And finally... allergies. It is a common myth that you can cure allergies by moving to the desert. Every year, this is proven incorrect. My "fall" allergies start in August and continue right through October. The over-the-counter drugs stopped working at the beginning of this week so I made an appointment to see a doctor. The earliest I could get an appointment is today. In the meantime, it's really been a waste of a week. I can't sleep... or stay awake. After an hour of work, I need a nap. My eyes and throat feel like they're on fire, and so I've stopped running. Hopefully, later today I'll be back to normal.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

New Mexico

I am feeling very New Mexican this week as I sit in my home-office smelling the pungent roasting of green chiles. At first, I thought this was left over from peeling green chiles last night. However, the smell of burnt chile skins is so strong and seems to be coming in from the window. It must be coming from Nelson's grocery a block away.

Some more New Mexico moments:
  • I had to talk to an overly friendly customer service person in a far away state recently. She asked about the weather, I told her it might rain. She said "I hope your day isn't ruined by any raindrops." I was blown away... my day would be ruined by NOT getting any drops! When clouds come in, we always get our hopes up and then we can see it raining a mile away and it may not hit our house.
  • I've spent this summer fighting with a yard where it is both impossible to grow anything and impossible to control the weeds. The most paradoxical fight has been against unwanted thirsty grass. We don't water it enough to have a nice lawn, but it invades the garden and rock areas. We'd like to put in drought-tolerant native grass, but the thirsty grass which looks pathetic will choke out the new grass.
  • We've been eating a lot of stuff grown in the backyard, including purslane which grows like a weed. I have neighbors that get arugula as a weed.
  • On Friday, when we wanted to get something to eat at 9pm, the only thing open in our neighborhood was a tacqueria where no English is spoken.

Friday, August 15, 2008


Chapter 3 of the Colorado trip: Wedding in Loveland. It seems I attend a wedding a year. This year it was time for Troy's college roommate to get married. Coincidentally the friend now teaches at the very same school they attended as undergrads. On Saturday morning, I got up early enough to do my running workout on a high school track in Denver, then got ready for the wedding and drove on up to Loveland.

Thanks to my knitting group, I was told that there is a great yarn shop in Loveland called Woolen Treasures that I just had to go to. Only problem: the shop is open 10am - 5pm on Saturday and not at all on Sunday. The wedding was at 10:30 am and the reception was scheduled to end at 5pm. Well, it turns out that the yarn shop was nearly across the street from the wedding, so I did find time to go to it.
Of course, I don't actually need any new yarn, but I wanted to see what was so cool about this shop. They really manage to pack a lot of fun yarn and inspiring sample projects in a cute little house. I got some half-price sock yarn. And then I searched for anything I could justify as "local" yarn. I found some gorgeous hand-painted stuff from Lonesome Stone. Most of the yarn cost far more than I could justify spending without a project in mind. So I got a reasonably-priced skein of mohair in this fiery colorway which they call Aztec Mountain. I have a couple of ideas for how to use it, and I'm eager to get started... but I have other things to finish first.
Oh yeah, the wedding was nice. There were plenty of friendly people there and it's good see a couple that knows not to get all stressed out over little wedding details. We also enjoyed the Sunday picnic by Loveland Lake.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Visiting Gramma

This is chapter 2 of the Colorado trip (see previous post). Gramma is actually my grandmother-in-law, but I have no other living grandparents so it should be clear to whom I am referring. After climbing Mt. Yale on Thursday, we continued the drive on into Denver to Gramma's house. At 91 years old, Gramma has limited activities that she can do. Her favorite is telling stories and talking. So I spend a lot of time sitting in the living room knitting and talking (listening, mostly).

On this trip, she made an odd comment about how she always sees me starting projects but never finishing them. It's odd because she sees me in the middle of projects... she almost never sees me "start" a new project, and she actually has seen some of the finished products. Anyway, it was Thursday evening... the night before the start of Ravelympics. Which of course meant that on Friday I would be starting a new project. Therefore on Thursday I was working on a sock that I knew I wouldn't finish before starting my Ravelympics scarf. So on Friday, for once, her comment was actually true.

On Friday, I took a badly needed rest day from running and hiking. By the end of the day, I had used up most of my first skein of Irish yarn on this scarf:

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Colorado mountains

I just got back from a 6-day trip to Colorado, which included hiking mountains, visiting Grandma and attending a wedding. I'll post in chapters. The first chapter is Mountains.

Why climb mountains? It's for the view, of course! Okay, that's a quick answer, and obviously it's not always true. The top photo shows the best view we got during a lot of steep hiking up Mt Yale. We still went all the way to the top to get the great family portrait below... that could have been on any old rock pile. Despite the clouds, the weather was pretty good for being 14,000 feet up. This was last Thursday.

On Monday, we did a quick hike up Mt Evans where Wiley enjoyed the view below. We actually started lower down than this parking lot. We hiked about a mile to reach the summit, although most people simply drive the whole way. Clearly, we didn't hike this one for the wilderness experience.

Finally, on Tuesday we got a great view and a mountain to ourselves. Getting to the top of Mt Columbia was a tough 4000-foot elevation gain in 5 miles (one way). This certainly isn't the toughest 14-er in Colorado, but it kicked my butt. Actually, I've done 16 of these 14,000+ peaks and all but two of them have kicked my butt (those two weren't easier, I was just in incredibly good shape that year). Even that short one mile hike up Mt Evans, required many breaks to catch my breath and convince myself that there was some reason to keep going.

I still can't explain what reason I find for pushing myself up these mountains. It's the same reason I train to run 10k's, knit challenging projects, and go to school for another degree.

(There are a few more photos from the trip on Flickr).

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The color, not the pants

A quick little meme before I head off to Colorado. I got this from SavingNine.

you are khaki

Your dominant hues are red and green, so you're definately not afraid to get in and stir things up. You have no time for most people's concerns, you'd rather analyze with your head than be held back by some random "gut feeling".

Your saturation level is lower than average - You don't stress out over things and don't understand people who do. Finishing projects may sometimes be a challenge, but you schedule time as you see fit and the important things all happen in the end, even if not everyone sees your grand master plan.

Your outlook on life is bright. You see good things in situations where others may not be able to, and it frustrates you to see them get down on everything.
the html color quiz

Monday, August 4, 2008


A few weeks back, I mentioned that basil is taking over my garden. Well, it still is, despite giving away several plants. I've made plenty of basil-based dishes over the past few weeks. Today I decided to pick as much basil as I could and make however much pesto that turned out to be. I managed to pick 4 cups of basil and 2 cups of parsley before giving up... there's at least 4 times as much basil still out there. With my little mini food processor, I can only turn one cup of basil (and all the other ingredients) into a batch of pesto at a time. Now I have a batch of regular basil pesto, spicy pest, sun-dried tomato pesto and garlic-artichoke pesto. The last one was experimental and it turned out rather creamy, more like a spread. Invite me over for a potluck, and you're likely to get a pesto dish!

I'll be heading up to Colorado later this week. The primary reason for the trip is a wedding on Saturday in Loveland. But then, we also have to visit Gramma in Denver and climb some mountains on the way. The plan is to drive to an as-yet-undetermined mountain in southern Colorado on Wednesday evening. Climb that mountain Thursday morning. Climb Mt Evans on Friday morning the continue on in to Denver. Attend wedding and related activities on Saturday and Sunday. Return to Denver and hang out there on Monday. Climb another mountain on Tuesday and head home. Somehow this long weekend turned into a week-long trip.

Neither the mountains nor Gramma's house are conducive to blogging... so it may be a while before the next post. Unless I find time to say something before I leave.

Friday, August 1, 2008


It's August 1, and that means that I can upload more photos to Flickr. So, here's the rest of the Ireland photos.

This is also a landmark post because I'm actually at home enjoying high speed internet... YAY, it's about time! No more need to cart the laptop around in search of bandwidth.

We have formed Team Albuquerque for the Ravelympics. This just means that a bunch of us knitters/crocheters have signed up to start a new project on the first day of the Olympics and finish by the last day (it's about 17 days). This sounded like a good challenge, but for me it also means that I'm trying really hard to finish my pair of socks before the Olympics start, so I can then work on the other projects.

Of course, I learned my lesson with those socks which came out too small. So, in preparation for my Ravelympics projects, I made test swatches. This first is using my Irish aran yarn, which will become a reversible cable scarf. Can't you just picture this yarn with cables? The gauge came out just right, so no adjustments needed. Now, I just need to learn to make cables, and buy the correct needles. I used my size 8 double points to make the swatch, because I don' have size 8 straight needles.

The next swatch is Magallanes hand-dyed yarn. It's variable-width and it could make a cool felted purse. Although I was getting tired of felted purses, they are quick to knit, so I'm hopefully going to produce a purse that I actually want to use. Getting the dimensions right is critical because I'm rather picky about purse sizes... must be big enough to carry the essentials, but no bigger. And it needs to have a zipper to keep it all in.