Tuesday, September 9, 2008

knitting for the monkey, part 1

so - v and i are at purl soho in nyc (knitter heaven pretty much) in june and talking to the girls that work there about random things such as my wish to knit the noro striped scarf (a la brooklyn tweed's too beautiful version). while they do not carry noro, they do carry alchemy migration, and they happened to have a sample scarf knit in this style out of this yarn, and i happened to think this would make a very beautiful scarf for the monkey and voila! turns out it's pretty cute :)

thank you purl soho girls for helping me choose the colour combo as it really rocks! i wasn't sure i was going to like all of the colorway combinations as i was knitting this but the end result is so pretty :) plus... the monkey loves it, which makes mommy so very happy. photo shoot of the scarf in action will have to wait for cooler weather.

as for the yarn, the colours are beautiful and it is super soft and squishy now that it is knit, however, i didn't particularly love knitting it as it doesn't have much 'stretch' and can be a bit splitty.

pattern: like brooklyn tweed's version of the noro striped scarf just... um... without the noro - 1x1 rib (49 stitches), 4 rows per 'stripe', slipping the first and last stitch on the return rows to make a lovely edge
yarn: alchemy migration (30% silk, 70% wool), colourway 1: cinnamon teal, colourway 2: purple martin
needles: 4.25mm (US size 6)

Monday, September 8, 2008

knitting update - ruffled jacket

it has been a while since i've blogged about knitting. since my last knitting post, i have amazingly enough finished all of the unfinished objects from that post! i guess that it is a good thing since that post was from APRIL!!!

now, i have a whole new list of unfinished objects :) the one i am currently swooning over is the ruffled jacket by james coviello in vogue knitting fall 2007. i wouldn't have looked twice at the pattern unless i had seen a few of the ravelry versions of this sweater: veronique's sweater is divine and kyrelee's is also delicious.

so, when i was in new york in june, dragging vincent around to visit yarnshops (yes, he is a dream - he not only visited with me, but fully engaged in the yarn shopping process AND carried the yarn purchases - i adore him), i picked up the yarn for this sweater at downtown yarns, which i think was my favorite yarn store in nyc if only for the wonderful lady behind the desk who helped me search through the piles of malabrigo for enough skeins of the colour i wanted :)

ah yes, the yarn. since i loved veronique's version of this sweater so much, i am completely following her knitting trails and knitting this in malabrigo pure merino worsted and am even using a similar red colour to hers - mine is called sealing wax (a lovely name for a colour, i think). i am loving the malabrigo (my first time knitting with this beautiful soft yarn) and am LOVING the cables on the back. i have a long way to go but the knitting feels luxurious and soft and with texture and i love the colour. swoon.*

* please remind me how much i love this sweater when i am doing the endless seaming that is coming up attaching the cable and ruffle around the edge of this jacket

bath time!

oh, how the monkey loves her bath time :) here, she is in her boat, rowing with her paddle, the back scrubber. those curls make me just want to eat her up.

and here, seriously studying the water dripping over the edge of the tub.

and here, with her favorite bath time hair, the 'mohawk' (looking suspiciously like hair from grease on this night), showing off for the camera.

Monday, April 14, 2008

my home is full of UFOs

UFO: unfinished object

i have a lot of them. for example...

my first pair of socks and my first 'lace' pattern. i love the yarn - the color and the softness (it is colinette jitterbug in colorway 'lagoon'). i love the pattern (monkey socks designed by cookie a, who designs beautiful socks and i want to knit ALL of them) it is SO much fun to knit. i've turned the heel and am heading toward the toe. seriously cool. who knew knitting socks would be so much fun. of course, the thing with socks is that there'll be a second one to finish after the first :)

my mom's clapotis shawl / scarf. i love this, too. very much. i love the silk / wool blend of the elsebeth lavold silky wool. the color is a rich reddish color. and the pattern - well, there's a reason it's one of the most popular knitting patterns on ravelry :) the clapotis pattern, designed by kate gilbert, is fun, and addicting. first time i've dropped stitches - at least, first time i've dropped them on purpose ;-) i am probably 65% done on this project and getting closer to the finish every day.

the 3/4 length bell sleeve shrug pattern by fickle fibre diva. i am knitting it in colinette point 5, colorway neptune. i have had this on the go for quite a long time and just can't seem to finish it (maybe because i keep starting other fun projects??!!) but at the same time i can't wait to wear it!

a baby sweater for my friend vicky's new beautiful baby boy. it is the five fruits sweater designed by amanda kerr (i can't find the link to the pattern unfortunately). this is my first baby project and my first completed sweater and it was fun. it is finished except for blocking, sewing in the ends, and putting the buttons in the neckline. i think finding the buttons would help speed me along to finishing this project. mmm.... button shopping!!

so, a lot of UFOs. i am not allowed to start anything new until i get at least one of these projects off the needles :) this desire to continually start new things is called 'startitis' in the knitters world. i seem to have it bad.

btw... while writing this post, i have been listening to johnny cash 'the legend of johnny cash'. i love his cover of 'one' by u2. what a beautiful song. i have also been smelling the glorious smell of my favorite tomato sauce in the world cooking in my kitchen. spaghetti and meatballs tomorrow night. yummy.

les traine-savates

the race: les traine - savates; cheseaux - sur - lausanne
date: saturday 12 april
distance: 10.4km
time: actual; 59 min 11 seconds (official; 59 min, 35 seconds)

it was my first race of the season last weekend. i had originally planned to run this race when i planned out my 'season' but i had planned to run it under different circumstance - specifically, with a lot more training under my belt!

between the knee problems and the achilles problems, i really haven't done much training at all this year. in fact, this race was the first time i've run 10km since 2007. i had for a moment thought that there was no reason to run the race but i am very glad that i did. there is something about the atmosphere of a race that is really wonderful - the festivity, being surrounded by the camaraderie of other runners, the extra motivation to push just a little bit harder. i *needed* to run this race.

the race itself did not actually go that well for me. a few poor nutrition choices leading up to the race (what was i thinking eating fish for lunch?!?) left me with some indigestion on the race course, and i started out a little too quickly which was fun for the first 3 km but not so much fun for the last 7km :)

the race was somewhat hilly and mostly trail running through wooded areas. it was very beautiful but this was somewhat difficult to concentrate on given the distraction of trying to avoid the massive puddles and mud pits on the trails - it has rained a lot here in the past week and this was evidenced on the race course! despite my best efforts to avoid the mud, my shoes (and legs, and backside) were covered in mud by the end of the race. (of course, the super swiss race planners had thought of the mud situation and outside the door of the building with the change rooms, there were bowls of soapy water and scrub brushes so that people could clean their shoes - the picture of my shoe above is after cleaning - it worked surprisingly well!) the mud and water on the paths was good in some respects though. while strategically planning my running path among the puddles, it took my mind off my pain ;-)

i was very happy to see the finish line looming on this race, and sprinted the last 500m of the race. i maybe pushed a little too hard as i was pretty sure i was going to upchuck the questionable fish choice after the race. i haven't felt that bad after a race since high school (remember that race at provincials, mom?) in the end, i was able to keep all my cookies and eventually bask in that post-race euphoria. it was wonderful. plus, i had set myself a goal at the beginning of the race of running it in less than an hour and i was very happy to achieve this!

if you are so inclined, my results are here. i am number 156.

the monkey was not there to watch the race but was very excited by the idea of it when i told her about it afterward. she wants to run 'just like mommy' and proceeded to run run run to show me. she is fast, too - it won't be long before i'm asking her to wait up for me!

there are, of course, children's races at these events, and i was curious to see what ages the children start to race at. at this race, the youngest category was 'under 9' and it was a distance of 1.7km. of course, there were lots of 7 and 8 year olds in this category but amazingly, there was also a 3 year old!!! look at number 88 here - born in 2005. incredible!! maybe the monkey will get her wish next year and get to run her first race :)

by the way, the 9 year old that ran that race ran it at a pace of 3:41 per km, and i ran my race at a pace of 5:43. totally kicked my butt.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

happy easter

it is days like today that i really miss being closer to family. i miss being together with v, my parents and my brothers and their families - especially during the holidays. next year...

for the first time ever, the monkey and i decorated an easter tree. simple, just some budding branches with a few butterflies and dragonflies hanging from it, but it was fun and it is a beautiful reminder of the spring which is on its way!

the monkey is now at an age (nearly 3) where hunting for easter eggs is fun... bordering on frustrating when she doesn't find one, but overall fun. she loves the chocolate, of course, but the little giggle and look of surprise when she actually uncovers an egg, shows me that there's more to it than just yummy chocolate. she was hiding and 'refinding' eggs all morning.

this morning, we made some egg nests to give to our neighbours as a little easter gift. they are fun and cute and are actually very yummy even though it is really hard to bite into the cuteness of them (one had to be a taste test, right?!)

i got the idea for little egg nests from a blog that made meringue nests cradling little easter eggs (i'm sorry i can't remember which blog). considering my lack of skill in making meringue (i think i don't have the patience for it), i decided that 'haystacks' were more my style, and they do look adorable with these brightly covered eggs! i was hoping to use my mom's haystacks recipe that i grew up with (childhood memories with those!) but wasn't able to get a hold of the recipe in time, so used this one off of allrecipes, minus the peanuts. a hit to be sure, but not a good as my mom's :)

this year, i wanted to make the monkey a doll as an easter gift. i decided this quite a long time ago, and had found the doll i wanted to make for her - olive from the wee wonderfuls 'make-a-long story' (if you go to this website and see the little make-a-long story you will smile and smile and smile at the cuteness of it - at least i did and still do). of course, being me, i left the actual making of the doll until the night before.

i think she's rather beautiful, actually. blond hair and blue eyes just like the monkey. plus, she was SO much fun to make. i smiled all evening at the cuteness of the creation - well, almost all evening - there was the moment of attaching the bottom of the body to the dress and legs where the smile made for way for something less *ahem* lady-like. but in the end, i finished the little sweetheart and she was ready and waiting for the monkey this morning.

now i can't stop. i have already started doll number 2.

lastly, one of my favorite images of the day - the monkey completely enjoying her easter chocolate - you can see the first bite was of the ear, bite number two which followed shortly after this picture was the chicken's head.

two things the monkey said today that made my heart warm:

1. 'mommy have some chocolate, too?' as she holds out her chocolate to share with me - she has such a beautiful generosity within her.

2. 'is it my birthday?' this came this afternoon - she had clearly been thinking about it since the morning when she opened her easter presents (she had some presents from grandma and grandpa, nanny, me, and a friend from her dayhome). it is beautiful how she tries to reconcile the idea of receiving presents to something that is familiar to her.

she takes my breath away.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

to warm hands and my first frog

i often have cold hands. at work, at home, in general. i have tried to solve this by wearing gloves but there are a lot of things you can't do while wearing gloves - like typing on a keyboard - which i've tried many times at work and reluctantly decided that cold hands were better than one finger typing. this is why the idea of fingerless gloves excites me. my hands can be warm and i can still use my fingers? genius!

i don't know why i hadn't thought of it before and just bought some, but for some reason it didn't click until i saw this knitting pattern - 'fetching' - and i knew i had to learn to knit well enough to make them :) i know that most every knitter in the world has probably made these already but i hadn't and a lot of this was new to me... first ever cables, first ever gloves (even if there are no fingers they still intimidated me!)

so... i tried it out - i found some lovely turquoise-y yarn, figured out my gauge and cast on. turns out the cables were really fun, and i enjoyed the project immensely until i bound off and tried on the glove. this is what it looked like:

now, it's not awful, and the cables are really very pretty (i am still ridiculously proud of them), but overall, it just didn't work for me. the biggest problem was that the yarn was just too fine, so the glove was too thin, too small, and the shape didn't hold up very well (you can see it pulling all over and the top bind off is painful to look at).

i wasn't quite sure what to do. i knew i wouldn't wear it but i wasn't quite ready to *gasp* frog it. i've never undone anything i've knit before - the effort to get it to the point of existence has always been too high to even consider it. plus, with this one, the cables were so pretty, and they were my first ones!!

what i ended up doing was falling in love with another fingerless glove pattern: 'evangeline'. i decided to knit double stranded, got myself close to gauge, and cast on. immediately, it felt better. they were thicker, they held their shape better. in progress:

at this point, i am already in love. new, pretty cables start to emerge and i start to feel like i might be able to frog my fetching. but i don't, not yet.

i had to finish and make sure that this would turn out ok. not sure why - if it didn't turn out, what would i do? have two unhappy, unmatched gloves?

in any case, evangeline did not disappoint. i bound off glove #1 this morning and am oh so happy. i love it! it is pretty, the cables look like real cables, it fits, it feels nice, minimal weird pulling - yay!

as i type, i have one warm hand, and can't wait to finish this post so that i can cast on for glove #2... and frog fetching. what seemed so wrong before now seems necessary. sometimes you need to start over to get to a happy place. i do love my evangeline.

Monday, February 11, 2008

i shouldn't have

my achilles was feeling good.
i ran yesterday.
felt great... for the first 1.5km.
then... not so great.
thought it might be in my head.
turns out it's not.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

fabric fantastic!

a while ago i received this wonderfully fantastic fabric filled package in the mail. it was beautifully packaged by the people at sew, mama, sew (i love them! check out their blog and their store! - feb 08 is quilting month and they are featuring some beautiful and inspiring quilts)

i love me some beautiful fabric and i'm sure others do, too, so i have to share this deliciousness: what colours, what prettiness, what fun!! i can hardly wait to start using them, but for now they are stacked in my bedroom so that my eyes can feast on them whenever i want. seeing these beautiful fabrics in the morning sunlight puts a big smile on my face as i get ready for work... i could just leave them in a pile for months and be perfectly happy... but i am itching to start sewing so i may have to dig into my pile of loveliness :)

tastes good mommy

so this is the BEST spaghetti and meatballs recipe i have ever tasted. it is a regular at our place but this is the first time the monkey has really gotten into eating it :) as you can see, she really enjoyed herself tonight!

i wish i could say that i somehow mixed a little of this and a little of that and came up with this amazing delicacy, but all credit must be given to the 'italian spaghetti sauce with meatballs' recipe on allrecipes.com (which, by the way, is such a great resource for cooking inspiration).

oh my... it is G.O.O.D. the secret is in the oil and the amount of time you cook the sauce. if you are going to try this (and you should!), do not skimp on either one :) the meatballs are really tasty, too. i have been eating this for 4 days straight, and while my lack of freezer space has something to do with this, i also really really really like it.

race planning!!

ok, i'm starting to get excited :) afore mentioned achilles injury seems to be healing swimmingly (ha ha) and i've started planning my race schedule for the year and set my finishing goals. this is highly inspiring to me - i love having a goal to work towards :)

so... my race schedule for 2008! key races for the year are in bold.

1. 12 april - les traine-savates, cheseaux-sur-lausanne - 10.4km

this will be my first time running this race. it looks pretty lovely - through the vineyards and countryside north of lausanne. a good first race of the season and a good practice leading up to my key goal race (see number 2).

2. 26 april - 20km de lausanne - 10km

i know it's called the 20km race but i am running the 10km version :) i would like to try the the 20km version, but it has a pretty steep climb in it and my knees would seriously have issue with that! i have run this 10km race a few times - last year with v! it has a fun atmosphere and i am hoping to reach my goal of a 50 min 10km here!

3. 1 june - frauenlauf - bern - 10km

another first time race for me and it's just for fun. my first all women's race!

4. 29 june - triathlon vallée de joux - sprint-ish distance

this looks like a beautiful triathlon up in the jura that i was planning to do last year but just didn't make it to. will be a wonderful warm up for the 'big one' (see number 5).

5. 12 july - zuri triathlon - olympic distance

my key triathlon for 2008. i have done this triathlon twice before (once at a medium distance and once at olympic distance). actually, mom was there when i did it the first time!! it is a very well run triathlon and is followed by the very inspiring ironman zurich the next day. this is the triathlon where i have set my triathlon goal to break 3 hours. this is a very challenging goal for me - in order for me to be successful, i will need to seriously improve on both my swimming and cycling :) the first step towards reaching an ambitious goal is setting it, i say!!

6. 13 september - triathlon d'aubonne - olympic-ish distance

i did this triathlon 2 years ago and the bike just about killed me :) i'm hoping it will be better this year as i'm getting slightly less pathetic at riding in the mountains...

7. 20 september - run to run carouge - 10km

ok, yes, 10km is my favorite distance to run :) i've run this race twice before, and i got SO close to cracking 50 min both times i'm positive that this year will be a sure thing...

8. 5 october - morat-fribourg - 17km

this one may have to fall by the wayside in lieu of marathon training but we'll see :) i've never done it before and with this being my last year in switzerland, i'm going to try to run this swiss classic.

9. 26 october - lausanne marathon - 42.2km

my first one. it is an out and back course i know pretty well as i've run the half marathon on this course 3 times before (the 'back' portion of the marathon). what scares me is that every time i've finished this half-marathon, my first thought is always - 'i can't imagine turning around and doing that again'. well... i'm gonna do it this year, if i can stay injury free :) i haven't decided if i want to try to do it in 4 hours or if i just want to set finishing as my goal.

also, the first half of this is to be run as part of the phedippidations world wide half marathon. read about it. it's cool. i'll write more about this wonderful event another time, i'm sure.

10. 6 december - course de l'escalade - 4.8km

this was my first official pure running race way back when and it is a hard one to describe. exciting, challenging, so much fun. i finished in just over 24 min last year and am hoping that lining up closer to the front (be on time, christine, be on time!) will help me to break my goal of 23 min this year. yay! i'm excited already :)

so there we go. that's the list. as i write it out, i'm thinking i might be a little overextended leading up the marathon and may have to rethink that.

here's to running, racing, and enjoying life :) now, who's running these races with me???

Sunday, January 27, 2008

my belly

so here's the thing. i love triathlon. it's king of a funny thing, really. i am not 'good' at them in the sense that i am normally at the back of the pack when i get to the finish line, i inevitably question my sanity at the beginning of any run section of any triathlon that i've ever done, and it takes a lot of my free time to train so that i can complete one without passing out.

but... i get immense personal satisfaction when i do complete one. when i set the goal (registering to run a triathlon is a rush in and of itself), train for months, feel the blur of excitement on race day, dip my toes in the water before the start, and then push on and push on and push on to the finish line - sometimes strong (those are the ones to remember!), sometimes thinking about how my feet feel like lead weights, but always with this overwhelming feeling of accomplishment. of completing a physical challenge, of showing myself some of what this body is capable of. it is a pure and simple joy. and i really really love it.

plus, you know, the training helps me not weigh 300 pounds.

which brings me to where i am right now. no, not 300 pounds. but i am a little bit heavier than i was a few months ago. add up christmas (i am a sucker for stuffing), a trip to canada (i overdose on all the bad food you can get in NA while i am there - an unfortunate side effect) and a training lapse (christmas busy-ness, a sore knee, and general laziness - training would have gotten in the way of my eating!), and it's amazing how fast you can put on the pounds.

oh well. january is supposed to be diet month, right???

i lost about 25 pounds about 4 years ago after being a little overweight for about 10 years before that. i finally sucked it up and just ate less - exercise was never the problem for me - i've always excercised, it was the food intake that got me. i have been good with not gaining back the weight (well, there was a little spike there when i had a baby in my belly!!!) - when i'm training for a triathlon, half-marathon, etc... and eating reasonably, the weight maintains itself.

only problem is... i haven't been training much (yeah, see above). on the one run i did do when i was in canada over christmas, my knee started hurting. my own fault really, it was a cold day and i was definately not dressed for the weather (v - you were so right - i needed another layer - or 2!!) i had a knee injury last year that seriously hampered my running and so i'm completely paranoid about injuring it again, and so i didn't run again until i got back to switzerland a couple weeks later. my knee was fine during my first run, but then started hurting during the next run and so i adjusted my running form so that my knee didn't hurt. i should know better!!!

i now have an achilles tendon injury, which means (according to my internet search self diagnosis) no weight-bearing activities. theoretically, this means no walking, but it is not injured so badly that it hurts to walk, only if i try to run. so... no running for me. i'm not sure how long but probably a few more weeks. this makes me sad. there is nothing like running for me when i need to clear my head, lighten my mood, calm my mommy nerves.

so when i can't run, it's a bit of a triple whammy for me - i don't get to train for my road races / triathlon, i don't have my go-to coping mechanism, and to top it all off, i tend to gain weight.

this is a long story to say... in order to reverse the gaining weight thing, i've been having to bite the bullet and just eat less :) never fun, but i think it will be effective.

plus... it is maybe a sign that i'm supposed to be swimming more. so, tonight i hit the pool, and it was fun. it really was fun. i did mostly drills - working on my total immersion technique so that some day when i do triathlons i will need to worry about getting kicked and jostling for position within the pack of swimmers rather than needing to worry about them closing the swim course before i finish it! v and i took a total immersion weekend course together when he was here in november, and i have not been diligent enough in putting into practice what we learned. thankfully, it seems like i still remember some of what we were taught by martina in the english ghetto (long story for another time).

plus... knitting seems to be taking on the coping mechanism role. it's also fun and challenging and lets me think or not think depending on what's needed. it will never replace running, though - knitting doesn't burn quite enough calories to allow me to eat quite as much chocolate as i'd like :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

inspiration and popcorn

how much do i want to see this movie?!?
spirit of the marathon

no sign of a release in switzerland as of yet. what are the chances that they will bring it to the nyon film festival.

pass the popcorn please.

there's a pig on that cow's belly!

allison. the monkey. she cracks me up. last night we were reading this book: 'la ferme'. the book has pictures of lovely little farm animals with a short phrase helping to identify the animals. allison likes this book a lot and even more now that she associates the farm with grandma and grandpa.

one of these animals in this book is "le cochon" with the phrase "qui est tout rose?" in our house, this question is always followed by much giggling and snorting (snorting like a pig as opposed to gratuitous snorting) as we discover that it is 'the pig' that is 'all pink'.

last night, however, the pig became infamous. when we were on the page of 'la vache', we saw a lovely picture of a black and white spotted cow with a bright pink udder. allison became very excited and said 'look mommy - there's a pig on that cow's belly!'

oh my. how she makes me laugh.

the pull of the blog

i do not consider myself to be a writer - and yet - i feel this pull to blog. to somehow document some of the wonderful snippets of my life that i don't want to forget. precious moments with allison, fun projects i am working on, the beauty i see in this world. today i finally decided that there is no use putting it off any longer (kind of a big thing for me, actually, as i am the queen of procrastination). it is time to start, and so i have :)