Friday, October 22, 2010

#90 - Casting off

There is now another woolen scarf in the world, and this one was made by my own hands. This was me for the past 10 months:

(Sometimes the smile was real, sometimes it was fake.)

I now know how to do plain and purl, cast on, cast off, and the rib stitch. My mom has a big basket of wool from the '80s and a stack of knitting needles tucked away in some cupboard somewhere which she's now given me to play with. I may try another scarf sometime just because I've gotten so used to having this project to pick up whenever I'm watching a movie or have nothing else going on. Sitting and knitting is always a good combination. Last night I finished the scarf during an epic marathon of the first season of Vampire Diaries here in Bashaw, Alberta. Why? Too long to explain.

The new scarf now belongs to Cornelia, who evidently enjoys wearing it with plaid. It's cold here in Alberta, so it seems to make sense.

What a great scarf model.

I can't remember why I wanted to learn to knit, to be honest. I don't think I ever had any intentions of learning to make my own clothes or anything. At least I've crossed another item off my list. Ten down, 90 to go.

Posts related to knitting:
(Dec. 28, 2009)

(Jan. 31, 2010)

(March 6, 2010)

(June 1, 2010)

(Sept. 16, 2010)

(Sept. 29, 2010)

(Oct. 15, 2010)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

5 km PR - 26:49

On Saturday I did the Abbotsford Run For Justice 5 km and got another personal record.

Wasn't going to do any more 5 km races, but this one had three things going for it:
1. location - start line was a three minute drive from my place
2. start time - 10 a.m. allows for a bacon 'n egg breaky with coffee without having to get up at the crack of morning
3. justice - no idea about the specifics but who wouldn't want to support something like that?

I've discovered a formula for running a good race:

Do the first half slower than you think you should,
so you can do the second half faster than you thought you could.

This actually works. And it sounds good.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Knitting breakthrough

I found this website that has a show called Threadheads, which has videos on its blog about how to knit that are really basic.

I'm almost finished the "world's ugliest scarf" -- according to some. I don't think it's THE ugliest scarf. Maybe in the top 10, but it's a nice colour, so that's something. It started off well, a nice rib stitch, but then devolved into a too-wide part where I screwed something up. Then it got too thin (something about tension) and then too wide again. Anyway, I managed to figure out what I was doing wrong with the rib stitch (you need to start with the same type of stitch every time you start a new row, not alternate types) and now it's looking okay near the end. I should be done within a day or two.

As frustrating as it can be (and as itchy as wool is so who's going to wear this thing?), I enjoyed working on it last night for the first time. It was strangely mesmerizing. I may (MAY) even be tempted to try another one. But the next one will be with size 11 knitting needles, not size 7, which are way too finicky.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Better than booze

I've come to the conlusion that running is like drinking. The experience starts off the same way: "Wow, this feels great. Why don't I do this more often?" Getting to the bottom of a bottle of Keith's makes me feel warm and fuzzy and makes all my troubles go away. Similarly, after the first 15 minutes of a nice jog through the forest on a crisp autumn day, I feel at ease and pretty pleased about my existence.

It's strange how both alcohol and exercise can bring about a kind of euphoria and a weird sense they both should be pursued on a more regular basis. But that's where the similarities end. Unlike a good run, pushing myself and then feeling full of life and possibilities afterwards as I stretch, the final result of downing more than two drinks (yes, I'm a lightweight) is more likely to make me want to wretch. Not fun. Doesn't make me feel better about myself. Sometimes even one glass of red wine is enough to make my pillow feel like a vice the next morning. Who doesn't want to erase the past 12 hours and do away with the pain? And who has ever regretted lacing up and going for a short lope around the neighbourhood? No one's ever woken up after jogging, stumbled over to the mirror to wince at his or her pasty, gaunt face and said, "Oh, man, that was stupid." It doesn't happen. It's not easy to push your workout too far. You can't black out and slide down the slippery slope of losing count while binging on the perfect poison of lactic acid. No one's ever heard a runner on the phone at work, holding her head in her hand, saying, "Damn, I should have just stopped after that eighth lap. I can't believe I did another four. I just couldn't help myself." Injuries aside, there's never a reason to not run as much as you want. There's never enough muscle pain to equal a bad hangover.

Of course beer is lovely and I'm not going to give up alcohol and start running twice a day. But it's funny (and maybe frustrating) that the things that really are a challenge, that don't feel easy and good all the way through, end up making us feel great when they're done. Nothing worth doing is easy. Anything worth doing is hard. Tension and balance and all that.