Notes on Camp

It’s time to let you all in on a little secret.

Those last two posts were written on Wednesday and scheduled to go up on Thursday and Friday. Why? Because my vacation wasn’t all hanging around the house this last week. K and Little Miss and I piled into the family hybrid on Thursday and drove up to Family Camp in the Internet-less (at least, for those of us without Data Plans) wilds of the Sierras.

I had planned to post some lovely photos, but my plans were thwarted by our wifi gateway, which seems to have finally bitten the dust.  To tide you over, a few notes:

1. Running on a hilly trail at 3600 feet is different from running on a flat stretch of pavement at 500 feet. Really, really different.

2. Camping is ever so much nicer when there are flush toilets available.

3. Even slightly complicated lace patterns will be too much to handle while simultaneously chatting with other campers. Stick to stockinette.

4. Never underestimate the entertainment value of a deck of cards. Or, if one of your party happens to be a toddler, the entertainment value of a bowl, a stick, and a really big patch of sand.

Well, That Didn’t Go Well

It’s possible that the Universe was trying to tell me that going to the Group Run was a bad idea.

It started with me being unable to find the freeway on-ramp. I forgot that the nearby ramp was closed and that the detour instructions make no sense at all. Then, I made it onto the freeway, which was completely packed with cars. After taking 40 minutes to make a 20-minute trip, I found the store, which was surrounded by residential streets with strict permit-only parking and a few 2-hour meters.  Guess who had no quarters in the car?  I dashed into a drug store to change my $5 bill for some ones and some quarters.

I made it into the store a few minutes before the scheduled beginning of the run. I just had time to sign in before we all headed out the door.

I knew I was in trouble in the first few blocks, really. The web site said all abilities were welcome, and the pace ranged from 7 to 14 minutes per mile. By the end of the first half-mile, they were at least a block ahead of me, and I lost them all a turn or two after that. They had distributed a cheat sheet with the route written out on it, which probably would have been more useful if I knew the neighborhood. At some point, I took a short cut, going straight on instead of turning left for another loop of side streets, and was about half a block from the store when the first member of the group came flying by me. So, at least I got to stretch out with the group. But, you know, I can run three miles by myself without driving half an hour each way first.

I’ll probably give it another shot, though. I’d like to get there a little earlier next time and get a chance to meet some of the people. And now I know I need to bring some quarters.

Three Things Thursday

1. Our tomatoes are starting to grow, and we’re wondering if fried green tomatoes really are tasty. Anybody got a good recipe?

2. After years of insisting on using my own bookmarks and blogroll, I’ve finally jumped on the GoogleReader bandwagon. I am now subscribed to 238 blogs (and other RSS feeds). And counting.

3. I am thoroughly enjoying the return of Ice Road Truckers. I’m also enjoying Lie to Me, although after Monday’s episode and the preview for next week’s, I started thinking that Cal’s had an awful lot of guns pointed at him. Wouldn’t you think that would get to you after a while?

Change of Plans

This morning, I skipped my scheduled early morning run – week 6 day 2 of the Couch to 5K.  It wasn’t just so I could sleep in (with a three-year-old in the house, there’s no such thing). It was because tonight, I’m going to do something that I haven’t done in in 10 years: I’m going on a group run.

In 1999 and 2000, I lived in Chicago, just off Addison and Lake Shore Drive. Chicago runners probably know that location, since the Totem Pole is a popular meeting spot for running groups. My first week in Chicago, I walked down Broadway to a vitamin store that had a whole bunch of flyers for various races. I went in and chatted with the lady behind the counter, who quite suddenly asked me, with a charming British accent, “Are you a lesbian?”

She then told me about Frontrunners, and I went running with them several times. They’re a fantastic group, and I’m not just saying that because the first time I went running with them we all went out to Joy’s Noodle and Rice afterward.

That was the first and last group I’ve run with. I’d like to meet up with the local chapter, but the timing just hasn’t worked out. I’ve looked several times for a group that was close enough and met at a convenient time. A few months ago, a yoga teacher told me about a somewhat-local running store with weekly group runs. At the time, I was working the same evening as the run, and then I started working two evenings per week and didn’t want to miss a third evening with my family. But this week, I am on vacation! And what better way to spend a vacation evening than checking out a new-to-me shop and running group?

Fret not, I’m also planning to do a little knitting this vacation. Clearly, the Universe was unhappy to hear about my knitting apathy. A few test knitting opportunities fell my way yesterday, and I’m still working on my entry for the Loopy Ewe Mini-Challenge:

Lotus Blossom Tank in Progress

I’m not entirely sure the tank is going to fit me. Maybe I should go run a bit more.

Three Things Thursday

1. I am in Week 5 of Couch to 5K, using Robert Ullrey’s Podcasts for Running. I do not, however, have a 5K lined up for the beginning of July (when I’ll be finishing Week 9), because the “local” races in July are not all that local. Ah, well.

2. K’s stocking is coming along nicely, but there’s been no knitting around here. Now that both Lost and Amazing Race have concluded their seasons, even the Blankie has taken a back seat.

3. I have been searching my local stores for weeks in search of a new tube of tinted moisturizer. The store where I bought my Jane Aguaceuticals last summer no longer carries it.  All I can find are self-tanning moisturizers.  Online, I can only find places that would charge almost as much in shipping as for the moisturizer itself. Bummer.

Saturday is Santa Day

There hasn’t been much knitting going on around here lately. I started the Couch to 5K program a few weeks back, which means I get up quite early to go running, which means I (usually) go to bed quite early, which means what used to be my evening knitting time now gets used up by things like checking my email while watching How I Met Your Mother.

And, of course, this:

Stocking #3 in Progress

Two weeks ago, it looked like this:

Stocking #3

And you thought it was slow going knitting a lace shawl.

This is the third of three cross-stitch stockings for our family. It was supposed to be done for last Christmas, but since I took more than a year doing the second stocking, that didn’t happen.

I am determined to finish it for this Christmas. And then, maybe I’ll knit myself a lace shawl.


I will not make it to the podium for the Knitting Olympics or the Ravelympics, unless I decide to call the homework swatches I knit up a Ravelympic project.

Mr. Greenjeans is still the same place it was when last mentioned – a couple of repeats into the cable/rib portion of the body.

The Chicago Illusion Blankie (an entry in the WIP category) got one pattern row done (four rows of knitting).

And the Yarnissima sock intended as both an entry in the sock category and the February Sockdown! for Sock Knitters Anonymous never made it to cast on.

Oh, and the hat?  About 10 rounds in.  Maybe 11.

I leave early tomorrow morning for Stitches West.  Mr. Greenjeans is coming with me, but the odds of me finishing it are, well, zero.  (In case you were wondering, I did find my hedgehog pencil case and packed it up as part of my “basics” kit.)

So, it’s a big Did Not Finish for me in all my Ravelympic events.  Is it too early to start prepping for 2012?

But I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

Missing items found this morning:

  • bamboo circular needles, sizes US9 and US10
  • metal circs, sizes US1.5 and US3, possibly Addis, but the markings have worn off the cords
  • “Sock’s Rule” keychain
  • a single Crystal Palace dpn, size US6
  • a set of purple Stitchkeepers
  • size US0 metal circs for which I just bought a replacement
  • 2 pair of pink circs from the Yarn Pirate Booty Club a while back
  • hematite bracelet
  • a tiny blue beaded stitch marker
  • size US8 needle tips from Denise set
  • Starbucks card

Still missing:

  • the hedgehog print fabric pencil case I like to keep notions in – the thing I’ve actually been searching for.

But is it a Sport?

My mother-in-law (who lives with us and cares for Little Miss during the day) announced yesterday that in 20 years, we should expect to see Little Miss on the US Olympic Curling Team, because they’ve been watching so much of it during the day, while K and I are at work. This fed into an ongoing discussion of whether curling is a sport. If a woman who is five months pregnant can still compete at something, is that something a sport? This led to other activities that could arguably be considered “not sports”: bowling, horseback riding, car racing, etc.

“What about knitting?” I asked. “Is that a sport?”

“No,” said K, without a moment’s hesitation.

“It is the way I do it!”

I made it to Unwind yesterday afternoon. It turns out that they weren’t closed on Thursday – the fellow who cleans the windows had turned the sign around, and I just didn’t push hard enough on the door. But it worked out well, since the size US7 circ I bought had just arrived in the meantime. In fact, I got to pluck it right out of the shipping box.

I bought some Merino VIII as well, because I’ve added the Olympic Reindeer Hat to my Olympic ambitions this year.

The Makings of a Hat

I’m not sure where I think I’m going to find all this extra time. I leave for Stitches West in about five and a half days now, I’m still working on my homework swatches for my Suitable Seams class, I’ve just managed to get a couple repeats of the cable/rib pattern on the body of Mr. Greenjeans done, I’m working on a test knit of a sock for Chrissy Gardiner’s next book (oh, yes, it’s coming, and it will be even better than Toe-Up!, I tell you), I have a book to read for my monthly book club, and, y’know, I have this full-time job.

Still, before I leave for 3 days of knitterly festivities, it would be nice to at least leave K with an Olympic hat to keep her head warm all weekend.

A Hat Would Be Good Right Now

For the last several years, I’ve been a big proponent of sock knitting. They’re small! They’re quick! They’re portable! They’re way more practical than the big bulky sweaters I’d love to knit, since I live in sunny Southern California!

Yeah, it’s that “sunny” part that is mocking me at the moment.  The rains have come. And so has the cold. On Monday, I went running in a drizzling rain. On Wednesday, I went running on a clear early morning that happened to be 37 degrees Fahrenheit. Wednesday night, I bought running pants to wear instead of my running shorts, but this is not a running blog.

Yesterday, it rained on us as we picked out our Christmas tree.  It stopped, of course, while we were at dinner afterwards, but this morning, it was bucketing down. Cold, wet, fat drops of rain pelting our garden window, streaming off the eaves, and turning the dirt in our side yard to mud.

To be fair, it has warmed up. Yesterday’s high was 55.  This is good, because we have no heat at our house.

Early in the week, the heater abruptly started blowing cold air out of the vents. This was disconcerting, to say the least. No matter what we did to the thermostat, including turning it off, adjusting various switches, and hitting the reset button, had any effect. K called the HVAC company that the home warranty people had sent out for a previous repair. When the HVAC guy came, he informed us that the “computer board” needed to be replaced.  He turned off the system (yay – no more cold air!) and left, waiting to hear on whether we wanted to pay for the repair ourselves or go through the home warranty company, which he assured us would take at least a week.

Meanwhile, the HVAC company that the home warranty people actually called had not even called us to make an appointment to look at the problem.  They finally made an appointment with us… for today.

And then, yesterday, HVAC guy #1 returned with a computer board. Unfortunately, it was the wrong computer board, and the shop was about to close for the weekend and unwilling to either stay open to give the board to the guy or to leave the board where he could retrieve it.

All of this leaves us with no heat.  Still.  We are dressing in layers. My Bastille Cables sweater has gotten more wear this week than any time since I knit it, several years back.

Which brings me back to the socks. While I have been loving my handknit socks this week, I’m rather wishing I had knit more sweaters. Or maybe some hats. Hey, Laurie, could I have Dmitry #5’s number?