Sunday, October 24, 2010
My girlfriends and I have been working on establishing a tradition we've dubbed the Sunday Funday Club where we get together once a month on a Sunday and do some kind of activity that we've all wanted to do (i.e. go to a museum, visit a pumpkin patch, etc). Inspired by Item 16: Learn to Knit, my great friend Amy volunteered her time to host a Sunday Funday Club to teach us.
Amy, Sheila, Kelly and I got together last Sunday to spend the afternoon knitting washcloths and had an incredible time! Amy provided each of us with knitting notebooks chock full of information such as abbreviations, patterns and "how to" guides.
Here she is! She's a great teacher :)
I'm not exactly a crafty girl but feel that I picked up knitting rather quickly! We learned how to make slip knots, cast on (basically getting the yarn on the knitting needles) and the difference between knitting and purling (but only Sheila was advanced enough to actually purl...Kelly and I stuck to knitting).
Here's my beginning of a washcloth!
After we got started, Amy came around to each of us to help us find a knitting rhythm and to fix any errors or mistakes we had made. While the yarn turned from balls into washcloths, we chatted and giggled the afternoon away. We took a short break to enjoy homemade apple pie ala mode and some hot tea. It was delicious!
I've spent the last week working on my new washcloth and am excited to start my next project....a scarf! A big thanks to Amy for being a great teacher and thanks to Sheila and Kelly for learning a new skill with me! Item 16: Learn to Knit is officially complete :)
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Adding Item #5 - Plant a Tree quickly earned a spot on my list as it just seemed like the right thing to do. In our polluted world, I wanted to give a little green back to mother Earth and do my part to enrich the air and soil.
Hippie-dippie reasons aside, I also have always wanted to be good at gardening. It just seems like one of those domestic skills that so many of my girlfriends have taken to naturally that I just can't do...you know like cooking, sewing, and cleaning (can't do a one of them). My lucky spouse...he married a domestic gem, didn't he?
Anyway, a number of things have contributed to my not-so-green thumb including forgetfulness, frequent out-of-town trips, and complete disregard for planting instructions or watering. Also, I have a phobic-level fear of snakes that makes it virtually impossible for me to go into my backyard between May and September. I know it's irrational and I don't care...keep those spawns of the devil away from me.
So, in efforts to let out my inner tree-hugger, catch up with my domestically-progressive friends and prove to the snakes that I am not afraid, planting a tree seemed like a great lesson in gardening and a small step towards saving the planet (and I waited until October until all the snakes were gone...partial fail).
To make things as difficult as possible, the location I selected for our tree was the home to an Aspen stump. So, first things first, I had to dig out the stump.
A much more difficult task than I had anticipated...the spouse helped me out with his ditch-digging experience from college landscaping jobs and a chainsaw.
I selected the tree, a lovely Maple, which my spouse purchased as my belated, four-year anniversary present. Isn't it the traditional four-year anniversary gift to give/get wood (immature giggle)? Hmm, maybe that's year five? Well, whatever the rule, that's what I got.
I carefully followed the instructions on a bag of "Tree and Shrub Soil" to dig the hole two-times bigger than the base of the tree. I then placed the tree in the hole and surrounded it with the special soil, manure, old dirt and a thick layer of mulch to keep its little roots warm in these cool, fall temps.
I feel pretty darn good about planting a tree....I learned a little something about stump removal and proper tree-planting procedure while giving a little gift to nature.
Monday, October 18, 2010
Two Classic Novels down, three more to go! This book was an easy read compared to novel #1-Catch-22 and since it was a love story, it certainly was more within my scope of interest than a war novel. Thanks to the subject matter and my new obsession with Audio Books (I drive ALOT...started doin' a little multi-tasking), this book was a very fast read....er...listen.
Classic Novel #2 - The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I very much enjoyed this wonderfully romantic and tragic novel. Told from the perspective of Nick Carraway, a young man living on the West Egg of Long Island in the 1920's, The Great Gatsby tells the tale of one heartbreaking love story inextricably intertwined with two adulterous affairs.
Upon arriving in Long Island, Nick finds his rented summer cottage nestled between mansions and next door to the infamous Jay Gatsby. Through a series of fabulous soirees, trips to the city and visits with his cousin, Daisy Buchanan, Nick eventually befriends the mysterious Mr. Gatsby. He becomes immersed in a crowd of immoral aristocrats, observing their careless lifestyle and developing his own relationship with the female golfer, Jordan Baker.
Unfortunately, the fun times of the roaring 20's don't last long for the opulent group as tragedy strikes again and again. Nick finds himself understanding the true nature of his new friends and the high-society world they live in, while discovering the real identity of the Great Gatsby.
"Not a Love Story" Recommendation - Rant, by Chuck Palahniuk
All right, this book was down-right weird. Chuck Palahniuk demonstrates his literary brilliance with Rant, telling the fictional story of Buster Casey as an oral biography. Through the interviews of childhood acquaintances, parents, lovers, and friends, the reader quickly learns that Buster, or "Rant," is already deceased.
The contradictory tales of Echo Lawrence, Chester Casey, Shot Donyan and Green Taylor Simms, illustrate a disturbing glimpse into Rant's upbringing in the small, country town of Middletown. We learn of his extraordinary abilities, his sexual adventures and his snake-catching, spider-hunting activities that eventually infect him with rabies. As Rant leaves his small town for big-city life, the reader is introduced to a strange future split into two degenerate cultures: "Daytimers" and "Nighttimers." With half the population infected with rabies, people start showing zombie-like characteristics and society further crumbles pinpointing Rant as the culprit for the downfall.
With the rabies epidemic growing, Rant joins a Nighttimer "Party Crashing" crowd who amuse themselves demolition-derby style by crashing into each other on the freeways. The intricate details and rules of Party Crashing allow the reader to uncover the party-crashing secret that immortality may be achievable for a select few. Naturally, one of those few might be Rant. The story of his father, mother and grandmother creepily unfolds and you realize that Rant may not be the person you thought he was (or still is) at all.
This book was somewhat nauseating (after all, they call him Rant because that's the sound you make when you vomit) but it was brilliantly written, undeniably captivating and kept me sitting on the very edge of my seat all the way to the uncomfortable end.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
I find myself struggling this week to find balance and feel a little bit of self-pity rearing its ugly head. Reading this reminds me to get my own head outta my....well, you know what...
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
I have ALWAYS wanted to run a marathon.
This is the big ONE...the mother of all List items. If I accomplished nothing else before I turned 30, running 26.2 miles was the one thing I really wanted to achieve. When I made my 30 Before 30 list, Running a Marathon quickly took its place as Item 1.
Why?....I honestly don't know. I get TONS of questions from runners, non-runners, family members, friends, and co-workers asking me why on Earth I'd ever WANT to run 26.2 miles. My husband likes to remind that we work....so we can have cars....so we don't have to run 26.2 miles and can drive instead. But for some unknown, masochistic, self-challenging, running-addicted reason, I absolutely had to accomplish this goal.
On Sunday, October 3rd in Boulder, CO, I finally achieved my goal in 4 hours 16 minutes and 48 seconds. It was one of the most exciting, terrifying, painful, bittersweet, happy and challenging days of my life!!
I don't have my official splits and, although I was pacing myself, I don't remember the individual mile times due to blurred....er, repressed...memories. However, I can say that the first 18 miles were actually pretty good! I felt prepared, strong and kind of fast.
At Mile 19, all that changed. At Mile 19, I hit the "Wall." I knew it would come, I knew it would hurt and I KNEW I had to power through it. I sipped a Gu packet, chugged some water and slowly pushed through the last 7.2 at a moderate but sustainable pace, with several walking breaks and A LOT of Ke$ha!
Mustering up a my last shreds of energy, I sprinted across the finish line, singing "Ima fight till I see the sunlight, " finishing at an average pace of approximately 9 minutes 48 seconds per mile.
Me Crossing the Finish Line
I was instantly consumed by a surge of joy that brought tears to my eyes. Euphoric happiness took over my entire body and I almost collapsed from the overwhelming sense of victory and, well, from exhaustion!
Post-Race Euphoria & Finisher's Medal :)
It hurt. My legs just started to feel better today (Wednesday). Since the race, I've done nothing but sleep and eat. I'm bruised, chaffed and still exhausted. BUT even with all this, the sense of accomplishment, athleticism, joy, and strength the race gave me was an incredible experience and........I think I'll do it again.....only faster....