Monday, March 29, 2010

Tampa Revisited

Joe and I just got back from another great weekend in Tampa. Just like last year, we went to a couple Yankees spring training games and did some sight seeing on Saturday. The games were fun. We got to see all the starters play since it's so close to the start of the season:

And I got to get a GIGANTIC turkey leg:

Don't worry; Joe helped me eat it. And we went running at this gorgeous park on Saturday and Sunday to help offset the massive calorie consumption:

Sorry for the scary no-makeup, post-run pic, but I had to show you guys this beautiful park! It was exactly 1 mile from our hotel and was a perfect spot to run together. That's right, I said run TOGETHER! I can keep up with Joe now! Yes, he still has tendonitis. But that's irrelevant. ;)
Saturday we went to a place called Canoe Escape to rent a canoe for the day in hopes of seeing a gator. Well, JOE had hopes of seeing a gator. I'm not chicken or anything, I just like all my limbs right where they are and I try to partake in activities that insure they are safe from harm. Well, about 30 seconds into our trip, we spotted this bad boy:

Let me be clear; there was no tour guide. Only this guy:

There were no fences, no safety glass. We were on a real river armed with a camera and a paddle. That's it. Luckily we know enough about gators to know that if you leave them alone, they leave you alone. Most instances of people getting harmed by alligators are when people are acting stupid and provoking them. So we made sure not to do that! When we took a break for lunch (sandwiches from Fresh Market! Oh, how I miss Fresh Market.), we made a little friend.

He came right up to me and made that little "can I please have some of your noms?" gesture, and I was ready to give him my whole lunch. So cute! Every time I gave him a crust of bread, he would take it and run up a tree and eat it, then come back down to ask for more. Adorable!
The Hillsborough River was beautiful:

I don't remember ever seeing such a perfect Bob Ross-esque mirror image on the water!
I even started getting used to this sight, eventually:

The only part I didn't like was when we would startle a gator & he would go under the water. Where did he go? What's he doing now? If I put my paddle in the water to get the F&*% out of here, will I hit him in the head?

Oh, and I wasn't the biggest fan of the Vulture Sanctuary either (or whatever the hell they called it):

There were HUNDREDS of them! The canoe place told us to make sure we "look alive" during this part of the river so the vultures don't mistake us for road kill. So, I recited the 'Dancing Queen' number from Mamma Mia. Why memorize the number if you're never going to use it, right?
After all that paddling, we were ravenous! What a workout! We decided to go back to Skipper's for dinner. Last year we went there to try their gator nuggets, but this year it seemed wrong somehow, after making "friends" with them on the river. They had stone crab claws on the specials menu & we HAD to get them (along with some wahoo nuggets and mahi sliders)!

And the cool part is that no crabbies had to die for our dinner! What they do is catch the crabs, lob off a claw, then release them back into the water. The claw grows back, and they repeat the process with the new claw. Cool stuff!
Sunday's game only lasted 4 innings before it started pouring, so they canceled the rest of the game & we had no choice but to go to Hancock Fabrics. I found some really cute fabric, but we only had one very stuffed duffel bag for our clothes, so I didn't get it. Maybe when I go see my parents next month!
Then we went to J Alexander's for dinner and O.M.G. One of the best meals ever! I just felt like veggies for some reason, so I got the grilled artichoke appetizer:

And the vegetable platter for my dinner:

I'm not going vegetarian or anything (Hello? Giant turkey leg!); I was just craving veggies like mad (maybe from all the exercise?), so I didn't fight my cravings. Everything was so good, but those artichokes stole the show. They had a real smoky flavor from the wood grill and the seasonings were perfect. I could have eaten a whole huge plate of just those.
It was such a great weekend, but I'm back to reality today! Waaaaaaaaahhhhh!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

5K Baby!

I've been keeping a little secret from the blog. On my birthday back in November, I decided to start running on the treadmill at the gym. It was NOT easy at first. I followed the training schedule from this book, which has you start running one minute intervals and eventually getting up to running 30 minutes straight. Well, today I ran 42 minutes straight! I ran in the O'Hartford 5K! This was my first time ever running on a surface other than the treadmill or the high school track (not counting running after the ice cream truck, of course ;) I never intended to run in races, but one of my girlfriends from work convinced me to enter this one with her so she didn't have to be in scary downtown Hartford by herself. Here we are freezing at the start line:

Check it out; the guy right behind me in this picture is dressed as the Jolly Green Giant! He ran the race in that getup! Crazy!

Not to be outdone, Joe had to get in on it:

He finished in 36 minutes even though he has tendonitis and hasn't run in weeks. Whatever. ;) I AM glad he was there to cheer me on!

I don't have any pictures of after the race, but I do have one of my awesome finisher award!

They even filled them with BEER for us! An appropriate award for the St. Patrick's day race, IMO!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Butterick 5078

In true procrastinator fashion, I finished my garment-a-month project TODAY at 5 O'Clock. In my defense, I had INTENDED to work on this all week, but my sinuses had other plans. When I got to work on Monday there were wicked strong paint fumes coming from the tenant next to us. I tried to defend my poor sinuses with some Flonase and breathing through my sleeve or turtleneck all day, but I was useless by noon. I spent Monday night, Tuesday night, and all day Wednesday on the couch with the kindle. The property manager and my boss really worked hard to get the smell out so I could come back to work Thursday, and I felt semi-human by Friday after I returned from Planet Sudafed. So that means I whipped this sucker up in a few hours this weekend! Joe is at a conference, so I was on my own for a photographer. I used the timer on my camera, and got a lot of shots like this:

But, I did manage to get one decent shot before the snow started coming down:

I use the word decent liberally here. It's all I could do with what I had. :) My pattern review is here if you're into that sort of thing, but my thoughts are that it makes me look heavier than I am because the ruching hits right below the bust & camouflages my sorta small waist. So, lesson learned. No more ruched waist dresses. It was fun to make though and SO easy. I rocked those set-in sleeves too (I think it's all the experience I got making snuggies), so at least it was good practice!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Valentine's Day and a FO!

Did everyone have a nice Valentine's/President's Day/Daytona 500/Olympics weekend? I sure did! Joe had off for 2 of the 3 days, so we had lots of bonding time. Sunday was the Daytona 500, so we did our shopping on Saturday as well as exchange our Valentine's gifts. We usually keep it small and low key. For instance, I made him this neckwarmer:

And I made him and Olivia these conversation sugar cookies in words they both understand:

He evidently didn't get the low key memo because he got me this:

My mouth DROPPED when I opened it! I never mentioned I wanted one, never even hinted it, but he somehow knew! The downside is that I got absolutely nothing done on my day off on Monday because I just wanted to read, read, read!

In other news, I have a couple of dresses in mind for the February garment-a-month club, so hopefully I'll get one sewn up next weekend. If I can tear my attention away from ebooks, that is. :)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

January Garment of the Month

I don't think I mentioned it, but I joined a sew-along on Patternreview called One Garment a Month (drinking Kool Aid with Robin gets me in trouble every time. hee hee). Anyway, as the name suggests, you pledge to make one garment for yourself or someone else every month. Easy, right? Well, naturally I waited until the last minute, but I finished this afternoon! I made one of those knock off DKNY cozy wrap thingies in some wool jersey fabric. I finished today at 4:30 (just as the sun was setting), so the dark gray fabric is nice and dark and impossible to see. And to make matters worse, my camera battery was dead and we had to use Joe's cell phone. But here it is anyway in various uh, variations:

Not drunk, just mid-blink:

Goofing off with my photographer:

And here's the copied and pasted pattern review:
Pattern Description:
Misses knit top and cardi-wrap with front variations
Pattern Sizing:
XXS-XL, I made the small
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes, I think so!
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Definitely. It was so easy.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
No matter how I placed the pattern pieces, I couldn't get them to fit on my cutting table. I had to let some of the fabric/pattern piece lay on a bar stool while I cut the other end on my table.
Fabric Used:
Wool jersey from a fabric co-op
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I didn't finish the edges (which felt so weird, but looks great). I also didn't do the last step of the sleeve cuff because I liked the length as-is.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
If I can get my hands on some more of this awesome wool jersey, definitely!
I love this cardi. I have wanted a DKNY cozy for a while, but am not willing to spend $200 on something like that, and knitting one would take FOREVER. I was excited to find some wool jersey on sale in one of my fabric co-ops, so I went for it and couldn't be happier!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Recent Projects

Well, after Christmas I mentioned that I had a little pain in my wrist for all the gift knitting I did. Turns out I have a BIG pain in my wrist. Any night I decide to try a tiny bit of knitting, I can't sleep because my arm is throbbing with pain from carpal tunnel. I really thought that knitting Continental would solve my C.T. problems, but that just wasn't the case. I have to go to a hand specialist next week. Hopefully I can get that quick surgery and be back in business soon though!

One beneficiary of the non knitting time is my sewing time! I made a friend at work some reusable zippy bags because she is trying to go plastic-container-free. She also free-cycled her old heart rate monitor to me when I mentioned I wanted one and I've been wanting to make her a thank you present. The gallon bags took one fat quarter each, and I got 3 sandwich bags out of one fat quarter.

I have no clue why that picture won't rotate right. Oh well.

I also made another Snuggie! It's becoming my signature piece. Joe's daughter moved into her dorm this week and she asked me to make her one in case the dorm was freezing. I don't think that will be a problem since it was like 100 degrees in there the day we moved her in, but she's ready if the heat ever goes out:

Joe loves modeling snuggies for me.

Also for the dorm, I did some more free-cycling at work and convinced my cube neighbor to let us borrow his old dorm fridge that he wasn't using anymore. Unfortunately, I didn't know it looked like this:

But a roll of contact paper later, and we have cool retro perfectly girlie fridge:

That roll of contact paper covered the fridge, lined her drawers, made the letters spelling her name on her door, and the letters spelling her name on her wall inside her room. And we still have some left!! I had completely forgotten how awesome contact paper is.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Happy New Year!

I can't believe this, but I actually finished every Christmas project I wanted to this year. I started early-everything I bought on Black Friday got WRAPPED on Black Friday, I made cookies every night for a week instead of all at once the day before Christmas eve, and finished every knitting and sewing project before the day they were to be gifted! I must make a note to do this every year. It was so nice to not be completely stressed to get everything done on the 23rd. Now, on to the parade of gifts!
Baby (now toddler) Hewen got a new hat & mittens:

They are made from Socks that Rock in Strange Brew. A close up of the mittens:

I made his Mommy a sweet OWLS sweater out of Cascade Eco Wool. LOVED the Eco wool!!:

I knit our bowling league organizer a bowling pin from Vickie Howell's book:

I made Joe's Godson a couple tie dye Yankees shirts with homemade iron-ons:

I also made a few snuggies-for-hire for a guy at work (who happens to know how to fix furnaces, in case ours ever dies in the middle of the night in February again). I have no pictures of them, but you guys know what snuggies look like, I'm sure.
Rocco took his usual spot under the tree for the last 33 days:

That's his carrot I made him a few years ago. He still attacks it regularly!
I'm currently back to working on Joe's belated anniversary sweater, but am taking it easy because I'm a little sore from all that knitting in such a short time. Which reminds me, did you guys see this?:

Unfortunately, I learned to knit AFTER I chose my mate. Oh, well. :)
I made a few goals for 2010. I never keep my resolutions, so I'm calling them goals now. Ha, ha.
1. I want to knit more and sew more than last year. Shouldn't be hard since I hardly made anything last year!
2. Work out at least 4 times a week. This one has been almost enjoyable lately, so hopefully it stays that way.
3. Learn to ride a motorcycle, or at least a scooter. I have this dream almost weekly that we are out somewhere and for whatever reason, I have to drive the motorcycle home. I would like to stop having this dream.
Happy New Year, Everyone!