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Monday, May 30, 2011

So Much More Than Yarn

A little while ago, knitting and I made our break-up official. Consequently, I've been doing a lot of spinning (more on what I've been making on Friday- and yes, that does mean my blog is returning to it's normal posting schedule). I spin with a spindle, which I love, but the problem with spindle spinning is that it can be, well, a bit slow going.

One day, while spinning,  I thought, wouldn't it be great to have a self-winding spindle. Then I remember, oh, yes, they do makes those- it's called a wheel. Truth be told, for the past year I've been somewhat obsessed with the idea of getting wheel (I may or may not have made a picture of the wheel I wanted as a desktop picture). Problem is, wheels cost money. A lot of money. Like $300 for a cheap one. And I'm a starving grad student. So I finally came to terms with the fact that I'm going to spindle-spinner for a while.

Then my neighbor started repairing a couple of bicycles. And had to get new wheels for one of them. And left the old wheels sitting on the porch we share. And I started thinking. And sketching. And thinking some more.

Then I went to Lowes. And bought some PVC piping. And some spray paint. And...

I present "Spark" (named inspired by one of my favourite webcomics). It's not finished yet, though since I took this picture I've added a set up for scotch tension, which is how you control the rotation of the bobbin. I still need to figure out a treadle system, however, and may end up using the back wheel of the bike with the chain. But, it does work. And not counting the flyer and bobbin (the complicated looking wooden piece at the top) which I bought, the whole thing cost me less than $10. Can't beat that.

Guess I can be crafty with more than just me needles :)

P.S. Once I have the treadle worked out, I'll be posting directions, if you want to build your own.  

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Something Old, Something New

Way back in October, I posted the introduction to a story I was thinking of writing. I originally envisioned it as a short story, but it kept growing in my mind, so now I've decided to try something new. I'm going to be telling the story in weekly installments over at I'm not promising good writing, but it should be fun. If you want to follow along, you can click on the link, or at the top of my blog where it says "Undestined". Since I've already posted part of the introduction here, I went ahead and gave you two posts to start out. Hope you follow along!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I Never Run Alone: My Mom, My Encourager

A very late Mother's Day post- but then, shouldn't Mother's Day be every day?

My quality time with my Mom is not measured in time spent, but rather miles run, together. I don't think I could even begin to guess how many miles we have covered over the years.

Sometimes think I was born in a baby jogger, because I spent nearly every morning of my childhood in one. My Mom told me when I was a baby she would talk to me while I rode along on her runs; when I was older I would cheer her and my dad up hills, chanting "I think I can, I think I can" while they pushed me in the baby jogger. My elementary school years were spent pedaling alongside of my Mom on my bike, cheering her on, and complaining on the hills (and wondering why I had to ride on the sidewalk while she got to run on the road). I grew up accompanying my Mom on her runs until I was old enough to stay home in the mornings, and after that only joined her on rare occasions.

But it wasn't until I started training for a half marathon last year that I asked my Mom to run with me. I often use running and training as a metaphor for a lot of things in life; it's such a versatile comparison. And it was during those months training with my Mom that I realized how much running with her was a perfect illustration of our relationship.

Not every run was perfect, not every run was great; far from it. Many were rough, felt like they dragged on forever, and made me wonder why on earth I was doing this. But on every run, there was always one thing I could count on. My Mom encouraging me. Whether is was just general cheering ("Come on, Honey, you're doing great!"), bribery ("I'll make eggs for breakfast", "10 more minutes and you can have a Chomp*"), or simple advice ("Imagine the finish line!", "Shorten your stride and eat the hill") my Mom would keep me going, most of all on the days when I wanted to quit.

I learned a lot from my Mom on our training runs, tricks and sayings that I pass on to my running friends. But most of all, I learned that I never run alone: every time I lace up my shoes and head out the door, my Mom is there in my mind, encouraging me and cheering me on.

Things I’ve learned about running (and life!) from my Mom:

-       -Walking up a hill is a waste of perfectly good hill
-       -You can do anything for 3-minutes (on interval training)
-       - Use your arms
-       - Relax
-       - Eat the hill
-       - Stay strong through the finish
-       - Imagine the finish line
-       - If you say you’re doing great enough times, you’ll believe it
-       - Wear earrings. There’s almost always a photographer on the course.
-       - Take walk breaks, but don’t stop moving forward
-       - Remember to breathe
-       - Once you cross the finish line, no one can take that away from you
-       - Drink a big glass of water and eat a banana
-       - You’ll always feel better after a run
-       - Always untie your shoes before taking them off
-       - Everything is better with a friend by your side
-       - You can run further and faster than you think you can

*My on-the-run nutrition choice

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

It Started With a Car Trip

Over the years, running the Lady Track Shack 5k has become a bit of a tradition for my family. So, way back in February, I started to make plans to drive down to Orlando to run it. The Wednesday of LTS week my friend Jules asked me what my weekend plans were. I told her, then, on a whim, said "hey, want to come and run with me?" She said yes (having never been to Orlando), and we made plans for me to pick her up on Friday.

On Friday, in between listening to How to Train Your Dragon on tape read by David Tennant (I'm pretty sure I would enjoy listening to David Tennant read the phone book), we talked about our previous running experiences- Jules had run cross-country, and I have two half-marathons under my belt.

Wouldn't it be great, we both said, if we had a goal to train for. We could start running together to get into shape. And then Jules, being from Michigan, said "You know, there's a half-marathon in Detroit that runs through both the US and Canada".

And that is how we ended up registered for the Detroit 1/2 marathon.

I blame David Tennant.