Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Quote Day

‎My greatest fear has always been that I would be afraid – 
afraid physically or mentally or morally 
and allow myself to be influenced by fear 
instead of by my honest conviction.
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

As I said a couple days ago, fear-fear-fear is what drives the news these days. Both liberal and conservative outlets are guilty, although in my humble opinion the right wingnuts have perfected fear-based rhetoric and found a wide, unsuspecting audience. (I think it's delicious that the Speaker of the House is so afraid his debt bill won't pass that he called off the vote. But I think it's childish for the Tea Party to hold us all hostage.)

Like I also said, giving up watching the news has been a very good decision. I'm not burying my head in the sand; I'm simply getting my news in tiny snippets from the internet. And then I'm moving on, to read your blogs or find new zucchini recipes.

I'd love to say I've been walking every day this month. Instead, the heat has beaten me into submission. I can work a couple hours in the garden every other day or so, and I count that as a workout, but it's not miles. Counting the number of weeds pulled is not as satisfying as racking up miles.

I've been keeping a loose count of the pounds of produce I'm harvesting. Ten pounds of tomatoes and two of green beans, so far. I didn't weigh the peppers. Today I need to pick the plump edamame pods, before it's too late. There's a short window of opportunity, if you miss it you might as well let them dry and use them for next year's seed.

The snap peas I planted late are doing pretty well, I should have enough for a stir-fry soon. Peas of any kind don't care for hot weather, and I feel like I'm torturing them, but they're producing anyway, bless their little pea-pickin' hearts. Heh. (You have to be of a certain age to remember that phrase and who said it.)

Don't forget: Sunday night, 7 p.m. EDT, is when the current and final giveaway ends. You have until then to leave a comment to win The Good Carb Cookbook.

In the meantime, have a good weekend.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

This is great

The song is available on iTunes: Be the Change by MC Yogi. Here's the video.

The transformative powers of canning

But first, KWAW was inspired by my rant yesterday to post one of his own, and I think it deserves to be read by everyone in Congress, as well as the two principals in the dangerous game being played in our nation's capitol. Do go take a look, I'll wait.

Okay, did that inspire you to call your Congressional representatives? Mine are all Democrats, so I would again be preaching to the choir. I called John Boehner's office yesterday and, as might be expected, I was on "ignore" for quite a long time, listening to snippets of patriotic marches. Yes, really, that was his "hold" music. I finally quit waiting, called back and left a message. (Interestingly, the only way you can send him an e-mail is if you live in his district in Ohio. I'm of the opinion, misguided though it may be, that the Speaker of the House ought to be available to all citizens and, I guess, he is, if you want to write a letter.)

West Virginia has only three Congressmen: one Democrat and two Republicans, but one of the Republicans is a member of the Tea Party caucus, so I think he'll get voted out of office after one term. I don't see the Tea Party surviving this debacle. Am I being naive? Go ahead, I can take it.

November of 2012 can't come quickly enough. I honestly don't know how Congress gets anything done when they have to go through an election every two years. The Tea Party is holding everyone hostage, guaranteeing nothing gets done.

Okay, back to what passes for normal around here.

For Leslie, who has never seen edamame growing:
Each pod has two or three beans in it, The leaves of the plant
are efficient at hiding the tangle of bean pods below.
I'm assuming y'all know what tomatoes and peppers look like, so I didn't photograph them during the salsa party I had yesterday. Basically, I roughly chopped six pounds of tomatoes, three yellow and red peppers, eight jalapenos, two onions, a few cloves of garlic (all from the garden) and a handful of cilantro (from Tiny Kroger), and threw it all in a large pan with a can of tomato paste, some cumin, salt and vinegar.

This is what I have now.

I don't use salsa in the traditional chips-and-salsa way, because my husband and I don't eat chips. Or, rather, if they were in the house, we'd eat them, all in one sitting and then we'd groan about it for hours afterward.

So if I don't buy or make chips, why do I make salsa? I think it's an outstanding addition to a big pot of meaty chili with red beans, and we eat a lotta chili during the fall and winter.

C'mon, cold weather. I'm ready for you.

Thanks for all your comments, and keep 'em coming! And don't forget, if you'd like some dill seed so that you, too, can have your own lifetime supply of dill, let me know and I'll put some in the mail. Contact me at shrinkingknitter AT gmail DOT com, or send a message through Facebook if you're in my Friends list.

And if you're not, why aren't you? Heh.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Waxing political for a bit

/Rant on./

I stopped watching the "news" several weeks ago, and feel much better for it. I used to make myself crazy trying to sort facts from opinions, and then hoping America's leaders would do what's best for her people.

The Supreme Court decision that corporations were people has created all kinds of hell around these United States. We're about as united as oil and water right now – Big Oil, of course. Elected representatives want to keep their war chests full, and it's easier to do that when Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Food, Big Money are handing them checks.

(To see who donates to your Congressional representatives, do check out Open Secrets.)

My Facebook account is where I share a lot of political tidbits. The current debt ceiling crisis has Facebook buzzing with graphics and charts and articles, oh my. But who's listening? I'm preaching to the choir, for the most part.

A few of my Facebook friends are Republicans, and some even claim Tea Party as their political affiliation (which speaks well for my broad-mindedness, I think!). But I seriously doubt that they click through to study my recommended reading. They all know I'm the president of our county Democratic women's club, and assume it's more of that left-wing wacko liberal BS.

I live in the relatively poor and aging state of West Virginia. Many West Virginians are helped immensely by Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and other government assistance programs. And yet these same people rallied against health care reform and started having tea parties. They vote against their own interests, time and time again, in the name of God and Country. They want us to support the troops and the ill-advised wars that led us into this economic nightmare.

The Republican platform of God, guns and gays has nothing to do with governing and everything to do with making their followers afraid. Fear, fear, fear is shouted from right-wing talk radio hosts and Faux Noise day and night. Those who listen shout it back to people like me, when we try to speak the truth.

I won't live in fear. Whatever happens in Washington in this current crisis will go ahead and happen, no matter how many phone calls I make or letters I write. I want Congress to work for the people who elected them. In their minds – as long as corporations are people – they are.

President Obama spoke to the country Monday evening, and the takeaway line for me was, "Americans voted for a divided government, not a dysfunctional government." (I voted a straight Democratic ticket for the first time in my life, so don't blame me, heh.) Divided government is supposed to be the ultimate check-and-balance tool, but it has evolved into the most effective way to get nothing done.

The trouble is, we need something done.

There will be another crisis, and another and another. With news at your fingertips, be it a television remote control or an internet connection, there will surely be someone "reporting" all the gory details about something. And, of course, If No News, Send Rumors.

Or opinions.

/Rant off./

Okay, does no one want 200 good-carb recipes sent to them absolutely free, free, free? Not one comment? C'mon, you guys, you're making me feel very unloved out here in the Middle of Nowhere. To win your very own copy of The Good Carb Cookbook, click the comment button and say something!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Giveaway #4: Eating

Knitting, running, reaping, eating! The fourth book in my month of giveaways is, of course, a cookbook. If you've been concerned about your insulin levels, or just want to add more low-GI meals to your menu plans, then this is the book for you.

The Good Carb Cookbook is divided into two parts, the first of which thoroughly explains the Low Glycemic Index – what it is, how it works, what's in it for you, etc. The second section contains more than 200 recipes in typical cookbook chapters, everything from appetizers to desserts.

You can learn more about the book here, and Amazon will let you peek inside, as well. The book is in excellent condition: no cooking stains, no dog-eared pages, no cracks in the spine. (Clearly I was bored with the low-GI concept before the book ever got delivered!)

But that doesn't mean you won't love it. Heh. To win The Good Carb Cookbook, simply leave a comment on any post this week. Or every post! You have until Sunday evening at 7 EDT. The more comments you leave, the more chances you'll have to win. This giveaway is open to anyone in the world, so tell your far-flung friends to hop on over and give me some comment love.

After all that work and watering I did yesterday, we had the loveliest steady rain in the afternoon. Oh, well, wrestling with the garden hose is good for the biceps. It's also good for the carrots. I planted a second crop a couple weeks ago and they're just beginning to germinate. I also planted some more cilantro, which has popped up and, I hope, will be big enough to use when the last of the tomatoes ripen. I plan on making lotsa salsa this year, last year's supply was gone in a flash!

I sure do love choosing what's for dinner based on what's ripe. The edamame is a-l-m-o-s-t ready. I can't wait. It's a toss-up between onions and edamame for my favorite crop. While edamame beans look like baby limas, they're much more nutritious and much more expensive in the freezer section of the grocery. They grow easily, so it makes sense to me to grow a lot of it.

Onions are on my short list just because I think it's so cool to grow a big ol' onion, pull it out of the ground, let it cure for a couple weeks and then toss it in a mesh bag. Every year I say I'm going to grow more. And every year I do. One of these days my 35 x 80-foot garden plot is going to be half edamame and half onions. Heh.

Monday, July 25, 2011

On the third day …

she finally got the strawberry bed weeded, trimmed, clipped, watered and mulched.

I started cleaning up the strawberries Saturday morning, before it got too hot. There are just three rows of strawberries in my garden, and they're pretty short rows, maybe 20 feet. While my intent was to do all three rows on Saturday, I quit after I'd finished the first.

Sunday was more of the same, and today I finished the third. It was the worst – choked with clover and crabgrass and various and sundry unwelcome greenery. I don't use chemicals to control weeds, so it was just me and a few hand tools. And a lotta sweat.

Strawberry plants send out runners – long stems with little baby strawberry plants on them, much like spider plants. If the baby plant landed and rooted in a good spot, I left it, but I cut back most of the runners and trimmed all of the plants. I replanted some of the baby plants that had pretty good roots.

Oh, and I ate one delicious and very late strawberry. Heh.

I watered the whole bed well, then spread an entire bale of straw over all three rows, then watered all the straw.

My hope is that next spring's weed crop will be greatly minimized while the strawberry crop will be better than this year's.

Gardening strengthens my back, shoulder and leg muscles. And I'm saving money. (Each plant – three dozen – should produce a quart of berries. I spent $15 for some of the original plants [the bulk of them were someone else's clipped runners] and $4.50 for the straw. You do the math.)

Clearing all those weeds and adding a straw mulch is good for the soil. Hard physical labor is good for the soul.

And the winner is …


I couldn't find a way to contact you through your blog, Mindy, so I hope you're reading this today. Please send me your address (e-mail me at shrinkingknitter AT gmail DOT com) and I'll get your gardening book in the mail. Congratulations, and thanks for your comment.

Lessee, we've had a knitting book, a running book and a reaping book. Only one category left around here. Betcha can't guess what kind of book I'm giving away tomorrow! Heh.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Quote Day

You must have long term goals to keep you from
being frustrated by short term failures.
~ Charles C. Noble

I seriously don't have much to say today.

After my declaration a couple weeks ago that I was okay just the way I am, I've spent several days lately feeling frustrated and loathesome. I guess acceptance comes and goes, depending on how well your clothes fit, eh? Heh.

The mulch got delivered and the landscaping project is done, for now. I'm sure I'll be moving things and adding more plants as time goes on, but for right now I'm satisfied. Good thing, too, because it's too damned hot to work outside. I tried doing a little weeding yesterday but quit after only a few minutes. It's 8:30 a.m. and already 75 degrees, the humidity feels like it's more than a hundred percent and staying indoors is The Thing to Do.

I heart air conditioning.

I hope you all have a great weekend, stay cool and don't forget to leave lots o' comments to win that gardening book! Contest ends at 7 p.m. Sunday, EDT.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

You Lion!

Yes, I'm an early adopter, and in this case I probably should have waited. Fortunately I'll be near an Apple store in a couple of weeks and maybe they can help me undo what I've done.

For you non-Mac readers, Apple released its latest, greatest Operating System, Lion, yesterday, and I jumped right in. Downloaded, installed, didn't even blink. Everything's working smoothly. Except Adobe InDesign, the graphic design application I use.

Which is a pretty big deal for someone who does a lot of graphic design. Grrr.

I have an older Mac that runs InDesign perfectly, so I'm not completely left in the lurch. But I think I'll ask the nice Apple tech support people to partition my laptop and put the previous OS there, just so I can use one program.

Sorry I was AWOL yesterday. Weeding the tomatoes, and tying them up again, took all morning and part of the afternoon, and it was so-so-so hot I didn't have any energy left to type. Heh.

Seven inches long.
Thanks for all your comments; keep 'em coming if you want to win the latest book! For Mindy, I use an entire smallish dill head in my pickle jars. Some of my dill heads are gigantic, more like one huge head made up of scores of little ones. As blogless longtime lurker said, they do look pretty in the jars.

Arms hurt. Back hurts. Hammies hurt.
After all that weeding (four hours yesterday, five today, are homegrown tomatoes worth all this trouble? Why, yes, yes they are!), I went to yoga last night. As I was working in the garden, I was conscious of using downward-facing dog as I dug and pulled and scratched out the weeds at the base of each plant. So of course the yogi concentrated on downward-facing dog last night. Fortunately there were some other moves thrown in, particularly some twists that helped get a kink out of my lower back. A kink put there by downward-facing dog, I'm sure.

Today is going to be one of record-breaking heat, and I'm having a truckload of mulch delivered. Bad timing on my part, but it will keep me away from the computer. I keep clicking on InDesign, hoping it's changed its mind and will start running again.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Giveaway #3: Reaping

This week's giveaway is for you gardeners out there. My dad and I each gave me this book, and I'm happy to share one of them with you rather than donate it to the library, which is what I'd planned to do until I got this harebrained idea to make July Giveaway Month here at Knit. Run. Reap. Eat.

This is a tips-and-tricks book, filled with practical solutions to gardening problems using items and ingredients you either have on hand or can easily get in any supermarket. Well, almost any – my tiny Kroger isn't as well-stocked as a giant Publix or even gianter Meijer's.

Anyway. You should know the drill by now. You have until Sunday at 7 p.m. EDT to leave a comment. Each comment you leave enters you in the contest to win one copy of Supermarket Super Gardens. The winner will be determined using a random number sequencer and will be announced Monday. This drawing is open to U.S. residents only.

Last year when I put a few dill plants in my herb bed I did not know that I would have a lifetime supply of dill. I didn't plant any dill this year, but I estimate that about 30 plants grew from seed. This must be why it's called dillweed, eh?

I've frozen some of the dill heads, waiting for the pickling cucumbers to ripen. I'll dry the lacy little fronds. The bounty of dill, though, is the seed. You can use it for seasoning and you can plant it.

I harvested the seed from just four dill heads yesterday after dinner and got 1.5 ounces – a very generous quarter cup. There are easily 50 more heads in the garden which haven't gone to seed yet.

My husband loves dill bread, which we've been buying from the Amish market down the road. Since they're closed from Christmas to Easter, I guess I'll have at least a few months to make him some.

I shoulda been a farmer. Bonus points if you know what movie that line is from!

This week, everyone's a winner: If you'd like some dill seed, e-mail me at:

shrinkingknitter AT gmail DOT com
with your contact information. I'll send some to you, which you can plant next spring and then you can give dill away on your blogs next year. What comes around goes around. Dill karma!

Monday, July 18, 2011

And the winner is …

Gingersnapper! As she commented, she's not a runner, but she plans to pass the book on to someone who is either training for or planning to train for a marathon, so I feel like the Universe worked this one out, as well.

Tomorrow I'll announce another book giveaway.

Had a part lazy, part busy weekend. The busy part was in the mornings: weeding the garden Saturday and going to church Sunday. The afternoons were totally lazy, I almost felt like I was back in school and felt justified in taking the weekend off. (Weekends were for housework when I was an employee.)

Weeding a garden can be so satisfying. I took advantage of the cool, overcast day and cleaned out all the weeds in the four rows of edamame, giving those little pods plenty of room to grow and ensuring they don't have to fight for any nutrients from the soil. Also got more than half of two empty rows, the former garlic and onion beds, done before I ran out of energy. I have more onions to plant.

In another half row that was fairly clean to start with, I planted some carrots. I have a few in another part of the garden, and they're doing well, but I'll want more.

We've been eating tomatoes and onions every day, and I pulled one of the cabbages for cole slaw Saturday. But the zucchini are still only tiny little things. The cabbages are doing great, I'm not sure how long I'll let them go before I make sauerkraut.

I wish more of the fall squash that I planted had come up. I didn't make a map, so I don't know what I've got out there, but it's not much. Five Jack-o-Lantern pumpkin plants are looking good. The rest is spaghetti squash and butternuts. I think I'll throw some more seeds in, there's plenty of time to grow squash.

How was your weekend?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Quote Day

You don’t have to live your life
the way other people expect you to.
~ Chris Guillebeau
expectation |ˌekspekˈtā sh ən|
• a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future : reality had not lived up to expectations | an expectation that the government will provide the resources | he drilled his men in expectation of a Prussian advance.a belief that someone will or should achieve something
I'm better off when I don't have any expectations, but that's hard to do on a day-to-day – sometimes even hour-to-hour – basis.

I expect the mail to be ready to pick up at 10:30 a.m., because that's when the sign in the post office says it will be ready.

I expect that when I follow a recipe, the resulting dish will be edible, and might even be something I'd like to make again.

I expect that if I stop eating sugar, I'll lose some weight and feel a million percent better. (I've been sugar-free before, and that was my experience.)

Have I stopped eating sugar? No, I have not. Do I want to lose some weight and feel a million percent better? Yes, I do.

I'm pretty much okay with where I am now, but I think that's mostly because my continued efforts have resulted in, um, staying the same (overweight and uncomfortable) for long enough (far too long) that I have no choice but to accept where I am now. If I didn't accept, I'd be fighting myself day in and day out (been there and done that) and I'd still be overweight and I'd be even more uncomfortable.

Emotional discomfort added to physical discomfort sucks.

I said out loud to someone last week that I probably need to stop eating sugar. That's a hard, hard thing for me to do. I'm going to give myself a couple more weeks to make the decision. August 1 falls on a Monday, and it's hard to ignore a sign from the Universe like that.

If I do (that's a big if, I've got a years' supply of homemade strawberry jam in the pantry), you'll be the first to know.

Only a couple more days to leave comments to win Marathoning for Mortals. Don't delay!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A small harvest

Future pesto.
I took the kitchen scissors with me to the herb bed this morning and ruthlessly snipped all the basil plants. My experience is that there will be more basil. Soon. Sooner than I need it, probably.

These aren't the very first tomatoes from the garden, but this is the most I've brought in at once. Most are cherry tomatoes, and will work well in the pasta salad I'm making for dinner. Angel hair pasta, broken into pieces, with pesto (see above), homemade mozzarella balls, sliced olives and garlic. Mmmm!

Keep those comments coming! And keep spreading the word. Thanks!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Two comments already, and from people who really want to win. To blueheart, yes, I will ship to Australia, should you win. It will cost nearly as much as the book cost, but hey – it's a giveaway, right? I expected it to cost me something.

I asked Kitten With a Whiplash to share pictures when he finished a project from the book he won, and I'll say the same to whoever wins Marathoning for Mortals. I hope you'll post a link to your finish-line photo.

It sounds counterintuitive to ask you to spread the word about these giveaways. You probably want fewer entries, not more, so you'll have a better chance of winning. I understand that. But I want more readers. Readers help bloggers in so many ways. It's great to have feedback and accountability and responsibility, and blogging to a void doesn't do that quite as well as blogging to real live people.

I'm glad this giveaway is bringing folks out of the woodwork. Don't be shy! Speak up! Tell your friends!

I can't figure out a decent segue to another topic, so I'm just moving on now. Heh.

Gardeners spend a lot of time watching, checking, planning around and praying about the weather. I'm no different; I check the weather several times a day (sooooo easy to do with computers and BlackBerries and The Weather Channel, oh my). Southern West Virginia – and much of the United States – is gripped by a heat wave right now. It's already 77 degrees at 7 a.m., and the humidity is 85 percent. Making it feel like … crap. Too hot to pull weeds, too hot to plant anything, too hot to stick my nose outside for any reason whatsoever, unless it's to get into my air-conditioned car.

We've had some rain along with the heat, thank goodness, but I'm going to have to water all that creeping sedum this morning, and if the hose is out I might as well drag it down to the vegetables and give them a drink, as well.

And then I'll take a shower.

And then it'll probably rain. Heh.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Giveaway #2: Running

Well, since I probably won't be running a marathon during my lifetime (and since I have a back-up training manual just in case), this week's prize is a copy of Marathoning for Mortals by John Bingham and Jenny Hadfield.

Bingham is popularly known as "The Penguin," and is one of my heroes for his "no need for speed" philosophy. Hadfield is a running coach and also is Bingham's wife.

I read this book prior to my first half-marathon in April of 2007, which still stands as my PR at that distance. I wasn't fast, by any means, but subsequent distance events were even slower. I tried very hard to just be happy I finished, but I'll be honest. I had hoped I would get a little faster.

Instead, I got a little heavier, year after year, and even though I'd hoped with all my heart to run a full marathon this year, it's just not meant to be.

But it could be for you! And this book will help. Same "rules" this week as for last: Leave a comment, or several. Every comment will be counted as a separate entry. I'll use a random number generator to choose a winner and you'll learn who that is next Monday. Contest ends Sunday, July 16, at 7 p.m. Get ready, get set, go!

Monday, July 11, 2011

And the winner is …

Kitten with a Whiplash, who left two comments and it was the second (which had nothing to do with the contest) which won the prize. Congratulations, and since the Kitten was the only commenter who expressed any interest in actually winning it, I'm so glad the Universe took care of it. Heh.

What a weekend! But first, how was yours? I hope you did some fun stuff and got some necessary stuff done, as well. It's all about balance.

Saturday was our fun day (but we had to drive, drive, drive to get there and then drive, drive, drive home again, all in one day, boy was I tired). We went to my husband's granddaughter's first birthday party. In addition to a sweet little doll, suitable for ages 0+ (meaning it has no parts that will come loose, and do you know how difficult it is to find dolls for babies when you live in the Middle of Nowhere?), I made her this:

Beanbags, anyone? A set of 10, with a matching tote
and a sheet of beanbag games instructions. You can find the tutorial here.

I haven't sewn anything in a month of Sundays, so was a little apprehensive about finishing it on time, but this project only took a couple of hours on a couple of afternoons, start to finish. The best part is the patterned fabric was from a tablecloth I found on sale for five bucks, and the denim was upcycled from a dress I was ready to give to the thrift shop. (Yes, sadly, I used to wear a denim dress.)

Not that I wouldn't have paid for a gift, but why not use what's readily available, rather than drive, drive, drive to the fabric store? Heh. Actually, the best part was that our daughter-in-law loved it and couldn't believe I made it.

She had bought some party decorations from an Etsy seller, but neither she nor her mother could figure out how to assemble them, so they saved them for me "because Debbi's crafty." Between the three of us we finally figured it out, before the birthday girl woke up from her nap, and here's what she saw when she looked at the ceiling from her highchair:

So pretty, and so easy! The main element is scalloped tissue paper.

I made up for all that party fun yesterday, when I planted about a million little pieces of creeping sedum, a foot apart, at the edge of the rocks lining our new landscape bed. (Now you know how big the damned thing is!) Then I tied up all 40 tomato plants, which are soooo close to having a few ripe ones it's making my mouth water, and then I picked blackberries. Enough for this. Which did make my mouth water! Yum!

It's too darned hot to walk outside lately, but if I'm working outside I somehow manage to get through it. Of course I'm toast for the rest of the day. Or toasted. I actually had a fever last night, but I'm fine this morning, if still a little tired.

Come back tomorrow for a new giveaway. Betcha can't guess what the theme will be!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday Quote Day

There are two primary choices in life:
to accept conditions as they exist,
or accept the responsibility for changing them.
~ Dennis Waitley

Today's quote has little or nothing to do with the state of my body, and everything to do with the state of my mind.

What I've learned, from a lifetime of reading self-help books and going to get-your-shit-together seminars and, finally, 20 years of sobriety (I was looking for sobriety all along, duh), is that accepting conditions as they exist frees me to change them. Or, maybe, frees those conditions to change.

I'm wired funny, I guess. There's a little glitch in my psyche that just wants to fight when I declare 'This Is The Way It's Going To Be.' Saying 'This Is The Way It Is' somehow opens up possibilities that can't/won't/don't happen otherwise.

And speaking of change, the new Blogger interface is lovely. Everything's still here, in a streamlined package that is beautiful to look at. So clean. I don't know how long it's been here, I just clicked something yesterday and there it was. Shiny, happy Blogger. Heh.

Keep those comments coming. The giveaway for Elsebeth Lavold's Viking Patterns for Knitting ends Sunday at 7 p.m. EDT. If you're not a knitter you could always donate it to your library. Just a thought …

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Toga! Toga! Toga!

Er, I mean, Yoga! Yoga! Yoga!

I went to a yoga class yesterday afternoon and Sadie kicked my butt shoulders. And upper back. And triceps.

I shouldn't be surprised that the muscles that hurt most this morning are the ones I don't use when I walk.

Sadie is visiting her family and agreed to teach a class. I took one with her when she was here last year and was eager to try again. I love taking fitness classes, much more than working out with a DVD. The class was full to overflowing, which meant I didn't have to worry too much about having my form corrected very often.

Honestly, though, I think I did pretty well, and from the way my muscles responded, I think I should probably practice a little more often than once a year.

I haven't been walking since I can't remember when. It's been several days now. My husband could probably tell you, he likes to keep track of things like that. Either I've been too busy with Other Things, or it's been Hot as Hell. At any rate, I've no doubt I could knock off five miles if I had to. In other words, my fitness level hasn't significantly diminished due to taking a few days off. How do I know?

I made it all the way through the yoga class. And I didn't even want to leave early. Heh.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Speaking of wild and wonderful …

It's raining cats and dogs! Or bobcats and foxes, maybe. We surely do need some rain, and this downpour reminds me of some we had in the spring, when the garden was flooded day after day after gee-I-sure-do-need-to-get-out-and-plant-something day.

I'm sooooo glad I spent yesterday morning weeding. I'd much rather my food soak up this rain than the weeds that were there just 24 hours ago. I spent four hours out there, either on my knees or with the tiller, making room for the pumpkins, discovering the first tiny eggplant and planting 50 Egyptian onions (with at least that many more to go!).

After days and days of saying, 'we surely do need some rain,' it's wonderful to see it.

Wild and wonderful West Virginia

The title of today's post also is my state's motto. I sometimes question the wonderful part – shopping opportunities are few and far between, and very limited (six Targets in the entire state, the nearest Kroger – 12 miles away – doesn't stock cilantro, no Whole Foods at all, but if I drive for an hour I can find a Wal-Mart). It's wonderful to have finally have wi-fi, but it took a heck of a long time – 13 years – to get to my neck of the woods.

Also? The closest gym is in Virginia, a 25-mile drive. I have gym equipment, and I use some of it when the weather is bad, but there's something about being at a gym that makes me want to work harder. I haven't picked up a dumbbell or barbell is who knows how long; I'm simply not motivated to do so. Or disciplined. Whatever.

There are wonderful parts about West Virginia, especially my home and property. I have a lot of room for a garden (including cilantro), the landscaping project is coming along, my house is just the right size to store everything we have and want, without being too much to take care of, the apple trees haven't died or been eaten by deer. Yet.

Can't say the same for the sedum and daylilies lining the driveway. Hershey poked her nose outside this morning and was off like a shot, chasing four deer away from the perennials. The raccoon I saw at work last week turned out to be rabid after all, and two more were seen and destroyed and sent for testing over the weekend.

I didn't take the photo, but this is
about how big it was.
And last night, if you want something really wild, a young black bear ambled across the road in front of me as I drove home from my volunteer gig at Alderson Federal Prison Camp. In all the time I've lived here I've only heard about bear sightings, but never been a witness. A couple years ago one was reported to be walking up my road, and a neighbor took photos of it walking up his driveway.

Most black bears in West Virginia live in the eastern mountains; I am in the southern part. But the nearby state parks are equipped with bearproof trash cans, and I'm sure the state wouldn't go to the trouble and expense if it weren't necessary.

Anyway. More wildlife excitement from the Middle of Nowhere.

So where are all my knitters? Only two comments, one anonymous and one asked not to be part of the giveaway because she already has the book. Thanks to both of you for speaking up. Maybe I should sweeten the deal and throw in some yarn, too. It's not like I don't have enough! I don't, however, have any of Elsebeth Lavold's brand in stock. I'll see if I can find enough of a substitute yarn to make this a better giveaway. Spread the word!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Giveaway #1: Knitting

Since this blog is called Knit. Run. Reap. Eat., I thought I'd start the grand giveaway with a knitting item. Elsebeth Lavold is a talented and creative designer who was inspired by the Viking traditions to create Viking Patterns for Knitting, a book of classic and beautiful knitting patterns. Five hundred Lavold projects have been completed on Ravelry, each one a beauty.

Lavold has her own line of more than a dozen yarns, but with a well-executed gauge swatch, the book's projects can be knit with substitute fibers. The pieces included in the book can be made now and worn for generations. Truly classic creations that will stand the test of time.

Click here for more information.

So. Wanna win it? Leave a comment, that's all you have to do. And you have until Sunday, July 10 at 7 p.m. EDT to do so. I'll assign each comment a number and use a random number generator to draw a winner, who will be announced Monday, July 11. And please spread the word!

A new contest will be announced next Tuesday.

Hope you had a good weekend. We here in the U.S. celebrated our independence, although according to a survey taken July 1, a good many of us don't know when that happened, or who we were becoming independent of. The Fourth of July is about parades, food, fireworks, food, beer, food and oh, yeah, food. Our day was heavy on the food – burgers, potato salad (with aioli, since the garlic harvest is in!), baked beans and homemade ice cream – but no beer, parades or fireworks were harmed during our celebration. Compared to some previous Independence Days here in the Middle of Nowhere, it was what could be called "low-key."

And that was fine by me.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Friday Quote Day

He is a wise man who does not grieve
for the things which he has not,
but rejoices for those which he has.
~ Epictetus

In going through my quote collection to find something for today's post, I was struck by how many of them have to do with success and failure.

I am hereby declaring myself okay, just the way I am. I have nothing to succeed at, nor nothing to fail at. I am, and that is enough.

Most of my Friday quotes are related to my lifelong quest to achieve and maintain a normal weight. I'm 60 years old, and I'm pretty sure it ain't gonna happen. If it does, that would be nice. Not great, not a "success," not the answer to my prayers.

Just nice.

I'm going to continue to walk and eat healthfully, because I feel good when I do. I hope to run again, someday, and I realize that my internal chatter – you're too fat to run – isn't helpful. In previous races I've participated in, there have been many people running who were larger than I am now. It's kind of sad that I know that; it means I was comparing myself to others, and that's something I shouldn't feel the need to do.

I'm tired of fighting with myself about this. Accepting what is feels right to me (today).

Of course, I reserve the right to change my mind at any time, later today or in the future.