I did it! (Mostly)

Today is Sunday and you knot what that means…. yet another attempt at the 10k! This time I have better news than I did last week. This week I made it! Well, mostly. I DID go 10k, in 1 hour 9 minutes 44 seconds, but I have to admit that I walked about 1 or 1.2km of it. STILL! I DID IT!

Something I learned today (there’s always something to learn) is that if I go out running, and the sun is shining, and it’s later than 8am and it’s between June and September, go with a full head of WET hair.

This morning I left the house at about 10:15 and headed for Sloterplas. It was sunny. It will probably rain tonight as it’s really muggy, but for now it’s really warm and sunny. The route around Sloterplas is about 80% shaded but for the 20% in the sun it just about stopped me in my tracks. The sun is not my friend. Never has been. Or should I say, HEAT is not my friend. On my 10k run this morning I ended up walking through some of the sunny parts since I just couldn’t take the heat. I felt like an ant under the magnifying glass being sizzled by focused sunlight.

(Did you do that as a kid? I remember playing with my cousins at Grandma and Grandpa G’s house. We would take a big round magnifying glass and hunt down ants in the sunshine, focus the light beam on the ants and watch them sizzle and burn. I felt guilty every time and prayed to God that he would forgive me for being so mean and nasty to these innocent ants, then gleefully go search for more. Such is childhood.)

At the 3km point I opened up my little water bottle that hangs on my belt and drank a little and poured a little more over my head. Ahhh that felt good. Next time, start with a wet head and save your water for drinking.  With the water, and walking part of the sunny spots, I managed to make the 10k without any damage to body or soul. My legs felt great! I guess the last week of no running really did me some good.

The second thing I learned today is that running is as much mental as physical.  I decided on the way to Sloterplas that I would run the marked route to the 5km mark, then turn around and run the opposite direction back to the starting point.  It felt right.  It felt proper.  It felt organized and good to end up at the end/start point right at the distance I was aiming for.  It made me feel like it was really possible.  And THAT my friends is key to being able to do just about anything.

Of course any real athlete knows this already.  But I’m just a beginner, at this middle age, and have to learn everything like a beginner.  I just wonder what the next lesson will be?

WordPress upgrade success (eventually)

This morning I upgraded to WordPress 2.6 which is not as easy as the WordPress.org writers would lead you to believe. They say it’s a 3 step process. Sure. But some of the steps have sub-steps and then it may not be right. I don’t mind doing this, as I like a challenge and I like tech chores, but I can imagine this is pretty intimidating for a lot of people.

After doing the ftp file copy, deleting and carefully keeping my template files, I fired up my blog only to see that all my categories and link categories were GONE! Well, they weren’t exactly GONE but the descriptions were gone and of course it’s the descriptions that are shown on the site.

After searching around a bit I found this page, which explained exactly how to fix it. THANKS DAVID! So I went from THIS (I was in process of fixing it so the last 3 had been fixed already):

Back to the correct THIS:

Ahhh, back to normal. I also had to edit the link categories because the headings to all my blogroll lists were also gone.

The next step is to find a new template. Maybe not today. We’ll see. I’m so afraid that if I change templates I’ll lose all my blogroll stuff altogether which would be a real bummer. I HAVE backed up everything (having learned from lots of previous disasters).

I’ve been blogging with this template for almost a year now so it’s time for a change. You’ll see it first!

Under Construction (again)

It’s a quiet Sunday morning and what does a good girl geek do? Upgrade her blogging software of course! I’ve just finished upgrading WordPress to version 2.6 and now I notice my template is doing funny things. Stay tuned! All should be back to normal shortly.

I am looking for a new template though so the site might look different from what you last saw. Since I’m “underdutchskies” I’d like to use something that looks either more Dutch or more like Dutch skies. We’ll see what I can come up with.

I also have to find some time to attempt that 10km run today. More news on that later! For now, I’m listening to Calexico, which is streaming wirelessly over the G4 Cube music server to the stereo, and I’m enjoying this very geeky morning. 🙂

N is for Needles

I have been collecting tools of the craft for a long time. Here’s what I have at this moment:

You notice I don’t have any long straight needles that most people think of when they think of knitting needles. I quit using that kind of needle years ago and got rid of the ones I had. I much prefer knitting with circular needles. I have some sets of double pointed needles for small round knitting, like socks and sleeves and hats.

In January I ordered my first set of interchangeable tips, from KnitPicks, and I really love love love them. I also have 3 pairs of KnitPicks small circulars for sock knitting. KnitPicks does have issues with quality control (I had 1 bad interchangeable and one of the circulars broke right away) but they replaced these right away without question. Their needles are such a joy to work with that it’s worth any hassles. One of the biggest hassles with KnitPicks is that they don’t ship outside the U.S.!! Why oh why? I can’t think of any reason why a company wouldn’t ship outside the U.S. I have to order things and have them shipped to my mom and she sends them on to me.

I like their needles so much that just last week I ordered their set of double pointed needles, once again in wood. Mom will bring them with her when she comes in September. It’s not only that they feel good in your hands, they are just slippery enough, and the points are really pointy, but they are also really beautiful to look at. See?

OK, that’s enough advertising for KnitPicks!

Other ‘nitting news: I’ve joined the Ravelympics over at Ravelry. You have to be a member of Ravelry to play. The rules are: cast on during the Opening Ceremonies and cast off no later than the Closing Ceremonies, which gives you 17 days to complete a project. The project is yours to choose. There are teams and events you can join. I’ve joined the “Lace Longjump” and I will work on the Travelling Roses Lace Scarf using blue Malabrigo. Here’s the original:

I’m not a fast knitter but I figure since this is a scarf, I can just bind off no matter how far I am during the Closing Ceremonies and call it a finished scarf! That’s not cheating is it! DB said, right away, “You know we’re MOVING during the Olympics.” What he really meant to say is “You know we have to paint our entire house and pack everything and work full time during the Olympics so I have no idea when you’ll have time for yet another project!” He’s right of course. But I still want to try.

Today I will finish the mystery socks that can’t be shown. I plan to write up the pattern tomorrow and hopefully have that finished in the next week. But the hard part is getting good photos for these socks. Knitty only uses really good photos so I’d better think of something clever asap.

Also in project news, I’m nearly finished with the first spiral kitchen rug that I’m crocheting. Unfortunately, it’s not very thick and doesn’t feel very rug-like. I think I will have to make two of them and sew them together back to back. I’ve got plenty of that cotton ribbon to do so. I just hope I’m not totally and completely bored to death with it before I finish it. I don’t want it to become a UFO!

Today’s Lesson

Every time I go out running I learn something.  Every single time.  I start to wonder each time I put on my Adidas “what light bulb will go on this time?”.  Today’s lesson:  Don’t Get Cocky.

Last Sunday I ran 9km and thought I had this running thing all figured out.  I felt great.  I decided to start running 3 days a week, but to keep the week days really minimal.  Wednesday I ran 2.5km.  Friday I ran 2.5km.  I felt fine. No problems at all.  I was really feeling like today’s goal of 10km would also be doable without a problem.

Of course that’s when you get hit from behind by that person who keeps you humble.  As I wrote just a little earlier, it rained most of today so I didn’t put on the running shoes until 3pm.  The rain stopped and I figured it was now or never.

I also thought that I didn’t need to bike over to Sloterplas – I would RUN there instead and run around the park and then run back home.  That should be about 10km.

Immediately I realized that that wouldn’t work.  I had to warm up first.  I did a brisk walk from home to the park for my warm up.  I needed that much time just to feel at all like running.

When I got to the park I started running my usual route.  After only 2km I stopped to walk.  My legs ached.  My hips ached.  I could barely move.  Damn.  This was not the sharp pain of shin splints – I seem to be over that stage at least.  This was just overall aching in my calves and knees and butt and hips.  This was the result of doing too much too soon.

I managed to make it through 7.5 long km’s today, but I walked 1/3 of them.  It was humbling.  It was a setback.  It was certainly a learning experience.  I learned today that I can’t continue to increase my weekend long run AND start running more days per week.  Lesson learned.  Won’t do it again.

On a lighter note:  How do you know when you are a real runner?

When you have already moved your bowels that day but during your run you suddenly, out of the blue, have this huge urge to take a crap.  This has never happened to me before.  I only read about these things happening and you see it on tv when runners suddenly dive into a porta-potty.  Today at 6.5km this hit me.  At 6.75km I decided I’d better stop running and just walk because my sphincter isn’t THAT strong!  I made it home ok and took care of business.  Sheesh.


Today was the kind of Sunday I’ve been longing for for months.  I only did fun things.  I only did things that I really wanted to do.  What a luxury!  What a relief!  And the weather cooperated perfectly by raining nearly all day so it was easy to hang out in your jams and read blogs, and listen to music, watch a little tv, do some knitting and make scrambled eggs.  Ahhhhh.

I was getting just a tiny bit bored with the socks-that-can’t-be-shown-online so I decided to break the day by starting a new project that I really would like to have done before we move to our new house IN ONLY 1 MONTH!!  I seem to always do this to myself – start a project with a deadline.  Don’t I have enough pressure in my life?  Am I a stress junky?

Luckily this new project is dead easy and works up very very fast.  It’s crochet.  GASP!  Yes!  Crochet!  The sad step sister to knitting.  I haven’t crocheted anything in 30 years, but it was the first yarn craft I learned to do and was quite good at it once upon a time.  It’s just like riding a bike.  Your hands never forget.

I know there will be offended crocheters out there, and I’m sorry, but crochet is just not nearly as interesting as knitting.  There’s only so much you can do with a hook.  After knitting that lace shawl, the idea of crocheting lace just seems like child’s play.  But, and here’s the BUT with this project, the designers of this thing are mathematicians.  Everything they design is based on mathematics.  Too cool.

I’m making something very simple, a spiral in two colors, designed by the folks at Woolly Thoughts.  They describe it as: “Mathematically, this is an Archimedean Spiral. That means it moves out from the centre by the same distance on each rotation.”

They designed this to be a chair cushion cover, but I’m making it with heavy cotton ribbon and it will be a kitchen rug for our new kitchen.  I’d like to make 2 of them.  I’ll probably have enough yarn left over to also make dish cloths.  I bought this ribbon stuff on a really big sale so I bought a lot of it and I’ve had absolutely no idea what to do with it until someone on Ravelry suggested I make dishcloths with it.  I then thought of kitchen rugs and then found this pattern.  Cool!  Here’s what I made in about 20 minutes:

You should check out the Woolly Thoughts website.  They do some very interesting things with math and design and knitting.  I especially like “Penrose” and wouldn’t mind making it someday.  Geometry in action!

M is for Muisjes

Muisjes (pronounced “mouse-yuhs”) mean literally “little mouses”.  Ok “little mice” in proper English.  According to Wikipedia,  they got that name because anise seeds look like little mice, and the flavor of these little candy balls is that of anise.  The little balls look more like mouse turds, but that’s just my warped sense of humor.

And why would you be served these little treats?  Again, according to Wikipedia, and those writers know everything, as far back as the 17th century people were served hard dry biscuits, with a spread of butter, and topped with muisjes when a baby is born.  You used to be able to get only white muisjes.  In the 20th century they started making pink and white ones.  Only very recently (in the memory of 30 somethings now having kids) could you also get blue and white ones.  Now, when a baby boy is born, and visitors come to see the new arrival, they are served muisjes, just like you see above.

Our next door neighbors just had a baby boy.  He is absolutely adorable (really), is only just 2 weeks old, and already has a personality different from his 3 year old sister.  As someone who doesn’t have kids, this whole newborn thing is fascinating to me.  We were there yesterday, our second visit to the baby F.  And we were served the above photographed muisjes.

Muisjes are very crunchy, and taste faintly of black licorice, the biscuits underneath are very dry and hard and kind of tasteless.  They aren’t anything you would be tempted to serve at any other time.  No one ever says “Man I wish someone would have a baby so I could get muisjes!”  They are traditional, and sweet and nice, but certainly not special for the food part of it.  It’s just another “only in the Netherlands” kind of thing that I think is really special and sets this place apart from other places.