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16 posts from August 2005

Vacay!August 29, 2005

I'm out, peeps. I'm working for the next couple of days on some writing things, tying up loose ends, so I'll be busy with that, and then I'm out of town for a long, long weekend to Strawberry, our annual bluegrass festival trip. Lala gets to go this year! Yay! Oh, my god, I HAVE to remember the tickets! I have such a huge fear of driving four and a half hours, only to be turned away at the gate. It's a valid fear, too. I'd do it.

But dude, I can't wait to be sitting, listening to music, doing some knitting, and some spinning, and some napping. If I owe you an email, I'll catch you next week. I'm tired of online, you know? Gotta take a little break.

In the meantime, here's some new music for you: Nora O'Connor. I lurve her. Go check her out in iTunes, or I noticed that Amazon has some quick sound samples. She also has a new album out with Lala's other girlfriend, Kelly Hogan (HOT) and John Wesley Harding. And they're playing tonight  in San Francisco, at Cafe du Nord. So starts my Music Week. Oh, yeah.

(vacation) MWAH!

AarghAugust 26, 2005

Apparently I've forgotten how to knit.

I was designing this aran, mm-kay? Not that hard. I figgered out the motifs I wanted, and swatched them, measured, did the math (I love the math). Cast on for the 244 stitches I needed, joined, knit the ribbed band. All of it. Lots of ribbing.

Then I realized in my notes I'd added a motif, which was going to make the sweater a good three inches bigger around than I'd wanted it. As it's going to be for a small person, those inches mattered. If it was for me, I'd just have accepted a bigger sweater. With a misplaced, odd-man-out motif under the armpit. Whatever.

But I ripped it out.

Cast on the correct number, 232. Ribbed it all. Lots of ribbing. Lots of boring ribbing. Decided to count one last time -- don't know why I did this, but I did. I was TWENTY stitches over. I had been knitting 252 stitches the whole time. And I'd counted twice!

I ripped it out.

Cast on again. Counted my stitches approximately one gajillion times. Did the ribbing. Lots of ribbing. Almost done, I smoothed it to admire it.

A MOBIUS STRIP.

I've never done that in all my knitting life.

I threw it into the corner of my knitting bag and we're not speaking. Stupid complicated 2X2 ribbing.

But I've been working on the wedding dress. I've forgotten to install decrease rows three times now. And on this decrease row that I'm on, I've forgotten twice to do so when I'm supposed to. So I'm taking a break from tinking to write this.

I'm a knit-moron lately, and I don't know why. Humbling, really. I'd make a sock, but it probably wouldn't fit anyone I know. Or anyone human.

(Thanks for laughing at my post yesterday. That felt great. Happy weekend!)

This Should Shake it UpAugust 25, 2005

Hey. Pssst.

Can you keep a secret?

No, I mean, really. You can't tell anyone. If this got out, oooooh. I'd be in trouble. But I've got to tell someone or I'll just bust.

So, did you hear what happened?

Em goes to the store yesterday and bumps into Wendy in the condiment aisle. There were some words, apparently, about who could kick whose ass, Scout or Lucy. It got ugly. Wendy pulled Em's hair and threatened to spin it. Em whipped out a pair of travel scissors and sliced her corrugated hem.

Seriously, you can't breathe a word of this.

I guess the cat-fight thing only came up because Cari and Claudia had been over in Atlantic City (you already know about their little problem, right? Oh, damn.... Don't tell anyone I slipped, but that's why Claudia's stash is so limited, and why Cari's dog are so small. Their finances are pretty strapped most of the time, if you know what I mean.) Anyway, while they were there, there was the usual blogshop talk, Cari talking about cats versus dogs, how to shop for spinning wheels and elephant tusks, and they were just walking along, and then they saw something.

You'll never guess.

Right there, in Atlantic City, (they were walking back to the motel -- no money left for a cab -- you know how it goes), they ran into the Harlot coming out of this run-down building in a real bad part of town. She looked tore-up, all scared and small, and she was clutching something under her coat. When she saw the girls, she mumbled something about "crack silk haze" but c'mon. We know what she was really talking about, right? Yarn. Yeah, right. You know they don't call her that for nothin'.

Where was I? You're such a good listener. I know I can trust you. Not like that Carrie. She's something else, huh? Twins. Yeah, right. You know she's just making up that twin sister Cathy, right? Glasses on, glasses off, like we're gonna fall for that. I mean, NORma. She's got some nerve, huh?

I never talk like this, really. You don't mind, do you? We all need to vent every now and then, huh? It just gets to me, it all piles up sometimes, and I realize that I'm just so MAD about what I see going on in blogland. Frauds. They're all frauds.

Just look at Ryan and her Dulaan scam. Who's going to believe that knitters made that many items for charity? That's just ridiculous. Just because she has The Mighty Knitter (TMK) at her beck and call to do all that knitting.... Well, I don't think she's paying her enough. All I'm saying.

And I guess while I'm blabbing, I'll just mention this: Iris? That stuff about the temp job? You know she's actually the CEO of a company that imports alpacas to exploit at fiber festivals, right? She's loaded and she has way more fiber than she'll ever be able to use. Okay, I guess I do sound a little bitter. Aren't you?

You really didn't know any of this? Oh, geez. I can't believe I'm such a big-mouth today. Must be the champagne. You know Alison? He always tell me to watch what I'm saying after the bubbly.

Oh, damn. Now that was a big secret to let slip.

We can't gossip any more like this. Lala will be here soon to pick me up, and if she thinks we're in any way involved, like with a capital I, she'll go all pugilistic on you. No, Janine, really. I know I was supposed to help you out of the restaurant and all, what with your foot, but you REALLY don't want Lala to see us with your arm over my shoulder. You know those Buddhists.  Just hop out. C'mon. Hippity hop. You can do it.

And thanks for listening.
 

Must Be An August ThingAugust 23, 2005

Because the blog ennui is on. Julia and Em even doubled up on the blahs, without knowing it.

I've taken to making myself little notes of blog ideas, because when I sit down to write, I cain't think of a thing that might tickle anyone's interest, least of all mine. So I just decided to steal my own comment from Em's site:

But the point, for me, at blog inception, was to write. And it keeps us writing, no matter how trivial or silly it seems. And it keeps our friends happy. Plus, archives are the BEST way to find out when a lease is up.

It's true. I can't count the number of times I've used my own archives for reference. What yarn did I use? What was the name of that restaurant? What was I thinking when I signed up for X? It's like a searchable public brain.

Plus, it's writing. And that's what it's all about.

But, man, BLAH! We need to have a blog party, yo. Get some folks drunk and start rumors and peep on people making out behind the barn. Spice things up 'round these parts.

NoisyAugust 22, 2005

There's a tree-trimmer in my backyard -- the fellow who owns the big old sycamore behind me has decided to take it out, so they had to back a tree-eater-truck up my driveway after I moved my car. The guy could barely drive the truck, and it was only luck that I had JUST walked across the driveway when he put it in drive instead of reverse and shot out into the street. He looked kind of sheepish. I'm sure I looked kind of terrified.

The cats are not enjoying the noise. They're sure they're next. No, what're next are the ANTS that have moved my house over by three inches overnight. I'm going to vacuum them up and mail them back to Uncle Milton. I especially like how their entrance is in my bedroom, so that the mass has to tromp through the bedroom and living room in order to get to the kitchen. But even with all the best holistic advice that y'all have given me in the past, I find that the best way to deal with them is to (Lala, my little Buddhist, close your eyes) shoot Raid into the crack from which they're tromping, and then 409 the heck out of the rest of them, killing them and cleaning my floors at the same time. Erg. I need to mop now. I have the serious cleaning urge.

But first, some photos of SpinPorn. I'm finally spinning again, having had time last week while I was sick. This is the most beautifully colored green/pink from Carolina Homespun, 70% merino, 30% tussah silk. I got 8 ounces from them, and strangely enough, I found another four of almost identical stuff at Deep Color, so I think I'll have enough for nice big lace something. It's two-ply, closer to sport weight than lace, but I LOVE it. It's the finest weight I've ever managed.

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With the flash, to show the silk,

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And up close, because I like it:

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Also, This Just In:

Why My Girlfriend Is Better Than Your Husband

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With all respect to your husband, of course. But while having a Sunday morning lie-in, Lala decided she wanted to learn how to use the drop spindle, which, it turns out, she was AMAZING at. She understood the fiber much more intuitively than I ever did when starting on the spindle. And dude, that's HOT.

Yesterday afternoon we went to a fundraising party for our friend Jodi Terry (who's running the AIDS Marathon in Honolulu, the same one I did last year -- go support her! She's as much of a runner as I was last year, having not run a mile since high school, and she just ran 14 miles last week! Run, Jodi, run!). 

At the party Lala was spinning like a, like a, well, like a spinner, and a gal named Indira wanted to try.

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    Another natural.

Oh, spinning is good. So is the nectarine I'm eating. Hope your day is happy.

KeplerAugust 19, 2005

Yo! My new favorite sweater! I knew I liked that Emily for a reason. And it's a free pattern! Isn't it amazing? I have to make it.

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Pattern HERE.  Emily rocks.

In a Desperate Attempt to Avoid WritingAugust 18, 2005

I have noticed that my to-do list on my beloved Treo reads:

2 shutterfly heads
Dump synopsis
Pack dom part
Schedule tsang
Send hotty patt

This is why I don't lock my phone with a password. It's safe as it is.

PickathonAugust 17, 2005

I want to blog a little, even though I'm still feeling like someone's filling a water-balloon inside my head. If I don't, I'll forget about the weekend, and filling in the blanks will feel cursory instead of fun.

But whew. I'm tired. Been up for thirty minutes and I'm ready to go back to bed.

Lessee.

So I had Thursday night off, and managed to get about four hours sleep before hopping on a plane to Portland. I will never fly without my iPod Shuffle again. All the difference in the world. You can watch small children cry and feel badly for them and not for yourself. In the breaks between songs you can hear the guy behind you transact business with words like "profit-shared edge of margin" and "bastard son of a bitch" and just think about how great the next song is going to be.

A friend of a friend named Robin, who was passing through Portland agreed to pick me up at the airport when I got in at nine am. She was driving around the Pacific Northwest in her '64 Dodge Dart, and while I had to admit it was weird to be picked up by a total stranger, it worked out great. We didn't even head straight for the festival, since Lala, Camilla and Emily were still driving up from California and were hours and hours away.

So we went into Portland proper and ate breakfast and shopped, including at this fab store, the Portland Outdoor Store.

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All the western wear your heart could desire. At prices our thin purses could not support, of course, but gorgeous nonetheless.

Robin was at this point my new best friend, confidences and sex stories shared by eleven AM, and we traipsed all over the city, my yarn-dar even finding The Yarn Garden, a beautiful store with an attached coffee shop. While I only walked out with one hank of BearFoot, I saw a bunch of yarn I'd never seen before in stores, including some stray New Zealand companies I'd never heard of, and some Argentinian ones that were new to me. Now, you know, when you walk into a yarn shop and find something you've never seen before, that's a good day.

In the late afternoon, we decided to head to the Pickathon. See, at many, many festivals I've attended, I've been the first one there, and I've been the one to have to pick the camp spot. I HATE picking the camp spot. For the rest of the damn weekend, I always wonder and worry -- Is this okay? Is your tent level? Sorry, but there wasn't any shade..... So we were glad when the girls got there first and set up a spot. I had been stressed about finding them. At Live Oak, we always camp in roughly the same place and it's maybe only 3000 attendants. But at Strawberry, with more than 5000 people camping cheek-to-cheek, it's almost impossible to find your camping mates if you don't have a detailed hand-drawn map. Lala just said to drive in and look near the RVs. I panicked a little, but swallowed it down.

So we drove down the dirt roads (arms hanging out the red and black vintage Dart, Dolly Parton on the radio, not much better) and got to the front gate. Where there was no line. They banded our arms and we drove on. To the meadow. Where there were, like, no cars.

Dude, this was the SMALLEST festival I'd EVER been to. I'd guess maybe 800 people attended. There was this huge meadow and little clumps of cars parked randomly through it. I was SO excited.

We found their cars, pitched our tents, and called our friends who were up at the stage. Yep. Cell reception at a bluegrass festival. Also: We drove out of camp to the Safeway that was less than two miles away when we needed D batteries. I have a new favorite way to camp.

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    Robin, Camilla, and Dart

So that was our drinkin' night. Everyone has to have one, and oh, did we. The music was great, the pulled pork was fantastic, and the playing went on pretty late. There was a good jam at a van parked nearby (when we were putting up our tents, they tromped over and said, rather mightily, "We're musicians, and we're going to be playing late all night, in case you might be disturbed...."), but all I did was sing and knit, since I didn't feel like messing up on the guitar.

I wore my new favorite shirt:

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(They have a new CD out, you know. And they'll be playing for FREE along with everyone else that's great in the bluegrass/old-time world at Hardly-Strictly in October. Seriously, check out that link. Dolly? Ralph? Gillian? Doc? Emmylou? Robert Earl Keen AND Steve Earle? All for FREE? My mind still boggles. But that's not the festival I was talking about.)

So I found out one really important thing: I am never camping without an air mattress again. We didn't want to talk about it too much, since our friends had nothing but blankets under their sleeping bags, but the air mattress? Up there with stitch markers, yo. We were SO comfortable. And warm. And it was a queen size, so it was even bigger than at home!

But I found out one other important thing: Do not EVER leave an autoharp next to the bed, where someone (me) might roll onto it in the middle of the night. Worst wakeup call ever. Damn hippies.

On Saturday, once we got over our collective hangovers, we enjoyed the music which was nonstop. Seriously. I've never seen anything like it. There was a stage in front, the main stage. If you were to spin on your heel, there was a small stage at the back of the music area. Between sets on the main stage, they put a band on the smaller stage, so you could seriously just turn around and listen. That little stage's band would play until the main stage's sound check was done, and then the bigger stage would play. From 11am until 1:30am, there was non-stop music. No midafternoon break, just music.

And here's how small it was. I took these standing in one spot. The people in back are far away because those were the only shade structures, but they can see the stage just fine. Here's looking back:

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And turning around to look forward:

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At any point all weekend, one could walk up to the stage and plop down and watch.

And Lala's two biggest musical heroes were there, Danny Barnes (banjo player extraordinaire, of the defunct Bad Livers) and Cathy Irwin, of Freakwater, Lala's fave band ever. I will not give the punchline away, because I said I wouldn't (but SHE will), but I know I can safely say that she met them both. And that her banjo, seen here, was signed by Danny.

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And because Camilla has bigger cojones than anyone in the world, we got backstage and  met Jolie Holland, seen here with a Be Good Tanya:

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It was all just too much.

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    See? Just too much.

Lala and I drove back together on Sunday. It's one long-assed drive, I can tell you that. But now that I'm eating healthy, most of the time, it was a treat to be stuck on the road with limited choices. This was the best I could do:

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Dude. Monte Cristo, fried sourdough with ham and turkey, dusted with powdered sugar and pineapple, fries, coffee, and a strawberry shake, eaten at the Ranch Cafe, a place that had both Elvis and John Wayne on the walls. Good stuff.

It's no wonder I have the flu. Totally worth it.

August 15, 2005

We got back into town late last night, after one of the best music festivals I've ever been to. I have so much to tell you, but I need a day or two, please. After not sleeping well last week, then getting four hours sleep before the plane ride up to Portland on Friday, then partying like the rockstar Whoreshoes I was with for two days and a fourteen hour drive home yesterday, I am a sick puppy. Flu, I think, with fever and sore throat and headache and various ills. I've slept all day, and I'm planning on keeping that up.

So I'll tell you about it later, and for now, here's just a taste of the fun:

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    Lala sets up bar

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    Always tip well

Several things I'm thinking about: August 12, 2005

  • Wonderfalls. Why didn't anyone tell me about this show? I'm watching the repeats on the new Logo channel and lovin' em.
  • I know myself pretty well. Like tonight, when I was packing, I was putting clothes into my take-everywhere canvas travel carry-on. When I unzipped a small compartment, I felt a rustle. It was a note. A small, folded up piece of white paper. I carefully unfolded it, expecting to find an old address tag. Instead, it said in my own handwriting, "Do not use this pocket until you wash out the melted Cadbury Creme Egg." I would NEVER have remembered that melted egg.
  • Pickathon. I'm going. Fabulous line-up, camping out, bluegrass, and no worries other than bringing no chairs. I'm inordinately annoyed with myself that I didn't pack Lala's car with chairs, because after three days of knitting sitting on the ground, I'm going to be a big whiny effin grouch. But oh, well. Lala and friends drove up yesterday, and I'm on an early flight today, so by the time you read this, I'll be in Portland, looking for a ride from a friend of a friend who's going to pick me up either at the airport or somewhere in Portland after I call her when I land. I don't normally travel this sloppily, but it's kind of liberating. We're only staying a couple of days for the festival and then driving at high rates of speed back down the west coast to get Lala to work on Monday, so I'm not packing much more than some tank tops and a bunch of yarn. Can't wait.

Y'all have a great weekend, and I'll catch up on email when I get home.

AlsoAugust 11, 2005

THIS makes me so happy.

Pajama Day

I have to tell you what we did on Sunday. I had declared it a Pajama Day, which really only means that I accept no invitations and make no plans. Since I don't think I even own pajamas, it's only a pajama day in Celia-spirit. I've started to block these off once a month in my calendar, and so far I've had two of 'em. They're fantastic.

So we slept in. Nowhere to go! Didn't have to get up at 3:30am to go run a half-marathon! It was great!

Then we got up and took the drive down the coast that we've been meaning to make for, like, forever. First we took the dogs to Fort Funston. I couldn't believe that Lala had lived in the Bay Area for so long with dogs, and had never been there. It's one of the only places in San Francisco that dogs can still be off-leash, but that was just a small part of the fun.

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Dude. The hang-gliders. I've seen 'em before, but I'd forgotten just how awe-inspiring they are. And Lala had never seen them, hanging over the ocean, over the cliffs. The thing about Fort Funston is that they're RIGHT over you. You look directly at the people who look like they're going to fall out of the sky at any moment. Great photo HERE and more HERE. And there's a webcam here, but it's the middle of the night right now, and I can't tell whether it's any good or not.

Hang1

I remember a few years back, when Bethany and I walked the Avon 3-Day Walk for breast cancer, we were routed through Fort Funston. All during the walk, people driving by had honked for us, keeping our feet moving on the 20 miles-per-day. When we were walking at the fort, the hang-gliders cheered and clapped from above us. I remember loving that.

This time, we engaged with a hang-glider even more closely. One soared down quite close to us as we walked along the cliff-edge, and I waved at him. Then he turned around and soared back and hovered above us, looking down. I grabbed Lala and made her turn around and look.

Which is when he dove straight down at us. Straight. Down. It's a mostly silent sport, but there's this loud wind-whistle as the glider hurtles right at your head. PhoooooooooOOOOOOO. I saw him grin at us, I swear I did. I might be making the grin up, placing it in my memory, but I don't think so.

We didn't move, obviously knowing that he wasn't going to commit suicide by crash landing on our heads. It was like a really fun reverse roller-coaster, being freaked out by standing on the land, not moving.

Lala was SO excited by the hang gliders. Miss Idaho and Harriet ran in big loops with huge eyes and happy grins, and so did Lala.

And then it was my turn:

Melks
Because Fengari, the beautiful little yarn store in Half-Moon Bay, was having a sidewalk sale.

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Now, did you ever? Yarn! Sidwalk sale! And you won't believe me, I know, when I tell you that I didn't buy anything. Well, not from the sidewalk, anway. There might have been a sock yarn incident on the inside, but we're not talking about that.

Then we had olallieberry pie at Duarte's and looked at the fog rolling in as we drove back up the coast.

Then we came home and the dogs were STILL this happy:

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    We like to jump UP!

A good day was had by all. Pajama Days rock.

FatAugust 10, 2005

I saw the cardiologist today. It was a good visit. He was nice. He spent lots of time with me, and answered all my questions, and gave me an EKG (which was totally interesting -- I felt as if a six-year old were putting stickers all over me) and then said I HAVE TO LOSE WEIGHT.

And can I tell ya? For a girl who likes her weight, who really believes she was okay with exactly what she looks like, to have a man tell you that, while his eyes go up and down you, feels kinda crappy.

His eyes went from the weight listed on the chart to my body, and then back down again. Then up to my chest. Then back to the number again. Then over to my shoulders. I am NOT making this up, I swear to god.

And then he wouldn't let the "what do you eat" thing go. Dude. C'mon. I only eat veggies. And brown rice. Don't I look like that kind of person? Shut up. I like tofu. I like green things. I would never think about chowing down on some nice, crisp bacon with fluffly cheesy eggs on the side (typo = dies. Wow).

Then I started telling more of the truth. Okay, sometimes I eat Taco Bell. Every once in a great while, maybe a cheeseburger. Or two. Maybe some Mexican food when I'm at work. Or every other night.

He kept raising his eyebrows as I upped the ante. It was embarrassing to see him not believe me (and before you defend me, he was right to not believe me). Okay, some cookies sometimes. Maybe some "healthy" chips? Maybe a little ice cream. He nodded. Maybe some more ice cream. He nodded again. Maybe a shitload of ice cream with lots of hot fudge and brownies, to boot. And some MORE hot fudge! And whipped cream!! Get outta my way!

Snap! The folder closed, and he explained that the fat in my body, while not at the obese level, is still chemically reacting with and against the triglycerides that I have to lower. So he says I need to run more. (Gasp!) And eat better. Period.

And he did say I was right in not going on the meds my silly primary care doctor badly prescribed -- he'd rather me manage the triglycerides with diet and exercise if at all possible, which he thinks it is, since I'm young and have no terrible habits (he doesn't know about the yarn stash), and since the meds can sometimes damage the liver.

More veggies! Less sugar and fat (even fruit is too sugary, he says). Lala, who likes her some girl-shaped girls, is devastated and might just kick his ass. My little trained pugilist.

But I'll just try to be healthier, which will be easier thanks in no small part to your fabulous suggestions of earlier this month, and I'll try not to rankle at a stranger telling me to LOSE WEIGHT (yes, all caps is SO necessary).

Weird Things Happen To MeAugust 4, 2005

Yesterday, as I was signing the UPS log, the UPS guy leaned over and touched my big toe. And said, "Nice."

Just.... wha?

Strangers don't touch strangers, dude. He wasn't freaky; he seemed very nice. I don't mean to, or even think I should, make a complaint. Apparently he must appreciate chipped sparkly polish.

But it was weird.

(But the reason he was there was fabulous: I was receiving a box of Penzey's spices from Gwen, who sent them in response to my plea for vegetable recipe ideas. I'm so excited! Now I have to read their catalog and figure out how to use them, but hey, one of the spice mixtures even has chipotle in it! And there's this shallot-pepper mix that looks so good, and a bunch of others! I'm spoiled and happy and learning how to cook!)

(Aside numero dos: Although I am cooking way more nowadays, I'm still pretty flippin' clueless. I decided to attempt bhindi masala the other night, a crunchy, spicy, Indian okra dish. It called for chopped green chilies. I wasn't sure how many to chop, so I sliced up half the basket, maybe about forty of them. I thought they were like little green bell peppers. When sauteing them, I noticed I couldn't breathe, all-of-a-sudden-like, and had to open the windows and turn on the fan. Then I ate some of the okra with some rice, and thought it was mighty hot. And then my mouth heated up more. And more. And more. I thought I might never eat again. I didn't even bother with ice water or milk, I just licked the ice cube trays in an attempt to cool off my mouth. Finally I referred to the recipe, where I found that I should have chopped TWO green chilies. Damn it.)

HijackedAugust 3, 2005

Yesterday, a couple of knit dorks met up for coffee.

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Yes, Stephanie was in town and I hijacked her for a little while prior to her stunning speaking engagement at Stash. I hear that earlier in the day she had tripped and fallen into Artfibers where perhaps she bought some yarn and perhaps she did not. That's what happens when you trip and fall and swipe your Mastercard through the machine on your way down. Or so I hear.

She made the classic mistake, however. Damn. For such a knitting pro, she forgot the basic rules of engagement.

Never. Ever. Leave. The. Sock. Alone.

Ever.

It might try to go home with the wedding dress. You know how this one ends. Someone always gets hurt.

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Or the barista might get her hands on it. (Check for piercings, Steph. All I'm saying.)

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Or worse, the sock might turn. You didn't know they did that, did you? (Oh, you did?) Poor Candi. It was nice knowing her.

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Actually, Candi was running outside with The Sock, planning on getting me to take a picture of it committing hara-kiri under a car tire, but Stephanie came back out of the yarn shop where she'd gone to use the bathroom (so she says) and totally caught us. Or she would have caught us, had she thought to wonder why we'd been outside and why we'd spun on our heels and raced back inside when she saw us. Bless her little heart, she never even asked.

I have to say, if you haven't seen her speak yet, you MUST. There was something so awesome about sitting in a crowd, listening to her talk, realizing that yes, she IS the Comedian of Our People. Imagine. Surrounded by (mostly) women, all knitting away, just dying laughing over her comments. Jokes! Jokes about KNITTING! Little asides that only people like us would get! Could there be anything funnier to us? She's a funny, funny lady, and she deserves every bit of adulation that she receives.

Sadly, I had to leave early to go to work. But I got to hijack The Sock. That ruled.

3:10August 1, 2005

I did it! I actually ran the half-marathon! And what's more, I did it with very little training, (longest training run was six miles) and I did it in three hours ten minutes, shaving a whole 25 minutes off my times from when I ran the real marathon back in December (I ran both halves then in the same time of 3:35, so I don't think longer distance was part of it).

Now, I don't recommend my training method. My thighs are burning so much today that when I walk I find a rolling motion, weeble-wobbly, is best. But no blisters save a little one on my pinky toe, no shin splints, no other ailments. It's so strange. When I was in training last year, I think I kept injuring myself and then kept running, so every long run was an opportunity for more pain. This run, I just shocked my body into doing it, and it went along, probably thinking we were going to stop for coffee and a danish at any moment, and then it never did.

(Remember, until last year, I ran nothing but a hot bath. So this is exciting. Excuse my long-ass excited post.)

Lala completely selflessly volunteered to drive us to the starting line in the morning, since none of the parking garages would be open and BART doesn't run that early. She lived to regret her generosity, however, when, at nine-thirty the night before I said I was going to bed.
"Why?"
"Because I have to get up in six hours."
Whoops. Until then I had withheld the crucial information about when I was going to wake her to drive us. Yep. 3:30am. The look of pure horror on her face was dreadful. She couldn't have looked more stricken.

But she was a champ, and we picked up Joanna along the way. (I actually drove and didn't pour Lala back into the driver's seat until she dropped us off in the City.) We dropped off our sweats in marked bags, to be delivered to us at the end of the race (nice, that), and then strolled to the start. Because we're slow(ish), we had the early 5am start time. Walking up, my friend Geena happened to see me in the sea of 15,000 other people and she started the race with us.

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    Note that my runner number starts with my phone number

Geena had been adhering to an even more radical training method than mine -- she'd done a three-miler! Let's just say that while we were confident that Joanna would make it, with her twelve-mile training run under her running belt, we just wanted to get to the bridge before they closed it to runners.

See, the San Francisco Marathon had gained the rights to run over the Golden Gate Bridge for the first time in years. That's why so many more people were signed up for the first half of the marathon, which runs from the Embarcadero at Mission down to the bridge along the waterfront and into Golden Gate Park, as opposed to the second half, which is flatter, but less scenic, going through the city streets. To have the right to say you'd run a race across the city's signature bridge! Oh, yeah.

So Geena and I just hoped to make it that far. The bridge started at about mile 5.5, and we had to be there by a certain time or they'd close it to runners and open all lanes back to traffic. We started the race, completely without fanfare, not like Honolulu at all. There were no fireworks, it was a much smaller crowd, and we didn't even hear a starting gunshot. We just heard a voice yell "Go!" over the speakers, and we got.

There is nothing like running with a lot of people in the cool, wet darkness, through streets you always drive, the streetlights intermittent, watches that aren't yours beeping all around you. The fog was thick and cold yesterday, which makes for perfect running weather, I think. It got a little windy sometimes, and that made us cold, but it was preferable to being too hot by a long shot.

And we ran. Geena and I expected to walk a lot, I think. But we ran, and we kept on running. We kept thinking that the three of us would split up, since it's terribly to hard to maintain a pace either slower or faster than is right for you. I've never managed to be able to run with friends, only with people placed in my groups because they're the right pace for me. But we looked at each other as we ran, time for a walk? Okay. More running? Cool. That's a hella big hill. So walking.

We saw Mariko flash past early on -- can I just say, that super eggplant runs FAST. Never did catch up to her -- by the time we were done, she was back in Oakland. Seriously. But it was cool seeing her run.

We made it to the bridge with tons of time to spare, and we were still running. We were THRILLED. The excitement was palpable, as people rounded through the toll plaza ON FOOT and onto the span. Being slower, of course, we tried to stay off to the right, which meant we were running right next to the raised walkway onto which we weren't allowed. Between the walkway and the roadway, there's about an eight inch gap and you can look right down into the water. Freaky, but neato. I kept feeling like I would fall through.

It was super foggy and windy up there, though. Besides through that gap, there was no scenery. When we ran under the span supports, those huge red metal objects that fly into the air, making the Golden Gate so recognizable, we couldn't even see the middle of them, let alone the top. We heard foghorns but could see no boats. We couldn't see land at all. But we ran.

Bridgerunm

The above photo is tiny, since I need to buy it from marathonfoto.com in order to make it large (which I totally will), but I actually remember being on the bridge, seeing the photographer, and trying to be silly. I think I succeeded.

Also silly is this one:

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Joanna noted that she usually leaves her head off her pics, anyway.

At this point, both Geena and I could have stopped for any reason and been happy with ourselves, but we kept running. And running. And running.

Best part: It was fun! That was the most surprising thing! We talked and laughed and chatted with people (including the 71 year old guy who looked sixty, who was running his FOUR HUNDREDTH marathon that day -- he told us that and then lit out, leaving us to eat his foggy dust.)

And the other best part? I didn't have to run the whole thing! I kept thinking, "I'm almost done! I don't have to run a marathon today!" It was fabulous.

And then, we finished! Have I mentioned I LOVE a finish line? Three hours and ten minutes. Woot!! Again, no fanfare to this one, no one was cheering, but dude, I cheered myself over that line in a big way. Got aluminum blankets and bananas from the nice volunteers, caught a bus back to the full marathon finish line with Joanna and Becca (who had finished in 2:49, go Becca!).

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I won't go into details, because I tried, and it wasn't funny, but we had several funny Losing Things moments, including the losing of people, and at one point I ended up with Geena's phone, but no Geena, and no way to find her. I knew she didn't know my phone number by heart, and there was NO way we were going to find her in the sea of thousands and thousands of people all milling about at the full marathon finish line, so I just gave up and yelled, "GEENAAAAAAA!" And I heard, "Rachael?!" Just like that, found her again. We had been meant to run together.

And meant to eat together. Six of us went to Mel's for breakfast, had lovely corned beef hash and eggs for protein, and beer for carbohydrates. This at nine in the morning. I'm telling you.

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    We are all about health, people.

Then it was back to the finish line, where we cheered Jennifer to the end.

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That's her in red, both feet off the ground. She made the full race in under six hours, running the last nine miles on a stress fracture. She's now on crutches and pretty miserable. But she's a star. She did it!

And so did we! I contentedly go back to my little three-mile runs now, awaiting the day the bug bites again and I have to run another half-marathon. I think, having earned the bragging rights of the full Honolulu marathon, I won't ever need to do another full one. But I loved that half.