I wanted to share this here for all my friends to see because I'm just chuffed beyond measure. I have a long way to go to reach my goals, but I'm still SO proud of myself for overcoming a major mental block, working hard, and making real progress. So here you are, blog friends, a bit of crowing by yours truly.

This week's been a bit of good and a bit of bad. My weight is the same as last week's weigh in, though it's fluctuated up and down throughout the week and at one point I thought this was going to be a 2 lb. week. I had a few splurges, including a concert (with drinks) on Wednesday night, adding dairy back into my diet (which was probably a mistake), high salt intake, and also the struggle of not getting enough sleep.

However, my major triumph is that I feel like my asthma is FINALLY under control, thanks to the addition of a long-acting inhaler in addition to my fast-acting one. It feels SO good to exercise without getting red, sweaty, and short of breath. Asthma attacks are a terrible and scary experience. You taste blood in your mouth, you can't breathe in or catch your breath, your heart pounds... I can't believe I went my whole life thinking there was something wrong with me and I just wasn't good enough to be one of those fit people who exercises. It is such a relief to realize there's nothing wrong with me, I can do this, and it wasn't my fault I struggled so long.

I completed week 4 of the couch to 5k program and for the first time I felt like the run was way too easy. For the first time, I lost track of how long I'd been running, stopped watching the clock, and ran longer than the program suggested without even noticing. And for the first time I feel GREAT the day after a run instead of achy and tired (probably because for the first time I did a proper stretch afterward... I think stretching in the shower is my new thing. :) )

So, I am considering this week to be a major success even though the scale doesn't show any changes. I am full of pride and amazement at myself. Yay me!


In other news, Arlen and I got three new chicks, two Ameraucanas and another Barred Rock to add to the flock. The garden is planted with peas, sweet peas, and more raspberries, and the perennials are coming up nicely, including lots of strawberries, all different types of herbs, hollyhocks, and chrysanthemums. Last year's lettuce beds helpfully re-seeded themselves and we will be in our salad days soon. :)

Wednesday night's Parlotones concert was amazing. It really cemented my respect for them all as musicians and it was great to go to a small show (about 100 people) and to get a chance to meet them all and have a bit of a chat. Please do yourselves a favor and go buy the Stardust Galaxies album. You'll thank me later. I'd also forgotten how much I love a good concert, and how much I love good music. Music is such an emotional experience for me that I tend to avoid listening at all when life gets difficult. I remember being brought to tears by George Winston's December album as a little kid, something the right music still does to me. Goosebumps, breathlessness, the right chords still have that impact. It's just too easy for me to shy away from that sensation when it might result in a loss of control. Anyway, I will keep trying to be brave in the face of musical feelings and work toward my inner desire to rock out all the time.
unaspenser: (mine goes to 11)
( Feb. 14th, 2011 08:15 am)
It's that time of year when I start chattering about my garden on a a regular basis. :) 

On Saturday as part of the Year of Idaho Food there was a seed exchange at the local Basque cultural center.  I went to a similar event last year at the farmer's market and got some fantastic seeds, some of which I tried and some of which I saved for this year's planting.  This year I brought mostly squash seeds to share, including my new favorite plant Kabocha.  It's a Japanese winter squash that is best after it's been stored for several months.  It's like a new and improved pumpkin that is perfect around Thanksgiving/Christmas and makes fantastic pies (among other things).  Its flesh is more orange, creamier, and sweeter than pumpkin, and the fruit is pretty and kind of stripey.  The best thing I brought home (along with lots of flowers and local varieties of beans, lettuce, cukes, squash, etc) was a full dried choircero pepper.  Choriceros are used to give chorizo sausage its unique flavor, and they're not easy to get your hands on.  The choriceros grown in Boise are mostly descended from the seeds one man brought over from the Basque country about a hundred years ago and they've been cultivated and shared since, probably leading to our own local variety.  The pepper smelled so good, so sweet and smoky, that I'm definitely going to cook with the flesh after I remove the seeds.  I love Idaho.

It's been unseasonably warm lately so I took the time to get out in the garden and prune our grape vines.  One vine is probably as old as the house (built in 1930) and it's fairly subdued.  The other is newer and a different variety (both are seedless white grapes) with almost a piney taste to the fruit.  It's very aggressive and had managed to climb at least 12 feet up into a nearby tree since I pruned it last spring.  I chopped it back fairly hard as it's so leafy and viney that the fruit hardly gets any sun.  A lady who met Arlen on craigslist last summer and came over to talk urban farming and to look at a freezer we were selling got to try some of our raisins from the older vine.  Apparently they were so good that she came over to beg cuttings this weekend to plant herself!  Luckily it was just after I'd pruned so we loaded her up with as much as she'd take.  Nice to share the love.

I also pruned the raspberry canes and the rose bushes and had fun pulling out the dead stuff from last year and checking out what's coming back to life.  The strawberries, herbs, and perennial flowers are all showing signs of life.  This will only be the second season for my garden (before that it was weedy yard) and the battle with weeds and grass is neverending.  The whole plot needs to be hoed/rototilled/weed blanketed/lasagna gardened but probably I will just dig out the spots as I plant them and try to remove anything that isn't what I'm trying to grow.  Hard since I've already planted so many perennials.  I guess the first thing I need to do is chuck all the chickens in there to do a good clean-up.  They are loving the mild weather and scratching around the base of the fences, trees, and walls when we let them out to graze.  I know they'd do lovely work in the garden.
unaspenser: (two gals)
( Sep. 9th, 2010 09:12 am)
First of all, I'm rather excited about Diana Gabaldon's graphic novel, The Exile.  Now you can see some of the pages on its amazon page.  Beautiful art, and it should be a fantastic story.  So grateful that a friend pre-ordered it for me in exchange for a lace shawlette I knitted.  I am constantly cash-poor, but always willing to barter for knitwear.

Sadly, that strategy doesn't work with my student loan providers or utilities.  I am in a constant state of money anxiety these days, which always makes my stomach unhappy.  We are getting by, and every day that passes is a day closer to Arlen's visa coming through, but it is not a fun time for us.  There is no spare cash for going out with friends or buying treats at the store.  It's a good thing we're both so inventive and resourceful.  We eat well courtesy of our garden/chickens/home cooking/thrifty shopping, but it still sucks to have to scrimp and save, and I'd really love a new wardrobe, a bunch of nice jewelry, and a house/car.  Is that really so much to ask?

On the upside, we continue to be resourceful in other ways as well.  Arlen has decided to jump on the knitting bandwagon, and his first project for himself was a knitted kippah/yarmulke for synagogue.  He's been doing some serious studies into Judaism, and the kippah he had didn't really fit well, and had a tendency to slide away and escape.  I've been cranking out finished objects lately (and starting many more projects), which I've been squirreling away to become birthday/holiday gifts for friends and family.  If there's one thing I have to give, it's knitwear.  At least I'm good at it, and I have a sizable stash (though not nearly sizable enough).

I'm loving my sheep to sweater project.  The sheep fleece I bought is all washed, and I am painstakingly flicking the tiny locks into rolags and spinning them on my new old spinning wheel.  It has a wobble, but it doesn't seem to impact the quality of the yarn, and I've almost filled my first bobbin!  I've got about a month until the very first Trailing of the Sheep Fiber Festival in Sun Valley.  I am planning on entering the max allowed 3 skeins in the animal fiber, traditional spun category.  My hope is that I will win first prize for at least one of them (heh) and there is a cash prize for that.  If I win, I'd use the winnings to purchase a fleece or some other spinning related bribe for myself.  They apparently give special consideration to yarn that's been hand-prepared, so I'm hoping to be a shoo-in, especially with all the documentation I've done of my process so far.

I'm trying to find other venues to market my designs.  I'm rather wet behind the ears in this aspect, still, but my next goal is to submit a pattern to the independent designers project through www.knitpicks.com. 

I guess that's enough chatter for now.  Life goes on, things keep moving.
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