Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Dude, I'm sorry...

I've been working on a shawl over the last few days.  One I started back in 2013 - this seems to be a bit of a theme of late, picking up old projects I started too long ago.

Cloud Illusions shawl, knit with Skeinz mink yarn in laceweight

Anyway, I finished the lace section and am now procrastinating about the picot bind off, knowing it will be slow and torturous.  I'm going to wait until I have a few hours to myself, perhaps with a movie and a large pot of tea, to get stuck in.  So with that put aside I picked up the fugly blanket to do a bit of crochet - another project I started a while ago.


With a colour change, I decided to work in some of my handspun scraps.  Now, I'd come to the realisation some time ago that as much as I like spinning, and the finished yarn in a skein, I don't particularly like the finished yarn knit into a fabric.  There are exceptions - namely my most favourite cardigan of all time:

97-18 Swing cardigan by Drops, knit with my handspun merino (about fingering weight-ish)

And may I point out that this cardigan still looks EXACTLY THE SAME four years later...  (Sadly, I recently had to throw out those jeans.  Best jeans ever.  I loved you, man.  We had some good times.)  I digress...

I picked out a bunch of handspun scraps and started working them into my blanket, when I realised just how terrible they were.  I mean seriously, truly awful.  I'm not sure if this was because they were scraps that I quickly navajo-plied to empty a bobbin - I'm sure some of them were - but even the two-ply stuff was pretty naff.  Some of it was actually quite rope-like.  I didn't enjoy crocheting with it AT ALL.  This got me thinking about all the stuff I'd made out of my handspun and given away to my beloved friends and family.  And dude, I am so sorry!  I apologise for the horrendousness that I have bestowed upon you with pride, thinking that it was something truly wonderful that I had made for you out of love.  I will not be offended if you feel the need to burn it, trash it, or otherwise dispose of it (if you haven't already).  All will be forgiven and let us never speak of it again.

I will finish the fibre I am currently spinning - some cormo fleece which is puffy and cloud-like:


The yarn is quite nice too (I checked, believe me!)  Once this is done, I will be selling my spinning wheel and remaining fibre.  This could be some time away, since I still have quite a bit of the cormo left to spin and I'm not in any particular hurry.  I may be persuaded to finish it a little quicker with the idea that I can buy a Garmin FR220 with the proceeds...

I much prefer the finished look of commercial yarn, and not spinning will give me more time to knit ;)  The latest FO was a pair of slippers for my mum - the pattern link had been doing the rounds on Facebook and of course people were putting in requests to their knitter peeps.  Me, being the awesome daughter that I am, obliged:



It certainly made coming up with a Mother's Day gift a lot easier!  These are Little Red Riding Slippers, knit in Panda Jumbo yarn.  Mum has little feet, so I got away with knitting the smallest size.  I'm going to be honest and say I didn't enjoy knitting these much.  Although they were a relatively quick knit due to the chunkiness of the yarn and the large needle size, they were fiddly to finish (and mum, I apologise if they don't hold together all that well).  Or maybe I just got lazy.  Who could say?  Moving on...

I went for a long-ish trail run last Monday.  Since I was by myself, I was restricted to using the Okura Bush Walkway - a single trail, well-used, with no deviations, therefore no chance of getting lost.  I didn't want to get my feet wet so decided not to run along the beach where I'd have to cross over inland streams, and just stuck to the main section.  This meant I had to run 2.5 out-and-backs, and I passed a group of ladies four times.  They probably thought I was a complete loony...

Pretty poison

So many stairs


The beach I didn't run on

More pretty poison

Surprisingly, not poisonous.  But ew...

The slip that's been there for, like, ever...

Um, yeah.  Rocks.

Most people need to duck under this.  I scrape under because I'm short.  There are advantages.

I love this huge kauri tree.

Just a little bit over the stairs now...

I was aiming for 18km but miscalculated the turnaround point on the last out-and-back and ended up running 17.6km.  Close enough.  Haven't run any more since, because I've been working on the final assignments for my two current papers.  Lazy.  Raining.  Procrastinating.  Blah blah.  Only two and a half weeks until the Double Rainbow.  Better get on with it...

Enjoy your week!

Monday, 11 May 2015

Blink and you miss it...

Wow, has it actually been a month since I last posted?  Y'all are probably wondering if I'd dropped off the face of the planet!  Or maybe all that beer I drank at the Film Festival really did do me in on the next day's 34km run.  Nah, sorry.  I'm still here ;)

Quick recap for you then:

Reel Wild Film Festival
This film festival was da bomb!  Loved all the documentaries, particularly the one about the Barkley Marathons, and Anton Krupicka (dude is scary, but in a good way).  We drank all the beer.  Seriously.  They ran out.  Looking forward to the next one!

The Hillary 34km Re-run - aka Kill Hill 2: The Revenge
Our pace was sedate, it was a beautiful day, and despite an enormous horde of tourists on the Te Henga track that we had to work really hard to get past, we made it in under seven hours.  A leisurely lunch break, plenty of stops along the way, photos, and an unusual little incident where a German tourist gave me a slap on the butt as I ran past, made for an interesting day out.  Our friend exacted his revenge on the 34km Piha to Muriwai section of The Hillary as planned, we got another runner hooked on trail running - mud, bush-bashing, amazing scenery and surroundings, fabulous company, what's not to love? - all in all a bloody good day.





Study
Going well.  I celebrated a 98% result on an assignment the other night with a little too much wine which resulted in a slow, quiet recovery day the next day.  Oops.  Only two more assignments left for this trimester, and two more papers this year.  Then, the last two papers next year and I will have an undergraduate degree.  Graduation in 2017.  Hell yeah.

Kids
Awesome.  They've finally turned me over to the dark side - I have my own Steam account, and have been playing online games with them.  I suck at it, but that's not the important thing.  The important thing is that I am spending time with them, doing the things that they love to do.  We've also started playing card games, doing jigsaw puzzles, playing board games, and I think I may have won T over to mum-read Harry Potter.  X always liked my attempts at different voices, and liked to laugh at the occasional reading error.  Now T does too :)

Running
Not 100%, but better than it was.  I've started training for the Queenstown Marathon by beginning a half marathon training plan, which will build up to a full marathon training plan.  I've allowed for a one week break between the two plans, and it will take me up to race date.  I'm trying to get Deane to follow the same plan, but he's having trouble fitting it in at this stage.  I'm pretty sure he'll be walking 90% of the marathon.  Having said that, a finish is a finish, and 42km is nothing to sniff at.  I'll still be impressed ;)

My current problem is shoes - the shoes I bought last (Mizuno Wave Rider 18s) are not right for me.  They're supposed to be a neutral shoe, but they're really not.  They make my feet roll out, which is causing medial knee pain in my left knee on longer runs.  That's making it hard to get out for scheduled runs and not over-do it.  I need to replace the shoes with something else, but can't really afford it.  Plus, I'll be left with near-new shoes that are not much use to me.  What to do?

Also, I still have the small matter of a 26km Double Rainbow top-three finish attempt to think about and train for.  Should probably be a little more enthusiastic about it...
_________________________________________________________________________________

So that is what's going on in the world of kreachr - you didn't miss much ;)  My Mother's Day was pretty awesome - I got breakfast in bed, a hand-drawn card (which was hilarious - my kids are a riot), we went to Cornwall Park for a picnic lunch then watched a show at the Stardome, went to the movies to see Pitch Perfect 2 (my current movie obsession - I've watched Pitch Perfect four times in two weeks!  I think I'm done now), then came home to have dinner and put the boys to bed.  Lovely.

I hope you had a good weekend!  See you again soon, I promise :)

Monday, 13 April 2015

Easter 2015 = Best Weekend Ever

What did you do over the long weekend?  I drove down to Napier to spend the weekend with my best friend, watching all the Twilight movies, the first eight episodes of Outlander (all in one go, we went to bed at 4.45am!), eating copious amounts of junk food, shopping, drinking wine, and generally laughing our asses off.  It was the best way to unwind, and I loved every minute of it!  Okay, maybe not so much the queasiness after eating too much chocolate or potato chips.  That happened a lot.  But other than that, it was perfect.  We won't mention the alpaca burger incident... *shudder*

I also managed to catch up with family, and got to give Alonzo a good run.  He drives beautifully, and is really economical!  I love him.

I didn't get much in the way of pics over the Easter weekend, we were too busy enjoying ourselves, but here's a few:

Movie-related knitted gifts for Tans

Giant salad - so very needed after a day of lollies, chocolate and potato chips, urgh...

One of the statues in Emerson Street that people often don't notice is there

Evidence of a good weekend - wine in mason jars!  Movie knits! Silly faces!  Fun times...  Love this chick.

Here's a quick roundup of the movie knits:

Bella mittens, knit in Skeinz naked super chunky - for Twilight

Alice's mitts, knit in handspun (miss misery from maude & me.) - for New Moon

Another pair in white, in case Tania didn't like the handspun.  She did.  These ones are mine now.

Bella's Eclipse Hat, knit in Skeinz Southlander (Java Bracken and Oatmeal) - for Eclipse.  I made two of these, so we both have one.

Forks socks, knit in an unknown yarn that I think might be HappyGoKnitty BFL - for Breaking Dawn Pt 1.  These (obviously) were not actually in the movie :)

Breaking Dawn Pt 2 Fingerless Mitts, knit in Knitsch Delft DK 'Rose' - for Breaking Dawn Pt 2, obviously.  (They were black in the movie).  This yarn is super cosy, so I think I'll knit myself a pair.  

The idea was that she would open a gift before the movie, then try to find said item in the movie.  I pretty much told here where they all were anyway, lol.  So yes, my Easter weekend was fabulous.  There were even a few hot cross buns in there somewhere...

In other news, my running mojo is coming back.  I've managed a few shorter runs and a 12km recently (no pics though - treadmills are not exciting).  I was supposed to go for a long run over the weekend, but ended up forgoing it in the interest of not destroying my knee.  I had vague ideas of heading to the Rotorua Marathon in May and running alongside my friend Sheryl (who by the way has been training like a BOSS - you go lady!!) but I don't think I'd be able to keep up with her ;)  I have signed up for the Double Rainbow in June though.  Last year I didn't run my best, and I placed 5th.  It would be cool if I could train properly for it this year and maybe make the top three.  It was a small field last year, and I'm hoping I'll actually have a chance.  Knowing my luck though, a bunch more fast people will sign up this year and I'll end up in the bottom half of the field...  We shall see.

I'm debating signing up for the XTERRA series.  I'd be keen to run the long distance again, but nobody else wants to sign up with me :(  It's not as fun trudging out on cold wet mornings by yourself.  Plus, it costs $345...

This weekend is a biggie.  Martin and I will be going to the inaugural Reel Wild Film Festival on Saturday.  We shall be drinking all the beer and watching all the movies!  On Sunday there's supposed to be a run with Jo Johansen (one seriously impressive ultra trail runner) in the Waitaks as part of the event, but instead we'll be accompanying our friend Rob who has some unfinished business with the Piha to Muriwai section of the Hillary.  34km run after a day of beer and pizza?  Should be sweet...

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Caught up

Gosh, time is running away from me.  It's been nearly three weeks since my last post!  We've had a house full of visitors more often than not this month, and things have been a little cray-cray in the house of kreachr.  So let's catch up, shall we?

The Hillary 34km
I survived!  Obvs... It was a long day, let me tell ya.  I woke up at 6am, and didn't get back to bed until well after 11pm.  I was tired.  We started off at Piha Beach at a little after 10am, and it was already a hot day.  The first half of the race I was feeling really good, and made good time to Bethells, about 2 hours 34 minutes.  I found 'the W' much more challenging than I remembered it being though.  I put it down to my lack of training and reduced fitness level.  On the flats and downhills I still felt pretty good, although my quads were feeling a little rubbery from the steep descents.  I didn't stop long at the aid station as I had plenty of water and food on board - I just grabbed some water and kept going.  Then it was off up the hill again and about 2km later I was flagging.  It was a really hot day, but I was starting to feel cold.  I had something to eat and kept pressing on, putting the weird feeling down to maybe needing to pee.

At the 20km mark, I hit a wall.  I stopped on the side of the trail, dropped my pack, and stood around trying to decide what to do.  I was spent.  After standing around like a complete twit for several minutes, watching a bunch of much healthier-looking people wizz past me, I snuck into a well-sheltered area and went for my second-ever trail-side toilet stop.  Then I ate some more, drank a bunch, re-donned my pack and carried on.  The next five or six kilometres was slow going, as I walked 99% of it.  I knew the dreaded 'stairs of doom' at the end of the Te Henga were coming up, and I wanted to conserve as much energy as possible.  I stopped to talk to a marshall who told me there was about seven kilometres left to go.  He assured me that once I'd reached the top of the stairs and replenished my stores at the aid station, I'd feel refreshed and ready to tackle the last section.  Damned if he wasn't right.  I managed to run a large chunk of what was left of the course, along Constable Road, Oaia Road and on to Muriwai Beach.  I did walk most of the beach section, because I really suck at running on sand and its a total energy drainer.  So I have to admit that most of the photos taken of me are walking shots.  Oops.  I did run to the finish though, because, y'know, people watching...  I finished in 5:53:50, so I achieved my goal of under six hours.  I would've been happier with something a little closer to five, but I did the best I could on the day with the high temperatures and complete lack of training, so I'm cool with it.

I only took one photo of the day, and it was of the sun going down over Muriwai just before we left.


Due to unforeseen circumstances, we weren't able to leave until nearly 8pm.  Then we had to stop somewhere for dinner (because we were all starving, even after scoffing the post-event fare on offer - I only had an apple though), and go pick up Martin's car at Piha.  Town was chaotic with several events on (concert, sports game, various art events) so it took us forever to chug through it.  I was so glad to get home and have a shower!  This medal was well and truly earned, y'all:

74/111 overall, 20/41 female, 12/19 in age group

Car
Lookit!  So cute!!  I love him!


His name is Alonzo, and he is super fun to drive.  So zippy!  Sadly, Deane spends more time driving him than I do.  Sad face :(  Still, I'm putting all my little touches on him - the cyberman air freshener hanging from the rear-view mirror, I've put a squishy TARDIS on the dashboard, my music CDs, and I have my eye on the ALONZO licence plate (still available at the moment) and a TARDIS gear shift knob.  All in good time...

Study
Despite the train-station/boarding-house situation at the house of kreachr, I have managed to get my assignments written and submitted, and have stayed ahead of the ball.  I'd like to be able to enjoy Easter weekend in the Bay without having to worry about stuff like assignments, course work, kids, housework, etc etc.  I figured it made sense to stress about it unnecessarily beforehand :)

Knitting
I haven't got quite as much knitting done recently as I have in previous months, due to study and aforementioned house guests.  Still chugging along though, and all on track to get all my Twilight Movie Marathon Weekend projects finished with time to spare.  I'm currently working on some Forks socks, and have one foot left to go.  Then there's just one more pair of fingerless mitts on the list, and I'll be done.  Sooooooo looking forward to Easter weekend!!

Noms
I've been a little less inspired of late in the kitchen, and have made good use of local eateries instead.  My favourites like Little Bird and Misters (current top fave, absolutely love their menu, and cashew milk coffee!!  I have a food-crush on their brown rice porridge - food heaven), some new places like Mondays and The Raw Kitchen - I love that you can go pretty much anywhere in Auckland and find a cafe that caters to vegans.  There are so many popping up, and many more that have at least one or two vegan options on their menu (or vegetarian that is easily made vegan, usually by omitting the cheese or cream component).  I have managed to make a few healthy meals recently though, my current favourite being this butternut squash burrito bowl - sooooooo yum!


Kids
They are well and truly settled in to the school year, and are doing really well.  I don't know if they're fully aware of the fact that they only have a week left of this term :)  In any case, I'm happy with how they're going so far this year.  Long may it continue!

X is learning to skateboard, and absolutely loves his board - he paid for half with his pocket money and chose the deck, wheels, trucks, bearings and grip tape, then helped Deane put it all together.  He always gives us an update on the tricks he's learning, and all the scrapes and bruises that go with it.  Fun times.

T loves the teacher he has this year, and she's really good with him.  It's a good combination.  He has camp next term - I wonder if Deane or I will go along...?

Okay y'all, I have errands to run, appointments to keep, and a house to clean.  This Saturday I'm the support person for my friend Martin, who will be running The Dual off-road marathon for his third day in a row as a support runner for Mal Law, doing the High Five-0 Challenge to raise money for the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.  Today (day 48) they're running 46km in the Waitakeres, tomorrow (day 49) it's 48km from Piha to the Auckland Ferry Terminal, stopping past the highest point in the Waitakere Ranges.  Then (day 50) The Dual.  Mal and his team have raised over $415,000 so far, surpassing his original goal of $250,000.  They're now aiming for $505,050 - feel free to donate here - it's a good cause!  Or you can text GOMAL to 2446 to donate $3.  Go on, you know you want to ;)

Alright, I'm out.  Have a good weekend!

Monday, 9 March 2015

Fraud

Still haven't run since Sunday 22nd February.  Feel it would be fraudulent to call myself a runner at this stage...  I'm also very aware of the fact that I will likely die while attempting to run the 34km option of The Hillary next weekend.  The sand of Piha and Lake Wainamu, the stairs of doom at the end of the Te Henga, then a few kilometres of undulating road on the way to Muriwai and the finish line will probably do me in.  I don't expect to be in any way fast, or coherent at the end when if I finally get there.  It's sure to be a larf.

My brain is not functioning at full capacity lately, as I have been suffering a little bit of insomnia.  Going to sleep is fine, but waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to get back to sleep is starting to have its effects.  I was also having trouble with waking up super early, but now I'm struggling to wake up in time.  Yesterday I slept in until 8.30am (unheard of in my world), and this morning I was woken by Deane's alarm at 7am - I'm usually awake well before then.  Hopefully this issue will resolve itself soon - I have a couple of assignments due in the next few weeks that need my attention.

Last week I managed to finish a couple of pairs of socks, which were for my sister's birthday on Friday.  I got them off the needles and on the courier truck in time for them to arrive on the right day (phew!):


Boot socks, knit in Southlander DK weight yarn.  I knit the large size, which ended up being essentially knee-high.  They'll be perfect for winter!  I don't expect them to be particularly hard-wearing though, as the yarn is 100% wool, and the fabric is leaning a little towards the loose-knit side.


These socks, I rather like.  The pattern is 27 Knots by Moira Engle, and the yarn is Vintage Purls Max in 'Maquis'.  Because of the 25% nylon content of this yarn, I expect these socks to last a while.  The two pairs of Max socks I have in my sock drawer, I've had for some time and they're showing no signs of wear yet.  They're also very warm and comfy :)

Other happenings in the world of kreachr include a family outing to see Skin of Fire, which was part of the Auckland Arts Festival.  We went on the last night, Saturday 7th March.  It was an amazing show, the kids loved it, and they didn't even complain (much) about walking home at 10pm.  I didn't take any pictures myself, but here are a few Deane took of the event:


The graphics projected onto the building were quite amazing.

That glow behind the Museum was the full moon starting to rise.  It was perfect.

The boys loved the 'light-men' walking through the audience and touching peoples heads.

This 'light-man' came to say hello to us

The evening was marred slightly by a brief downpour about 3/4 of the way through the show (not to mention plenty of rain in the few hours beforehand) but it was worth the ticket price - the fireworks were awesome.

This week I'll be (trying to) focus on assignment work, squeezing in a few shorter distance runs to (belatedly try to) prepare for The Hillary this weekend, and hopefully pick up my new car.  Fingers crossed all goes well :)  Enjoy your week!

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Sadness

I watched this video this morning.  Then I cried for over an hour. #vegan

Friday, 27 February 2015

Struggling...

I love running.  I especially love running in the early morning - it's invigorating, there's less traffic, it's not too hot, and it leaves you full of energy for the rest of the day.  So why then, can I not make myself get out of bed to do it?  Especially when I know perfectly well that I will have exactly zero opportunity to run during the day for the rest of the week, or over the weekend, unless I use the treadmill?  I have no answer to this.  My week has been one of sheer laziness.  Sure, I got stuck into my study and completed a couple of weeks work in a couple of days, and I did most of my housework (not that you can even tell now), but I have not run since Sunday, and my diet this week has been crammed full of junk.  Blech.  Well, to be fair, it has been interspersed with healthy vegan noms:

Blueberry oatcakes (I substituted apple sauce and tofu for the zucchini)

Chia pancakes with banana and peanut maple syrup (these were seriously amazeballs)

Cauliflower tabbouli, almond, rocket, roasted tomato sauce and cashew tzatziki with zucchini fritters from Misters - my new fave cafe.  I love love love their cashew milk coffees!  Although this time I had a cashew hot chocolate.

Hmmm, maybe not so healthy, but super yum!  Bought this at The Cruelty Free Shop - Botanical Cuisine frozen cashew yoghurt.

Zucchini noodles with a creamy sauce, sun dried tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, capers, olives and herbs, and a coconut and raspberry o-ball for 'dessert', from The Raw Kitchen

I usually start the day eating healthy, then it starts to go downhill about mid-afternoon.  Kinda like this:



What can I say?  I like to eat :)

I did have a good run last Sunday that I rather enjoyed despite it being so wet we may as well have been swimming...  We ran from Constable Road to Bethells Beach and back again, about 22km in total with about 1,260m elevation gain, in just over four hours total.  It was a good day for a run.


Berries and gorse

Looking back towards Muriwai

Looking towards Bethells (hidden around the coastline), watching the rain come in

Clay formations

Bethells Beach

Starting to lose the ability to take pictures, because my phone screen and hands are too wet to be able to fully cooperate


Oh look, more rain...

I wanted to get a picture of the cool patterns in the water from the turbulence in the waves, but couldn't get the camera to focus.  It was at this point I decided to give up - the camera lense had fogged on the inside!

Deane is away all weekend on a fishing trip with a few of his mates.  They left this afternoon, and won't get back until Sunday.  I'm a little bummed about it, not because he's going to be away all weekend, but because it means I can't go car shopping until he gets back.  Sad face.

I've become a little OCD recently, since finding out that I can get my very own car all to myself.  Not brand spanking new, oh no, but new for me.  And all for me.  Which means no Deane mess, no food in the car (because I say so), no having to readjust the seat every time, no getting deafened by a ridiculously loud radio stuck on talk back stations whenever you turn the car on, no rubbish collecting in the foot wells, no ever-growing collection of random assorted items in the boot... Oh, I am so looking forward to it!  I have developed a spreadsheet of all the cars of interest on Trade Me, listing the year, make, model, odometer reading, colour, interior type, engine rating, WOF/registration, important features, and current asking price so I can compare them.  It's slightly less obsessive than what I was doing previously, which was keeping numerous tabs open on the desktop and refreshing them periodically so I could a) ogle the pictures of the pretty cars, and b) check to see if it had sold yet.  Yep, I'm a weirdo...  New car, squee!!!

I've also been pretty busy with knitting lately.  Since last post, I have completed a pair of long mittens, two hats, and half a pair of socks.


Boot socks (one of, currently working on the other), knit in Southlander, 'oatmeal' and 'java bracken'.  These are going to be super cozy in winter!!

Up close with the chunky knits! Bella's Eclipse Hat, also knit in Southlander 'oatmeal' and 'java bracken'.  I knit two of these - one for me, and one for my BFF.

So this weekend, since Deane is away and I have no driveable car, there will be knitting, classic Doctor Who (nearly finished the William Hartnell years!), Harry Potter, and maybe a little bit of assignment work.  Pyjama weekend!!!  Bring me all the wine and chocolate!  Have a good one, peeps :)