Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My favorite excuses

Here are my favorite excuses for not working out/going to the gym/walking:

  1. It's too hot.
  2. It's too cold.
  3. It might rain.
  4. It might snow.
  5. I'm tired.
  6. I'm sleepy.
  7. I'm a slug today.
  8. I'll be sore.
  9. I'll have no energy after all that work.
  10. I'd rather knit.
  11. I'd rather sew.
  12. I'd rather read.
  13. I'd rather bake bread.
  14. I'd rather do anything else.
  15. My knees hurt.
  16. My back hurts.
  17. I have to get into the car and drive 2.5 miles. (that one might be my favorite)
  18. I don't feel like it.
  19. I have no gym buddy.
  20. The 17 year cicadas are dive-bombing everything, including me.  (Yep, that was my best excuse this summer.)
  21. I don't have the time.
  22. I have the time but I don't want to do it.
  23. I have the time, I don't want to do it, and I have to get into the car and drive that 2.5 miles to the gym.  (I use this one all the time.)
Shall I continue?  I've used every one of these excuses, and probably more.  The two excuses I never ever use are: 1.   It's boring and 2.  It might be hard.

Boredom:  I get bored so easily that it's almost pathological.  Walking on an elliptical (which I can't do because I'm so clumsy) or a treadmill will not inspire you to greatness.  Even going out for a 10,000 step walk is not always interesting.  Let's face it:  this kind of movement is boring.  But lots of things are boring.  Washing dishes is really boring.  Mowing the lawn can put you to sleep.  Schlepping the kids to all their activities is boring.  Doing the laundry is boring.  So?  We do those things anyhow.

So how do you deal with the boredom?  Headphones and music.  Watch the dumb TV programs that are playing.  Count your steps.  That's the one I use mostly because it's how I manage that never-ending 10,000 step, 5 mile walk.  Daydream.  Watch all the other folks.  You would be surprised at how amazing some people are.  Just think how lucky you are that you can do this; lots of folks can't.  Look at the scenery.  Walk on a scary busy road (but make sure that there are bike lanes); that'll wake you up bigtime.

Put on your big girl panties and conquer 35 minutes of boredom.  You can do it. ( I have to admit that an hour and a half of walking on a 95 deg day is a bit much.  But so what?  Who cares.  I do it and the shower afterward is glorious.)

It might be hard:  Yep, it might be.  Or it might not be.  That's totally up to you.  Any time you do anything new, it's going to be a bit hard.  The first time you attempted to knit, it wasn't easy, but you did it.  That first row of crochet after the initial chain is a colossal pain in the butt, but you do it because you know it's going to get interesting afterward.  Learning how to quilt is hard for me.  Really hard.  I cannot cut a straight line or even sew a perfect 1/4" seam.  So?  I like it, I do it anyhow, and I'm getting better at it.

Anytime you go out of your comfort zone, it is a bit hard.  But then you conquer it.  And then you go onto something a little more complex and that is hard, but you conquer it, too.

Knitters:  Remember how hard it was to cast on for the first time?  Remember how hard it was to do the knit stitch?  How to purl?  But you stuck with it, and did it.  Then you tried to make a pair of socks or a hat or a sweater.  Hard initially?  Yep, but you figured it out.  Crocheters and quilters, you also know what I mean.

So what if it's hard?  Who cares?  You are only competing with yourself.  You are only doing this for you.  And you are in control here.  Maybe lifting weights is beyond you.  Maybe you cannot catch a ball (that's me).  There are other neat fun things to try out.

And nobody, but nobody at a gym is going to laugh at you when you lift one 2 lb dumbell.  They don't care.  They're struggling with their own weights.  They are dealing with their own challenges.

I'll tell you a story.  A couple of weeks ago, I was happily treadling on my treadmill and zoning out as I usually do.  Then I noticed this guy over in the mat workout section.  He grabbed a bosu, and turned it upside down so that the flat side was on the top and the wobbly dome side was up.  He then grabbed a long pole and somehow used it to climb on top of the bosu and and then balance himself with it.  I have no idea how he did this, but it was amazing to watch.  He did squats using the pole as a balance point.  It was awesome.  I bet it was really really really difficult the first time he did this.

The Reward! 

Whenever you try something new, or conquer an excuse, you grow.  You grow in your self esteem, you grow physically, emotionally.  You feel so good about yourself.  And it's all your work.   Nobody did this for you.  You did it, all by yourself.  And you are amazing!

And then, you can reward yourself with a lovely bit of knitting, crocheting, or cursing as you try to match your  points in your quilting. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Super Grammie!

That's me!  I just got back from a session at my local Y's gym, and I feel so amazingly good that I had to post about it.

Yes, I know.  You would rather knit/crochet/needlepoint/quilt.  I hear you.  I love doing all my hand work, and if my body would let me, I'd do it for hours at a time.  Nope, not young anymore, and besides it's good to get up and move around.

Nobody likes "exercise" unless you are an athlete, and even then, you probably hate the word.  It is an unfortunate word because it has connotations of sweat and pain and boredom.  But if you change the word to "work-out", well that's something else.  Do I sweat?  A bit.  Do I have pain?  Often a little bit of muscle soreness the next day.  It doesn't matter.  Am I bored?  Only on the treadmill, but that's easily dealt with.

You don't have to be an athlete to work out.  You don't have to be coordinated to work out.  You don't have to be mighty and powerful to work out. You don't need to be young to work out.  I know this very well.  I'm almost 70.   So?  I work out.  I'm a pinch over 5' tall and weigh approx 113 lbs.  I work out.  I cannot catch a ball or throw one, either.  Can't play tennis, can't run without tripping.  Can't play golf, and don't want to, anyhow.  I rarely watch sports except for the Olympics.  I especially dislike team sports.  I was always the last kid picked for any athletic team when I was a kid.  So?  I work out.  I don't even work out a lot, mostly once or twice a week.

So?  But I can walk 10, 000 steps if I want to.  Did it for 5 months.  Started off very very slowly, and gradually worked up to it.  That's about 5 miles with my stride.

It's cold now, and I hate being cold so I'm not walking outside. Instead, I go to the gym, and I walk on the treadmill.  Boring?  Yep, but I vary my speed, watch dopey daytime TV, and get in 35 minutes of good cardio.  Lots of folks like to cycle or use other cardio machines.  Me, give me a good pounding on the treadmill.  And no, I don't run.  I walk.  I start off at 3 mph (miles/hour) and gradually go to 3.4.  That's pretty fast for me.  I do that for a few minutes and then I start going to a fast cardio, which for me is about 3.6.  I'm not running, just walking, and when I get tired, I slow down again.  Catch my breath and then back up to 3.6.  I do this for 30 minutes and I build in 5 minutes at the end for a cool-down. 

Then I go to weight training.  Ick.  Doesn't that sound awful?  But it isn't.  It really is very pleasant.  I'm not competing with anyone, just in my own zone.  I lift 5 lb weights for some of it and 3 lbs for a couple of moves.  I worked up to this very gradually.  Hey, I'm not in my 20's or 30's, so it takes me longer than for the kids.  So?  Who cares?  I can do it.

I have found a few machines that I really like.  One is a rowing maching on the Nautilus.  Not a boat rowing jobbie, just one that works my core and my arms.  And it is really neat.  I don't do tons of reps (repetitions), just about 12 reps for most of it.  When that gets easy, I either up my reps or up my weights.  Yes, you can start with really low weight.  I'm not out to be a weight lifter, just to keep myself strong. I now do 45 lbs on that rowing machine, and 45 lbs on a "lat pull-down".  Given my size, that's a lot of weight.  I started off way below that weight.

The word to remember is "gradually".  You don't start off running or walking at a fast pace.  You don't immediately lift, push, shove heavy weights.  You start off small and build up.  And you get very good at it very quickly.

I do a lot of core work.  I have a crummy sense of balance and need to work on it.  Plus, when your core is strong, everything else becomes easier.  It's not hard to do.  Baby steps and one day you realize that you can squat for a long time and it neither hurts nor is hard to stand up from.  And why do you want to squat?  So you can look at the knitting/crocheting/quilting magazines that Barnes & Noble puts on the bottom shelf.  See, good balance comes in handy.

I have arthritis in my knees, especially my right knee.  It comes to all of us.  So?  I work my leg muscles, particularly my thighs, and you would be amazed at how easy going up and down stairs becomes when your legs are strong.   Does this mean that I never have knee pain?  I should live so long.  Nope,  my knee can hurt, but not the way it used to.  A couple of weeks ago, I met elder DD in NYC, and we did a lot of subways.  That means up and down lots of flights of stairs.  My knee didn't hurt at all!!!!!  Must be those thigh muscles.  Oh, and those strong thighs also help with the magazines on the bottom shelf.

Before you do anything, get the OK from your doc.

Go, do something for yourself.  Start off small.  Walk around the block. If that's too hard, walk 50 steps, then turn around and walk 50 steps back.  Piece of cake.  Do that a few times/week, and before you know it, you'll be walking around the block.  Keep it up.  10,000 steps does NOT happen overnight.

Pick up a 14 oz can in each hand.  Lift that weight.  Yep, it's pretty light, but you are not interested in hurting yourself, just getting a bit stronger.  Go to a sports store.  But two 2 lb weights.  Very light, but who cares?  You're just working yourself a little bit.

See of your local gym or Y has a trial program.  Sign up.  If you never move, don't sign up for a killer class.  That's doom.  Baby steps.

And, this is very important, pay no attention to all the skinny minnies around you, including me.  Nobody cares what you look like.  They don't care if you wear form-fitting gym outfits, or sweats, or whatever.  They don't care if you are overweight or elderly.  They don't care at all.  Everybody in the gym is in her own zone.  Nobody will laugh at you or make nasty remarks if you are inept, obese, old or anything else.  People really don't care. Do not be intimidated by the regulars.  They are not looking at you.  You don't even have to work out in front of a mirror.  Ask for help; the staff loves to help out beginners.  Hire a trainer. 

This is for the rest of your life.  At my Y, I see really old people, probably in their mid-late 80's, working out.  Some folks need a walker to get from one machine to the next.  One elderly gentleman works with a trainer.  She sets him up on the machine, brings his walker to him when he's done, and then walks with him to the next machine.  I've been watching this for about a month now.  When he started, he could barely do anything.  Not any more.  The guy is getting stronger.  What an inspiration! 

He's 1!

Benjamin is one year old!  Wasn't he just born?  How did it all go by so fast?

Yep, he's wearing footies.  Doesn't walk yet, but any second now, he'll figure it out.  And then, here comes trouble, big time.

The kid needs hair.  And he's delicious and adorable, and I need to see him. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Hot New Rachel Colorways

I love my Rachel yarn!  It's a tightly twisted two-ply yarn which has wonderful stitch definition.  100% superwash merino, it makes cosy socks and pretty scarves and shawlettes.  400 yards of toasty wooliness!  Delicious!

In order:  Dawn, Haze, Hot Shot, and Spring Fling.  I couldn't help the Spring Fling colorway; yes, it's the beginning of winter, but I am ready for spring. 

Where?  In my Etsy shop, of course.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Finished batik strings!

I finished this back in November, but what with all the weird computer and camera problems, never got to post it.  So, here it is:  A batik string quilt.

I couldn't get the color to come out right.  So, somewhere between the bright blue pics and the orange ones is the real color.  And I can't take more pics because it's now happily residing in Minnesota.

I had such fun with this!  String quilts are my favorite quilts to make:  no fuss, I get to pick out tons of colors, arrange as I go along.  The bias edges make it easy to match up, sort of.  Matching points is not my forte, but picking out colors and mishmashing it all together is easy to do.

I'm working on another quilt right now, but the morning light is pretty crummy at the moment, so no pics.  And, I'm thinking of doing a Jacob's Ladder next.  Oh, my.  Points to match.  Eh, if they do, they do.  The fun is putting it all together.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Lili Lace Yarn is the easiest lace yarn to work with!

Do you like lace but are a bit afraid of really thin yarn?  Do I have a yarn for you!

This is Lili Lace Yarn:  875 yards of a 2-ply, slightly heavier lace wt yarn in 100% merino.  It knits and crochets up so easily.  I've done so many shawls from "regular" lace yarn, and I love it, but for ease and speed, Lili yarn tops it.  There's just enough weight to it, so that you don't feel as if it's going to slide off your needles, and the stitches are really easy to see (especially if your eyes are not as young as they were.)  Price is a very competitive $30/skein.  Needle size can go from a 2 or 3 to a 6, if you like your shawls to be really lacy.  It is a glorious yarn to work with, I can promise you that!

Cameras and lights and monitors being what they are, the colors in the picture are pretty accurate (at least on my monitor).  The upper left hand yarn, the purple one, is move vivid and so is the upper right hand one.  That one is called Paprika, and really looks like the real thing.  Given that I'm Hungarian, I know the color of paprika, and this is it.

Where?  In my Etsy shop, of course!

A hint on working with any lace yarn:  use needles with a tiny bit of drag to them.  The Knit Pro wooden ones are perfect.  A good sharp point, and the yarn doesn't slide off the way it would with a metal needle.  Addi lace needles are also very good.  Bamboo will work well provided that the point is sharp.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Good grief!  It's been almost 3 months since I last posted!  And where have I been?  No place.  Just hanging out, knitting, quilting, reading, exercising, visiting the MN folks, the usual stuff.  I just didn't have either the blogging or dyeing mojo.  BUT, I think they are both back.  Yippee!

Part of the problem was that our old computer died, and we bought Windows 8.  I do not like Windows 8.  It can't make up its mind if it is a tablet or a desktop.  Drives me crazy.  Tasks that were so easy to do in the older Windows became cumbersome.  And then I couldn't get my camera to work with this software, etc, etc.  In short, I said Piffle upon it all.  But then, my dear Hubz got an older version of Windows, and this one I understand.  So, I'm writing this on the old new computer because I have my pics loaded here now.  Does this make any sense?  Nah, not to me either.  Suffice it to say, The older Windows and I get along very well.

PennyRose Yarns has been on hold for a few months.  I just didn't feel like dyeing.  I'm so enjoying my sewing and quilting that I lost the desire to dye.  But Wed, the mojo hit, and I dyed up 10 skeins and loved every minute of it.  So, for you sock knitters, here are the latest and greatest colorways.

The first batch are Rachel yarn.  400 yards of 100% superwash merino in a yarn with a lovely little twist to it.  Very soft and woolly.  Soft enough to wear next to your skin, and even though there is no nylon in the yarn, it works very well as a sock yarn.  I know this because I have a number of socks knitted from Rachel yarn, and they wear very well.

$23/skein + first class shipping.  Etsy:  http://fritzl.etsy.com

Next are 3 skeins of Rachel Sparkle.  Same base as Rachel (above) but with Stellina added in, which gives it a lovely little sparkle.  And 437 yards.  Price is $24/skein.

And last, but not least, one skein of Lyric yarn.  400 yards of a single high-twist yarn.  Skinny stuff and probably best for smaller feet, but it crochets up to a very pretty scarf, and knits so beautifully.  Don't let the kinks in the yarn scare you; they smooth out as they flow through your fingers and will not get in your way at all.

Walnut at $23/skein.


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