Monday, February 22, 2010

Star Wars Hat

Here's the Star Wars hat that was supposed to be for Sam, but turned out to be for Stu instead :) I found the charts on Ravelry, and once I got started and over the fear of working with all those colors, it wasn't too hard to knit up.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Olympic Knitting

I've been knitting while watching the olympics this week, and it's been great. Watching winter sports while knitting a warm wool something is very cathartic for me. I've decided to make February the month to finish projects - kind of an olympic challenge. Lots of on-line knitters do olympic knitting projects - there are team events on Ravelry, and followers of the Yarn Harlot pick a challenging project to start and finish in the two weeks of the olympics. I thought about doing that, but then remembered that I had eight projects in the works. Eight is a lot for even me, so I'm going to see how many I can finish before the end of the month.

So, here's my list:
(1) a scarf
(2) a baby blanket
(3) a sweater
(4) a blue glove
(5) a hat
(6) purple & green gloves
(7) a pair of socks
(8) a tea cozy

I am happy to report I'm doing very well. I finished the scarf

which is for my bff's mom, and I finished the baby blanket on our road trip last weekend.
I have to wash the blanket and send it off, but it turned out exactly the way I pictured it in my head, and I love the colors.

I'm almost finished with one sleeve on the sweater,
which leaves me with one more sleeve, the button bands, and weaving in the ends. I'll be thrilled if I can weave in the ends during the closing ceremonies next Saturday. (Last night I started the second sleeve, and the first one is still on hold because I'm obsessing about sleeve length, but I think I've got it figured out so by the time the second one is done I should have a final decision on how many more rounds of cables to do.) This sweater is a birthday gift for my sister, who lives where it sometimes snows and can always use another sweater.

The blue glove has a story.
I knit the pair and tried something new which did not work, so I ripped the whole thing out and started over. I'm almost halfway through the second time.

The hat has a story too. I made a Star Wars hat for Sam for Christmas, but alas, my gauge was very off and the hat is for Stuart. I'm making a much smaller one for Sam - the brim is done and I'm in the colorwork section. I would be very surprised if I get to any of the last three projects this month. I'm half way done with the first of the purple & green gloves, and they require concentration and attention to the pattern, which is why I am putting them off. The socks have been sitting in the bottom of my knitting pile for almost a year, and the tea cozy is delightful and fun, but I'm fine with it taking a long time to finish.

So there's my olympic knitting projects. I'm so excited that it's almost time for ladies figure skating!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

quick things

busy day today, but wanted to share a few things:
~thanks for all the encouragement - i was really overwhelmed by all the positive comments on being a vegetarian. to all the people out there who are toying with the idea, today is the first day of lent. try giving up red meat (or all meat) for lent and see how it goes. you'll be surprised.
~ knitting updates are in the works. pics too!
~ had a great weekend trip (happy chinese new year all!) and a few pics to share of the kids with their cousins. typical of me, i only took a few pics because i was distracted.
~the dog is doing just great and doesn't seem to miss his tail at all. he slept with the kids last night - never did that before. i think he missed them (we were gone for four days)
~my job is picking up and i really really love it. i can't believe how much i have missed algebra 2 (yeah yeah - you all knew i was a math geek) i have four students now and work a few hours every school day.
~i'm really really enjoying the olympics this year. last night, men's figure skating short program. i love the figure skating!
~i'm off to volunteer in Sam's class, then i have a whole smack of things to do. at least i'm almost done with trip laundry (cripes, the kids generate a lot of laundry!)

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

an unlikely vegetarian

If you told me last year that I would be giving vegetarianism a shot, I would not have believed you. Yet here I am. This is a long story that I have been reluctant to write about because of the backlash. (Do you get enough protein? Aren't you worried about the dangers of too much soy? How much weight have you lost? (Why haven't you lost more weight?)) But in the end, fear is a crappy excuse. So, I'll write.

It's been a long time coming, that's for sure. I actually bought a book last year - in February, 2009 - about yoga and weight loss. I bought it more for the yoga, but the connection of yoga and body and food was interesting to me and I read the entire book. Then I did some yoga and put it down and that was that.

It was a few months later that I decided that I had enough of feeling yucky. After I had my gall bladder removed when Sam was a baby, my body had trouble digesting certain foods. The trouble was that I really liked eating all of those foods. So I ate them in moderation and put up with feeling bad. After one memorable meal - bbq pork ribs and onion rings - I thought I got food poisoning or the flu. But my friend, who shared the meal with me, was fine, and nobody in my family was sick. I faced the truth of my situation: continue eating this way and feel bad, or change my eating and feel better. I decided I wanted to feel better. I cut out all pork and all fried foods. That was a little difficult, but I told myself that feeling healthy was a better choice, and I took it one day at a time. The first time I made bacon and didn't eat it was hard for me. Then I bought turkey bacon, and Sally begged me to never make her eat it again. So I bought her "real" bacon, and the next time it wasn't very hard to not eat it. Now, I can make it, serve it, and the smell doesn't even make me want to eat it. I've lost the taste for it.

Then, towards the end of summer, one of my friends wanted to try going thirty days without red meat. I said I would do this with her. (At the same time, Sally wanted to go thirty days without soda, and I did that with her. I think the soda may have been harder for me!) Eating no red meat was not bad at all, except hamburgers. I love hamburgers. No, scratch that. I used to love hamburgers. Now, I love feeling healthy and feeling good and I've found a veggie burger that I like to eat. But that was the worst. Everything else wasn't so bad.

After the thirty days, I didn't eat very much red meat. I had some, just not very much. Then I fell off the wagon hard. I had a western bacon cheeseburger. It was yummy, but it gave me such a tummy ache. That's when I knew I was ready to make the commitment. No pork. No beef.

The holidays came and went, and with New Year's Day came new resolutions for the new year. I thought more and more about my diet and my health, and I read some more books. A few days into January, I decided that I would give the No Meat Plan a real shot. I was going to eat vegetarian. All the time. And so I did. The hardest part isn't finding things to eat. I have plenty of things to eat. Fruits, vegetables, soups, salads, cereals, and almost any baked good or dessert. Preparing meat isn't difficult for me either because I live with three people who eat meat. I'm usually in charge of the food. Therefore, I cook meat. Since my reasons for eating vegetarian are not ethical, it's not really an issue for me.

No, the hardest thing by far is other people's response. So much so that I haven't told many people. I told my family, of course. Sally was the most upset - which is funny because she's the only one who had a short stint as a vegetarian. "Mommy! You won't be able to have Thanksgiving with us!" Yes, I told her, I can. I can share the meal and be thankful and pass on the turkey. Everything else we like for Thanksgiving dinner is not made with meat. There will be lots to be thankful for. Sam is only concerned with what I "make" him eat (which is unfounded because I usually always give them a choice when it comes to food). I bought some "chicken" nuggets that are all veggies and soy to try, and when I made Sam some lunch the other day, he asked for chicken nuggets but "only if they have real chicken in them and not just vegetables and stuff." That made me laugh. I told him he can try mine if he wants, but I had the "regular" chicken nuggets for him too.

But mostly, I don't tell people. I just load up on the salad and pass up the meat and nobody notices. I read a book that was really helpful to me called "Living Among Meat Eaters". The part that stuck with me is to be happy that my food choices make me feel healthy and to not be discontent that there are foods that I "can't" eat. Also, to pack snacks and food. Last week, I made lasagna. I made a whole pan of meat lasagna, then a whole pan of veggie lasagna. I even roasted eggplant - a vegetable that I haven't had much success with in the past - and put that in and it was so good. (And I made Kristy's homemade rolls and they were so so good - thanks Kristy!) I packed several containers with the leftovers and put them in the freezer for a quick meal. I've also done a baked potato bar (thanks Steph for the idea) with everything on the side - bacon, cheese, broccoli, veggie chili, sour cream, and some other things. Me and my friends and our kids loved it and everyone ate what they liked. It's taking more planning to eat this way, but everyone gets to choose what to eat and I think that is worth it. I'm even getting my kids to try what I'm eating, and they are surprised that it tastes so good. (duh! I'm still me!)

So, for now, I'm not eating meat. I'm happy with my decision, and I feel really good. I'm getting plenty of protein (beans, nuts, soy milk, and sometimes fake meat) and I take a multivitamin. I also take flax seed oil for the omega-3s. That's my story. Maybe in a few months I'll be able to say that I am a vegetarian. Maybe next year I'll try eating vegan. Maybe I'll add meat back to the table. Who knows? For now, I'm just not eating meat. And taking it one day at a time.

Books that helped me (thanks to Carol for recommending these):
Eat To Live by Joel Fuhrman
Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barouin
Healthy Kitchen by Andrew Weil and Rosie Daley
Living Among Meat Eaters by Carol J. Adams


I've been trying to think of something to write about, but all I have are random thoughts today. So, here you go.

~Last night was the final season premire of LOST. Loved it! I'm a bit upset that more questions were raised (still!), but several key questions were answered, so that made up for it. I was really happy to finally see what was in the guitar case that Hurley was lugging around. It was good to see some of the people that had died earlier (I won't list the names in case you haven't seen it yet).

~I am currently listening to a book on cd in the car, listening to another book on playaway in the house, and reading To Kill A Mockingbird to discuss with a student.

~I have seven knitting projects that I am working on. That's alot even for me. Most of them are gifts.

~I have to take the cans to the recycle center. This is one of my least favorite chores.

~I am almost ready to start writing about not eating meat anymore.

~I am wearing the green sweater that I made today. It's comfy.

~There is a slideshow application that is flashing at the top right corner of my computer screen. It is going through pictures from when Sam was one and two years old. It makes me miss those days so acutely that it hurts. Sally still had all her teeth. Now, she has lost all of her baby teeth. It goes by so fast.

~Yesterday, it was not going by fast at all. Yesterday motherhood felt like a huge smothering pillow weighing down on me. Yesterday I fought feelings of anger and frustration.

~What has changed from yesterday to today? I can't put my finger on it.

~I'm out of ideas. Time to recycle those cans.