30 April, 2007

Warning: all about exercise

[Blogger spell-check screwed up my paragraphs again. Sorry if this is choppy-looking.]

Living in Saigon can be tough if you're used to getting your cardio exercise done outdoors. Gyms were not overly pricey but they're just not as good as strapping on your headphones and jogging out of your own front door, but it was way too hot for that. You could, as Kim proved daily, just go for a jog before the sun came up, but I, well, insert sarcastic laughing here. So it was with great joy and a little trepidation that I returned to Vermont, land of miles and miles of dirt roads winding
through oxygen-rich forests and dappled shady patches. Joy, right? Well, mostly. I still deal with a little bit of fear andenervation before my workout, but that's some sort of wacky head thing that I think I can kill with enough talking to myself in a kind and gentle way, variations on "You don't have to run a marathon. Every step is a
good step. Walk away from theinternet and put on your sneakers." And so on.

So I've been doing these four-mile walks on a handy loop that takes me from the house, up to the "four corners," down to another intersection, and back up to the top of our road. I usually wear myiPod because it just feels so much faster to listen to something (I do enjoy bird sounds and whatnot, but I'm a true product of my generation. I need to learn something, sing along to something, or listen to a story while I'm walking. Give mepodcasts and watch me walk for hours.)

In the interest of my heart, lungs, favorite jeans, etc, I've been increasing the cardiovascularly-challenging parts of my days, so that I can already be at least almost in shape before I go to camp, where the real weight-loss action takes place. Doubly good. To help me along, I downloaded a podcast from prevention magazine. It's a walking workout that talks you through three minutes of moderately paced music and then a one-minute "speed burst" at a higher BPM, and does this four times for a total of 16 minutes. The beginner's
level felt good the first day, and the next day I found myself ready to repeat the workout as soon as it was over. See, jogging is okay. It scares me, but I know that if I try very very hard for many many days it does start to get a little tiny bit easier. I'm not being a wimp, I think. I just honestly hate it. Sure, you can point out those times where I was running along,wind in my face and grinning, saying "I love this!" but I only love it when I'm there, already trained, already past the hard part. And I've been mentally gathering those little tidbits from health magazines that pronounce a good speed-walking session just as good for you as jogging, and better for the joints, so I say huzzah to that.

Anyway, I figured the beginner level to be good for a warmup, so I went ahead and downloaded the advanced level and tried it out for the last 16 minutes of my walk on Saturday. The "moderate" three minutes felt great and really got my heart beating and my forehead hot, but the higher-intensity minute was just way too fast for walking.
Instant shin-splint feeling. So, I decided to run it. Since it's only a minute, I know that no matter how much the running sucks it'll be over soon. So I'm doing that, walking fast for three minutes, and running (faster than I jog) for one minute, and all of a sudden those mythical endorphins kick in and it's like someone just cast me in an insanely happy commercial for Prozac or something. I'm grinning, the wind is in my face, I'm loving it. Hooray!

I just did it again this morning (Monday). I left the house and it was rainy and cold, but as I got past my 1st beginner's set and started it over for the second time (I needed a long warm up today), the sun broke out and the skies showed a little bit of blue. I used the middle mile for a stretching, cooling down part (listening to This American Life) and then when I hit the intersection of Max Gray and Calais Rd (I
think) I put on the advanced level, and kicked ass all the way home.

I've been true to my 5 yoga-pushups a day, but find that I can eek out more now, so I stop at somewhere around 10 or 11. It's funny how when you've got your whole day free to structure as you please (including getting work done and doing chores, of course) it becomes so much easier to find a fitness schedule that actually works. And by posting this, it wort of guarantees that I'll keep doing it. You know, don't want to look like a chump in front of all 6 of you who read this. (It's quality, not quantity, and I love you all).

28 April, 2007

Research = fun things?

Gosh, I guess I've spent so much time viewing my little crafts as exactly that, that it's hard to start making the switch to viewing them as what they are now that I'm officially studying crafts education: research. All those better parts of hours spent online going knitting blog to knitting blog tracing the birth of a trend in fingerless glove patterns; combing through the index of soft glass rods and comparing each color's Coefficient of Expansion to make sure my beads aren't going to split themselves in two; making another trip to the craft store to compare pottery tool prices with those at Wal-Mart... it's all been research. It's not slacking. It's... important.


21 April, 2007

The socks are done!

Class tuition: $30
Cool yarn: $14
Knitting needles: $20

Awesome socks: Priceless.

18 April, 2007

internet blitz

Soothing the addled driver's brain with a good early night to bed can only be made better by a solid hour of starry-eyed gazing at pretty web sites. Best finds of the night:
1) Yarnboy.com

2) State of Mine (if I wore bling, it'd be this... but where to put the diamond?)

3) Finally, I found the plates. A while ago, a saw this collection of dinnerware and fell in love like you only can when its your first time (falling for plates, that is).

16 April, 2007

100 posts celebration

You are all invited to my 100 Posts celebration, in celebration of the fact that I've now posted 100 times to this blog.
When: Now
Where: Here
RSVP: you just did!
Wow, thanks for coming, everyone. Here's a quick update:

-I am being flown down to Williamsburg for a job interview at a most excellent Montessori school, which would be grand for several reasons, the top reasons being a) the job title includes lots of creative artistic work being done with younger children and b) it's full time with benefits and c) the director seems like someone I would very much like to work with and she understands a living-and-working synthesis that I would like very much for my life and d) it's in Williamsburg, close to the campus where Kenny will be squeezing out his brains every day. So, here's hoping I am suave and smooth and relaxed come the interview weekend.

-I'm in Princeton right now, hanging out with people that I like and care for very much, enjoying a respite from the snows of Vermont.

-I've been doing some hot glass work in the basement, which makes me feel good, since it was such a financial investment to set up my own studio.

-let's see... oh yes, have successfully knit two pairs of socks (one for me, one baby-sized which will be mailed off to a Canadian-Vietnamese baby quite soon)

-I weathered a stomach-flu (not mine) last week, and am always proud of myself when I manage to manage someone else's vomiting without screaming and running away. I was actually quite maternal and caring. Sweet.

-I reckon that's it for now. Life is good.

09 April, 2007

Breathe! BREATHE, dammit!

Oh, godddd... my iPod is dying.



It won't hold a charge, it acts like it doesn't know any of its songs anymore (the screen just flips steadily from the first song to the second to the third without, I guess, reading any of the information) it makes a solid whirring sound like an old CD player... oh, sad, sad.

Poor pod.

05 April, 2007

Snowy again

Just another short post from my warm little nest. It took me almost a week to figure out that wait as I may, the house wasn't going to warm up by itself and it really was in my best interest to start a big, roaring fire. The difference is amazing, and quite toasty.

This morning I woke up to discover that even though it's April which in my mind should mean No Snow Whatsoever, no one bothered to tell the Northeast Kingdom and there is a foot of new powder on everything, including the cars, including the path to the bus stop, including (doh!) the wood pile. So, I've been doing a lot of digging. K's school has a two-hour delay this morning, and I'm just totally in awe of what he's doing right now: singing along in perfect synchronicity to not only the Beatles' songs but the awkward prattling of Paul in between the songs. Not the same words, exactly, but the same sounds, starts and stops, guffaws, ums, and throat-clearings. So he's twisting and shouting and I'm tapping and typing, waiting for the new bus stop appointment. We are having fun with this surprise morning time.

I'm kind of dissapointed that it's still snowy, as I pictured myself turning my morning hikes into morning jogs by now, but my boots rub a blister into my heel and sneakers are just really inappropriate for calf-deep snow. My morning hikes have turned temporarily into ten minutes or so of half-assed morning stretching, and then morning toast. Ah, well. It'll have to melt soon. At least my arms are getting strong-- I've implemented a strict routine of five push-ups a day. Don't laugh, I'm sore.

02 April, 2007

Masters, masters, masters

I'm accepted! Ladies and gentlemen, I am now officially accepted to the Prescott College Masters of Arts program, and shall be earning a degree of my own design, a Masters in crafts Education. I am prepared to learn a lot, set my own deadlines (not to mention my own classes), and be a force for positive change, protection and growth in the hands-on learning world.


Of course this means more student debt, but hey, it won't be as bad as the soon-to-be debt of *some* people I know... heh heh.

I'm on Flickr a lot.

Jessica K.. Get yours at bighugelabs.com/flickr