04 July, 2010

Calling it Quits

I've had a realization. I don't want to blog anymore. The reasons are numerous, and mainly are these:

1. Not as many people are reading as I'd like. I know, it's not very mature of me. But it's important. I don't want to be blathering into the blogosphere for eleven readers. Especially since I've been blogging here for almost 4 years. That's pathetic. Blogging sort of feels egotistical to begin with, very self-analytically masturbatory, and if no one's reading, it's even worse.

2. It's just one more loose end that I feel like I'm ignoring. I'm doing so many great things, but even if I have a great time and whatever I'm doing is blog-worthy, I feel like a failure for not taking pictures, editing them, uploading, and blogging no more than 24 hours later. I'm having much more fun reading other people's blogs, anyway. I need less on my to-do list.

3. I'm losing touch with my real journal! Seriously, the last entry in it says... July 14th 2007. THREE YEARS AGO. Oh, help. Journaling consistently since the age of eleven is one of my proudest endeavors. I have all my journals. You can't "have" a blog on the shelf, unless you're lucky enough to get your blog published, and let's face it, my best writing is scattered here amongst the "oh, I haven't blogged in a month" hurried posts. Le sigh. (Just in case you were wondering, the real written entry from three years ago begins, "Well, its my day off and I had an awesome sleep-in-- it's now 10am and I've been reading for a little while.. Harry Potter 7 is coming out in 1 week and I want to be totally ready." Truly, words worth keeping for a lifetime, no?) But its true that a blog doesn't let you write about the real, real things you need to be writing about. The stuff at the back of your mind that really deserve reflection. Maybe one of the reasons I feel at odds with myself is the lack of proper journaling. We'll see.

So, I guess this is my good-bye post, for now. I can see myself starting another blog at some point in the future, maybe a little more focused. This one has run its course. Thank you for reading!

25 June, 2010

Home from the Honeymoon!


And of course, thoroughly jetlagged. It wasn't hard at all to get used to LA time (see my extremely jazzed husband above, fresh off the plane with our rent-a-Cube), but for some reason as soon as we got on the plane to fly back to the East coast, all Kenny and I can do all day is sort of lamely lean our heads against the nearest wall and fall asleep. I'm babysitting this morning, so hopefully the natural exuberance that sheds from three girls will rub off on me.

A big post full of luscious pictures will be coming soon! For now, imagine you're high above the Valley, having hiked almost straight up the side of a dusty hill, and are now enjoying the cool breezes of Southern California that blow by "Ginger Rogers' Tree."

the view from our hike
(again, crappy iPhone picture, but try to imagine how impressive this was in real life.)

13 June, 2010

We are so lucky to have this new restaurant!

Today Kenny and I ran our big loop again (we estimate between 4.5 and 5 miles), and afterwards we swung by Friends Cafe in downtown Williamsburg, next to the library, for an iced coffee.

We walked in, though, and hey! The place has changed hands and is now called Koge. It's billed as Korean/Latin fusion and it. is. Amazing.

awesome kim chee from Koge!

The space is clean and modern, with incredibly delicious sounding offerings, mainly Korean style but offered in a lot of choice ways. We weren't hungry yet, but couldn't walk away from all-of-a-sudden-here's-a-hip-new-eatery Korean fare, so we ordered a few different fresh veggie options, including the homemade kim chee (which was perfect, and we have high standards), the scallion green salad, and another crunchy, perfectly spiced dish simply called "pickled Asian slaw." We loved that it came in little black to-go boxes, which helps if you're trying to do some portion control and eat half your food later.

mmm, Koge! new restaurant in the 'burg.

The guys who own and run the place, Sam and his cousin (Phil?), are frankly worried that without the college kids around, and being all of two blocks away from the tourist traffic, their yummy ship might sink. If you're planning on visiting Williamsburg or know anyone who is, or hey, if you live here, please go by on a lunch break and check them out. Sadly, what they have oodles of in menu planning, they seem to be lacking in PR. No web results, no signage, no Facebook page. What gives? Hopefully, the guys will pull things around and do a little more to get all those hoardes of hungry tourists out of the crowded coffee shops and into Koge.

09 June, 2010

Little tiny bits of honeymoons...

A week after our wedding, Kenny and I went down to Portsmouth to see Michael Franti and Spearhead, whom I have loved since the 9th grade (that's 1996, people. 13 years of love). I befriended another hooper in the crowd and she whispered her intentions to me, "We are getting up on stage before the end of the night!" Some girls just manage to get up on stage. Or backstage. I've never been one of those girls, but there have been times that I've latched on to those girls at just the right moment. (See also: freshman year of college, in Philly at the Free Mumia rally, wherein I manage to hang out in Wavy Gravy's hotel room because I followed some friendly girl up there. Yeah, Wavy Gravy totally let us order room service for breakfast, and showed us his photo album. I remember his pajamas were a little bit on the see through side.) This lady was totally going to make it happen, I could see it in her eyes.

Well, despite the Spearhead show being sold out in Asheville, we arrived at the amphitheater in Portsmouth to see it literally half empty. Sad! But it made for fantastic hooping. I could be really close to the stage and still have enough room to show off and dance and have fun. After skipping after Michael as fast as I could on his several impromptu runs around the audience, rain sprinkling on all of our faces and the band playing their instruments scattered among us, I had the thought, this is enough. I don't need to get up on stage, because this is fun enough just as it is. Kenny and I had run 4 miles that morning for the first time (and still the only time, for me, pretty much) and I had on my big Vietnam boots and a strapless dress, and my arms were wet from the rain and the sweat. But then, only then, did the chance come to get up on stage (with the kiddies!) and hoop next to my brave new friend. I was using a hoop I'd never touched before that very second, as I had just sold the one I'd brought to some friendly drunk lady who kept lending it out and then asking me to help her find it again. Anyway, the chance came, I grabbed the nearest hoop I could find, and hauled my sweaty self up on stage. Here is how it all went down from there. (You can't really see me until about 2 minutes in.)

I have to say, again, that I was pretty slippery. That hoop wasn't getting much traction on my skin. And, hello, nervous! I forgot all my tricks. At one point I dropped the hoop and at another I accidentally launched it at the bouncers off stage. It was exciting to be up there, but all I could think about was not wanting to block the band. I thought we were maybe too far forward on the stage, and that we should really be behind the band. But the vainest part of me would like you to know that I'm really proud of the definition in my upper back! I had no idea you could see my shoulder blades until I watched this.

After the show, we scored backstage passes to go meet & greet with the band. Michael Franti said he remembered me from the last time I saw them, at the Orange Peel in Asheville several years ago, and I'll just believe him because that would be a dream come true. We did share a bottle of water, after all... And I had just finished reading Stranger in a Strange Land and i remember thinking, "oh, god, we're water brothers now! This is awesome!" Anyway... I'm glad Kenny was there this time, and that we got to chit chat with Michael Franti. An awesome mini-honeymoon. Next week we're going to LA for the first time, for a whole week. Hooray!

26 May, 2010

Sneak peek: ceremony shots!

We don't have our "pro" shots yet, but there's a steady stream of awesome pictures rolling in from friends & family. Here are a few I couldn't help but share:

Beautiful bridesmaids, in my favorite colors.

My Mom's homemade jam: favors for our guests.

Seated guests wait patiently and watch the York River roll by.

I can't believe how gorgeous everything was when it all came together. I truly love our wedding. More pictures to come!

Oh, so priceless is this vacuum.

(K & I "registered" for cash & gift cards, since our lives are so full of stuff already). One material thing we really did need for ourselves was a good vacuum cleaner, so last night we took our Target cards, pooled them together, and got:

Ohhh, yes. It does amazing things to our apparently nasty carpeting. Oh, the hairballs this thing picked up! And it's so tiny and light. I love it. It reattaches to itself in a number of clever ways, so no additional hoses/attachments/junk needed to clutter up the corners of the living room. It needs no bag, which is enough to sell me on it right there. The filters are HEPA certified (or something) and you just rinse them out every few months. Improves your air quality and whatnot. But the best thing about it...

we love our new vacuum!

...is that Kenny likes it so much, he was vacuuming as I walked in the door from work this evening. He continued pushing the thing around the apartment, commenting with a mixture of fascination and horror at all the crud it was so easily picking up. And then, then, he sat me down for a new vacuum orientation.

I love this vacuum.

Wedding prep: what our iPhones caught

Oh boy oh boy oh boy. I am so excited for many reasons, the most of which being that I finally have caught up on enough sleep to make me feel like blogging! It was rough, y'all, but it was equally rough on all of our little worker bees [including, but not limited to, braidesmaids, significant others of bridesmaids, groomsmen, significant others of groomsmen, siblings, significant others of siblings, assorted parents and step parents], and we were all sleep deprived together. Our wedding prep-fest turned out to be a delightful, albeit stressful at times, five day extravaganza of prepping, shopping, assembling, partying, and sleep deprivation. Let's document from the beginning, shall we?

Wednesday: people begin arriving. We make a giant curry and stir-fry at night and play Hoopla. Sadly, no pictures exist from this night, as we were all too excited to be together after so much time apart. People roll in from Vermont, LA, Asheville, Brooklyn, Portland, JAPAN (!), and Charlotte.

Thursday: dress shopping and primping with the bridesmaids; creepy cookout with the worker bees in the dark (we rented a time share for all of our out-of-town guests to play in, which had a tiny grill way off in an adjoining field). The parents escape to the breathtaking North River Inn in Gloucester to bond. The kids show their stripes by hosting a midnight feast of grilled veggies and shrimp (mmm). We kick off the first of several nights in the giant hot tub that also came with the time share.


Friday: insane rush of activity. I have a few Bridezilla-type moments, but am comforted by the fact that everyone is working their arses off. Escape to The Ceremony Site with stage manager and officiant, to plot and plan. Bring parents along. They are much comforted by the site, which makes me feel like a responsible kid. Airport pickups ensue, completing the gang. Quick run to the gym to pick up sports equipment, and by a quirk of fate, also run into my flower girl & her mama, who just arrived in town. Afternoon finds us prepping the jams my Mom canned for wedding favors, and then all the girls are off to get pedicures. Rehearsal dinner starts at 8:00pm. I arrive with my entourage at 8:30. We all learn how to throw pizza dough and write words with our toppings. There are toasts, and a talk-through of the ceremony plans. The thirty-two of us don't leave Florimonte's deli until close to 11pm. Return to time share to roll 40 sushi rolls for guests to nibble. Kenny is kidnapped by groomsmen, given Jaeger Bombs, and is given a stranger's stylish fedora at a bar. The men return to our apartment around 1am, and spend the next hour declaring their heartfelt love for each other, until the girls break it up to finally get some sleep. Kenny and I remember that our vows are as yet unwritten, and take a few minutes to remedy the situation. Finally asleep by 3am or so.

Saturday: Run the Wedding Day 5k with 5 people total. Up at 7am, but great success! Faster than before, no stopping, lots of talking and cat-calling to people on the sidewalks. Homemade t-shirts and a cheap veil are worn by all. Hooting and hollering and congrats follow us down Duke of Gloucester street. Afterwards, we all depart to shower. My maids come over, we play dress up for an hour, then go to the show. And after all that, with sparkling eyes and clean clothes, we begin...

... actual wedding content to follow!

15 May, 2010

This made me laugh so hard today...

This post on CakeWrecks made me laugh so hard today. (Click over to the link; the text is funnier than the pictures, but you need to see them together.)

Also, I loved Iron Man II. And more also, tomorrow morning Kenny & I are going to try to run a 5k around downtown Williamsburg-- that we also want to do on the morning of our wedding. Wedding Day 5k! Who's in?! Don't worry, we'll all be done in time to shower before sprucing up.

13 May, 2010

Oh, and also: INSPIRATION.

Well, you can't win 'em all.

Okay, so one day last week I ran a mile twice at the gym (one before my Zumba class, and one after), and yesterday morning I ran my fastest mile so far (9:34)-- which is not all that fast in the grand scheme of things, but it felt like hard work-- and I worked out with my trainer yesterday evening, but have gotten zero exercise besides those things. Also, there may or may not have been some very splurgy meals, calorie wise. (They may or may not be happening pretty much every time I open my mouth at this point.) But while I was busy making poor food choices and not going to the gym, I managed to:

- make a giant To Do list of wedding things with Kenny, which is going to rule our free time from now til next Saturday,
- use said To Do list to go get lots of little errands done
- babysit at least 3 hours every day (that's a sweet little one I sit for in the morning up there, graciously modeling for my 1st Hipstamatic app shot)
- clean both of our cars
- get almost all of the laundry done (it's tough when you have the smallest and also the loudest washing machine in the city)
-drive to Charlotte and take my Mom & brother out to a combo Mother's day/ 27th bday meal
- oh yeah, and go to LEAF.

Check out these boutonnieres, eh? And bridesmaids' bouquets! They may not look very professional (and the picture is quite crappy), but they're pretty close to what I had pictured in my mind, and the total cost of materials (with plenty left over) was $12.68. The Williamsburg Pottery is officially the weirdest place I have ever been, but they really come through for you with the cheap deals on incredibly random things. There will be plenty of more weird wedding-related Pottery purchases in future posts, I assure you. Oh, and you can camp there in your tent for $16/night. You know, just in case you're coming to the wedding...

29 April, 2010

90 minutes of cardio later...

Okay. I sweated through Parks & Recreation, the Office, and 30 Rock. 60 minutes on the elliptical, 30 on the bike. Kept my heart rate in the green zone. Because I had a microderm appointment today, my face felt like it was sweating Sriratcha sauce. I drank a liter of water while I was at it.

Maybe tomorrow I can avoid the drama and just walk away from the treats. Seriously, why put myself (and any blog readers I have left) through that nonsense? It's a heck of a lot easier, I imagine, to type "great day today! had willpower. worked out. going to bed now."

At least that last part is true. And I have a session with my trainer in 11 hours. Good night!

The longer you run away, the longer it'll take you to get back to where you started.

[warning: rant ahead. I need to figure some stuff out and be held accountable for my actions.]

I actually need to change that to a responsible pronoun: The longer I run away, the longer it'll take me to get right back here where I'm standing. Here's the difference between someone who loses weight and then gains it all back, and a person who does not gain it all back: stopping yourself. It's the hardest thing I can imagine right now. I have a huge hurdle that I'm dealing with right now, the hurdle that comes when I've "fallen off the wagon" or "had a cheat day" or whatever your other dieting friends call it. Gone "off program" is one of my faves from Weight Watchers, as if when I'm being good I'm following some sort of internal robotic program and it's as easy as following steps 1, 2, and 3. It is never easy, people. So I was all set to blithely continue on this numbing two-day binge that started with the nasty leftover pizza squares I was handing out to the after schoolers and that has included 3 brownies, a gigantic chocolate peanut butter muffin, more pizza, more cheddar cheese squares than i care to think about, pita with cream cheese, Cheez its, Dove dark chocolates, an entire tin of wasabi almonds, and countless string cheese sticks. I started running away. But I'm hungry, I said to myself when I had eaten the day's allotment of calories, and doesn't hunger justify my actions? Don't I deserve to eat anything I want? And then begins the slippery slope of crazy irrational rationalizing. I think of my naturally slim friends and think, "well, she wouldn't think twice. She'd just eat it. La la la, I can be carefree and skinny and just eat like she does!" This is the grown up equivalent of a first grader sticking her fingers in her ears and running away from whoever is talking to her. It doesn't work. I have to claw my way back again, because I do care. Like it or not, I am someone who has to watch what she eats and exercise all the time. I can't pretend not to be. Or rather, I can definitely pretend not to be, and then I can be back at 191 lbs and feel terrible and guilty and ugly again. And trust me, I know, I know-- it's not that fat = ugly, it's that my ignoring what i know I need to do = me feeling like a terribly irresponsible and weak person for not buckling down and doing it already. Continuing to eat like i was, long into the time when I had realized I needed to turn my habits around, now that felt weak.

Calming Down
Okay. So. This has been a 2+ year journey. It's been a lifelong journey. But I've been writing down my foods, counting calories, weighing in weekly (sometimes daily) for more than two years now, but with a few "la la la" fingers-in-my-ears blackout periods. Here is one thing I am learning from this: no matter how good it will taste, no matter how comforting and numbing it is to stuff myself silly, no matter how much fun it would be to just not have to think about it all the time, I just can't take the guilt. The weight on my shoulders, no pun intended, that I carry knowing the only thing that made me mess up was me. My brain. It's like I'm experimenting with responsible eating: let's see if the world notices if I sneak away and wolf this entire thing down. Did my pants immediately rip at the seams? No? Hmm... okay, let's have another one. Now let's see what happens when i write down my calories, think before I bite, and just say no to the junk food. Did my pants automatically grow too loose and fall away from my gorgeous flat stomach? No? Hmm... screw this. Why am I so enamored with the instantaneous results? They do not exist. I am the sum of all my small decisions. Right now I am stuffed full of mediocre sushi and stir fry, which I ate to try to make myself feel better after the gigantic muffin. At 1pm today I had already eaten the day's calories, and I told myself I would stop there and not eat anything else until after my evening gym session (at which point I could have just gone to sleep, I was sure, because it really does work for me sometimes to just stop eating after lunch and let myself digest all day. Seriously, and trust me, I'm not anorexic at all, I have a very slow metabolism). Of course I didn't stop there, even though I had my gum and my water and my White Strips and my knitting (all trusted fallbacks to keep my mouth & hands busy), but something happened. Hmm. What happened? I was feeling a little stressed during afterschool, but I started my "binge" (what i call thoughtless eating) before the kids even showed up. Hmm. I need to do some emotional sleuthing to figure out the why.

Assessing the next step
Because I know I often fall prey to the "all or nothing" school of thought, I knew what I would try to do: i sat myself down on the couch with the bowl of dark chocolates, got out a DVD, and settled down to continue the binge. Then i went onto my Google Reader, saw that shrinkinginthecity had posted, and sighed. Because I knew that whatever she had written would begin to bring me back to the land of the thinking, and sure enough, what she wrote inspired me to start this post and journal it through. Thanks, girl. You're such a valuable voice, even though I think you've reached your goal already and for the love of god you are 20 years old and a size four and you can run eight miles at a time so please just enjoy your dinners out in Manhattan!!! But it's not my journey, it's hers, and I know she'll settle in a happy place soon. And just because this post is not long enough already, sheesh, here is what I read just now that helped me make up my mind to-- wait for it-- GO TO THE GYM TONIGHT ANYWAY, EVEN WITH TWO DAYS WORTH OF CRUD IN MY BELLY:

Pauline Nordin | Wednesday, 28 April 2010

- If you dream about having a perfect body it’s time to stop dreaming and act on making the dream come true. Every
day. It means you will not be a member of the “I occasionally visit the gym” crowd anymore, you will team up with the
loyal league of gym rats who are the gym franchises worst customers because we USE their equipment HARD. When
you want to get lean so you can feel your abs under your shirt you will need to treat the cardio machine like your car:
it will TAKE you places.

- Getting a perfect body means you will go to the gym and workout because you planned it. If you don’t feel like it, it
does not matter. You know you cannot love every workout and it’s ok. It’s ok and mandatory to be a bit worn out from
time to time, it’s just a sign you are working hard.

- Getting lean means stepping out of the comfort zone where it’s ok to cheat during weekends and work your way up
again during the following week.

- To reach your goals you must accept you will need patience. You will need dedication. You will need discipline.
None of them you can find anywhere to buy. Can you imagine, the only things really stopping you from achieving all
those goals with your physique are inside your mind?

- Accept and acknowledge that YOU are the only one who can whip your butt in shape. No trainer can push you
through workout after workout, you must be the driving force, the trainer your helper. Not the other way around.

- You will need to create your own super human. Your super human YOU. There are no excuses, nothing is too hard,
it’s only a matter of how much you want it. Do you want it enough? Ask yourself daily. When you see that donut or
cookie on the shelf, before you just drool away, ask yourself if that taste of it for a minute is worth 3 more cardio
sessions on top of your daily routine of double sessions 5 to 6 days a week?

Feeling Better
(Is anyone still reading this?!) Okay. You know what? I had a bad two days. It happens. Here's what I can do: I can go get some exercise, because even if I can't burn off the calories I know that the endorphins and the sweat will help me think more rationally about it all and give me some perspective. I can congratulate myself on how far I've come (I mean, 158?! When I left for the Folk School I was 175! I remember writing in my journal and warning myself, "when you get down to 170, you'll start feeling that hunger every day, but do not succumb!" Now I can't imagine how I let myself get up to 170, let alone the miserable 190 I was at before). Also, i have fabulous motivation directly ahead of me, because LEAF is next weekend! I'll be twirling and whirling and sweating in the most luxuriously fun community that I know of, to the Duhks and Lift Ticket (yay yay yay) and on the very same dance floor where i first learned to contra in 1999. Oh my god, i am so ready to be there. Plus, Ozomotli, the Sim Redmond band, local pals Sol Driven Train and Rising Appalchia, plus Ken's favorite, the Blind Boys of Alabama-- all while camping there with friends and enjoying being back in western NC. This is going to be a great week! It's all leading up to LEAF! Now I want to go exercise and eat right! Thanks for taking this frighteningly bipolar journey with me tonight. I'm going to go change into my biker shorts. :)

25 April, 2010

Ahhh, Sunday.

(This is my "I can't believe you haven't finished knitting yourself yet!" face. Apparently my shawl was uninterested in being proactive while I was busy knitting entrelac hats for no reason at all.)

After going on wedding-related errands like crazy most of the day Saturday, and most of today as well, Ken and I are finally plopped down on the couch to cuddle up with our Hulu queues (Dr. Who for him, Community & 30 Rock for me). And of course, this means knitting time. Hooray! But it's the wedding shawl that calls out-- only 4 weeks left, and the little guy is still pretty little. Bah humbug. Will it ever end?

23 April, 2010

Wedding Dress Wednesday: 4 weeks to go

I guess I decided to do this WDW every other week, because seriously, how much change can you expect to see in 7 days? Since the last one was at T-6 weeks, here's how things are shaping up at T-4. (It's a Flickr set).

One special picture that I gave a whirl this week is the flexing shot:
4 weeks to go
Just because, hey! I see some definition! Yay! I haven't been as sore as I thought I'd be, working out w/ a personal trainer 3x a week, so I'm thinking about doing more basic pushups/pullups on my own on the days in between. Another update in 2 weeks or so, and then actual wedding posts!

(oh yeah, and the dress? It's actually sort of loose in the belly region. Holy bananas.)
4 weeks to go

17 April, 2010

Williamsburg... for the win!?

Tonight was a bizarrely satisfying night out-- and we never went further than a mile from our new apartment. We moved from the grad student ghetto to Condo Land (well, Kenny moved us while I was still at the Folk School), and I returned to find all of our belongings in shiny, new(er) surroundings. We live on an extremely quiet, rarely active courtyard with beautiful flowering trees at pleasingly irregular intervals. We have wall to wall carpet (a sad thing, since I much prefer wood or cork floors) and assigned parking spaces. Condo Land is just between Cracker Barrel and Golden Coral. It is somewhere I never, ever pictured myself living but I'm trying not to be a conceded hipster and wishing my surroundings were more eclectic. Instead, I'm being grateful for it exactly the way it is, and tonight was a grand time in our new neighborhood.

We can walk to a gigantic, jungle-themed mini golf course called Pirate's Cove, located conveniently by Kmart. It was a shockingly chilly night, but it sort felt good to be that cold after our summer-esque hot week last week. I'd almost forgotten the horror of winter, of hugging yourself to keep warm and stamping your frozen, slow-moving feet, but tonight I had on flip flops and shorts and it was a little distracting to be shivering while putting, as you can imagine. Not that I blame the cold for my seriously piss poor golf game. I mean sheesh, I thought I sucked at bowling! Anyway, It was just so surreal to be standing on the side of a fake mountain, on a bridge made of rope and planks above dyed-blue water, where the most swollen, obese-looking carp loll by the banks of the astroturf. Plus, sucking at mini golf is okay, I've decided. Kenny is such a cheerful winner, it's hard to wish him any ill will or regret his triumph.

[5 minutes later] Okay, Hulu is back on in the background and I've lost my train of thought. I think the point was, Kenny and I were pleased to have been enjoying ourselves in Williamsburg on a Saturday night. Not that we've had bad times, it just seems like there's not much to do here at night if you're not into drinking at sports bars. Every once in awhile we go to something fun at the college (like a step show, or a movie on the green), but most of the time it's the standard dinner & a movie or staying in. It's great for saving money. I miss Asheville so much, but I realize every day how many things I appreciate about Williamsburg. The addition of Trader Joe's into my life, for example, has been quite fun. An amazing local yarn store, beautiful and plentiful biking/running trails, a train station I can actually walk to, and lots of fun-for-the-family type weekend events in Colonial downtown, which are free and at least provide interesting people-watching opportunities. Not to mention the Montessori school community that so enriches my life every day. Oh, and our tiny Farmer's market is mostly seafood and baked goods, and in the height of summer we get some nice looking organic produce (and the goat cheese guy is there every single time without fail). It's not a bad life at all, for now.

Also good are our few but fantastic friends here in Williamsburg (and Newport News- hi Daniel! We're planning something. Plans to be revealed at the Jefferson lab tour). My mission is to spend way more time with local friends this year, and now that I'm not in grad school anymore I think that I will. We started by running into Cal and Wendy at the farmer's market this morning. Wonder if I can turn that into a streak?

And thus ends my random but heartfelt babblings on Williamsburg. Thanks for reading. :)

13 April, 2010

Just a quick bit of inspiration...

Today is my birthday! But we really celebrated this past weekend, what with driving to Charleston, eating as many scallops and shrimp-and-grits as we could find, and contra dancing to Notorious (and Anna's Bananas) all weekend. We took as much time away from the dance as we felt like, walking around the historic downtown area, eating (x 1,000), and walking on the beach.

I'm almost done "moving in" to our apartment. There are certainly some beautiful little spots that I want to show off. But for now, enjoy this great post about how to make gorgeous tie-dyed eggs (would have been better if I found this before Easter). But these are so pretty, it would be fun to do any time.

09 April, 2010

My birthday is sooon!

When I was little, my favorite cake was "rainbow chip." This is a boxed cake mix that I believe you can still buy- just a vanilla cake mix with multicolored mini "chocolate" chips (99% artificially colored and flavored, I'm sure), with rainbow sprinkle frosting. I can still taste it, even now...

But all I want for my birthday this year are Trader Joe's gift cards. They're so useful, and helpful, and I can buy everything we need there, except for rainbow chip cakes, which let's face it, I no longer need.

Kenny and I are off to Charleston, SC for Bug Stomp (a huge contra dance weekend with reportedly one of the best bands ever, Notorious, who I have never seen before). Dancing, sunshine, seafood! Hooray!

07 April, 2010

The winds of change are blowing (pollen)

Back in Williamsburg! There's a fine layer of green dust all over everything. So, because I am officially not living at the Folk School anymore, I need to change the title of this blog, and the description as well. I'll need to ruminate on that for a bit. Speaking of the description, it says, I write about knitting, teaching, weight loss, Montessori, crafts in general, dancing all over the place, and the process of planning a wedding when you're both "not wedding people." The weight-loss talk has been mysteriously absent, has it not?

So here's a yay for you: I managed to move to the Folk School, land of EAT ALL THE TIME, and HERE, HAVE SOME MARGARINE, and come away about 12 lbs. lighter than when I arrived. Now, don't get me wrong: the food is amazing, most of the time. I could think of way worse fates than to have to eat there for the rest of eternity. Also, don't get me wrong about the losing weight while being there thing, as it was probably just my muscles atrophying from only doing handwork for six months (but my fingers are lookin' good). Now that I'm back home and going to the gym again, it will be interesting to see if my weight goes up or down. I officially have 12.8 more pounds to lose before I'm at my goal weight, but to tell you the truth, at this point it's way more important to me that I am toned. I started this weight loss journey on January 1st, 2008 at 191 lbs. This morning I was 162.8. Most of the charts I've found have 150 as being the most a woman my height should weigh, so that's what I'm going for.

Once a week for the next 6 weeks, I'll be documenting the progress I'm trying to make on Ye Olde Batwing Problem. Ahoy, here is the first installment (yes, that is my wedding dress!).

03 April, 2010

It's my last night in the Keith House.

This is the face of a woman at ease with her own small place in the world.

All is quiet, save for the distant whispering giggles of the workstudies getting ready for bed above me. I smell like woodsmoke and my mouth tastes like pomegranate wine from the Ingles in Murphy (Murphingles, in case you keep track of these things). I am in love with my life here. Usually, I'm ready for the next adventure by the time I end my current one. It's one of my strengths: always able to look forward, shunning endings, planning the what's-to-be. But this time... I don't know. Brasstown is different. I felt so full here. People listen. We are all singer/songwriters. We go from place to place to see the same faces, but so readily greet new ones. I walked miles in the dark here, on my own, and made an honest name for myself. I had good work to do, and I mostly did it. And like it or not, it's time for the next adventure.

I'm sort of mourning the end of my Folk School self. But I'm so, so glad I got to be her for awhile.

30 March, 2010

Hey! Hi!

I've been blogging over at the official Folk School blog this week. Click on over to hear from me & Charley!

26 March, 2010

Almost a quilt...

sewing the binding

Remember this quilt-in-progress from the end of January? It has a pretty cool story to go along with it. Basically, I was working as fast as I could to get the front and back pieced together by the end of the class, but i had no idea what I was going to have to do to it next to turn it into an actual quilt. I was sort of timidly asking the ladies in class, "so how in the world does this whole thing come together?" and they were telling me that I'd pretty much need to either send it off to be quilted (which I had just learned was different from piecing) or that I'd need to purchase a fancy machine to do all the quilting myself. (Or do it by hand, at home, and have the quilt done about when I'd be expecting grandchildren. My own grandchildren.)

To my utter surprise, on the second to last day a woman who had been sitting on the opposite side of the classroom, far from my plight, came over and said that she was a professional quilter, and that as a wedding present she would like to take my front and back and quilt them for me. For free. And she would provide the batting. And it would be done before I left the Folk School. Hello, amazing!

She proved true to her word and a great quilter as well. I've had the quilt back for almost a month now, and have been working on it just here and there. I just finished hand stitching the binding last night. I'm going to gently wash it in the machine to soften it up a bit, and then I'll post the big reveal! Stay tuned!

25 March, 2010

Spinning and Dyeing

I wanted to show you the amazing colors we were able to get out of various vegetable matter last week in Martha Owen's "Sheep to Shawl" class.

Natural dying class sampler: collected for teaching purposes
(results of our dyestuffs, from the top, going clockwise: lichens, onion skins, osage orange sawdust, copper pipe in ammonia, indigo over osage, indigo over onion skin, straight indigo, indigo over cochineal, plain old cochineal, madder, walnut shells. The center is what we started with.)

I've been to various Sheep to Shawl competitions, just as a bystander, and had a general idea of the order of things before I signed up for this class. What I really wanted to get out of it was spinning experience, and luckily for me, that was one of the main focuses. Because it's still 6 weeks too early to shear here, we used several fleeces that Martha had lying around. We learned how to wash raw fleece, and pick out all the bits of hay and poop and separate the curls into fluff, and wash it again, and pick it and dry it again, and then we learned how to card and/or comb and when its appropriate to do one method as opposed to the other. Finally, I understand worsted vs. woolen spun! (Click here to see the Folk School's Official Blog posting on last week's Sheep to Shawl class.)

Here's everything I spun last week:
The most color-accurate shot I could manage. This is pretty dang close. Naturally dyed with some undyed brown Shetland mixed in.
mystery yarn from deep in my felting stash
Corriedale w/ merino: my biggest skein! (5oz.)
grey merino mini-skein
Blue & black merino handspun
grey/blue merino, closeup
I'm super proud!

One thing I thought was incredibly useful was the dyepots' flexibility as far as being used more than once. For example, check out this cochineal: the dark fuchsia was from the first bath, and then we put more wool into the spent pot and soaked up the weaker dye, and behold! Pale pink! (which I immediately threw into an indigo pot, because, you know, pink. Ugh.)
cochineal: same dye pot, different strengths

And here's lichen, first and second go 'round:
two different strengths of lichen
I think those two would be really pretty spun together.

Also fun is playing with different dyepots for overdying purposes:
osage + indigo = green
Beth brought us two bags of osage shavings from her woodturning class, and they yielded this neon YELLOW! shade that was too bright for all of us (save Elizabeth, who totally dug it). When you toss it into the indigo pot, you get green. Cool!

All in all, I loved spinning. I love that you can turn a giant pile of fluff into useable yarn, and that (in theory) you have so much control over what kind of yarn you're making. However, I do not want to be a hobby harlot, and I will forego a spinning wheel until I've at least gotten the new off of my rigid heddle loom (which at this rate, will take another three Christmases). But it's nice to know that I know how to spin, and that perhaps when I'm hanging around someone else's wheel I could use it.

I'm on Flickr a lot.

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