Friday, December 19, 2008

Electric Hula-Hoop

So, how cool is this? Meet "Electric Hula-Hoop."

I have long been a fan of Paul Metsa from Minneapolis, and had the pleasure of finally meeting him in person after 20 some-odd years of listening to his excellent album "Paper Tigers." I totally wore out my copy of the record, that was how much I liked it. So, I happened to think of him again last Spring and found him on Rhapsody. I had a lot of catching up to do, too!
So, at the present time, I am preparing for another long weekend in the Twin Cities and thought I would send Paul an e-mail asking about gigs he might be doing when I am in town. Alas, he no longer works at the place where I last saw him, and may not be playing at all over New Year's weekend. I am bummed, but hope all you who like music will check out his fledgling digital folk music website, Maximum Folk. He hasn't got a lot available for sale at the moment, but what's there is QUALITY stuff, at the moment tending towards blues. And "Paper Tigers" is there as well, so you can easily purchase the album I've been raving about, and the other others on the site while you're at it. Terrific stuff!
In a flurry of e-mails this week, I happened to mention to Paul that I had built a lovely pair of socks from some yarn purchased at Bella Lana in Minneapolis. Bella Lana is owned and operated by a friend of Paul's and carries lovely yarns, and has a welcoming committee that can't be beat, namely, the sweetest, most adorable Italian Greyhound you will ever lay eyes on. Anyhow, the mention of knitted socks in my e-mail to Paul inspired a request. The best kind of request. The kind of request that sends me running for my handy-dandy box of dyes and a sock bank.These socks will be a gift for Paul's girlfriend, who is in the process of moving to the VERY COLD Twin Cities, and since I love having opportunities to give something back to musicians for all the music they give to ME...well, I am going that extra mile and making it something totally unique that can never be duplicated. The dyed blank looks cool as is, but the finished socks won't look a thing like it. This is, after all, similar to how "Grateful Undead" looked before I wound it into skeins and knitted it.I was having a hard time thinking of a name for the colorway, because although it approximates "Grateful Undead," it is NOT "Grateful Undead." That colorway, like this new one, can never be recreated exactly. So, considering the person who made the request, and his sense of humor, I came up with "Electric Hula-Hoop."
Paul has a very funny song called "Electric High Heels," and the narrator of the song gets put through some amusing antics by a wild girlfriend. It has one of my favorite, makes-me-laugh-every-time-I hear-it-lines at the end, and I quote:

"Aw, c'mon, baby, I've been on my best behavior! Not the cuffs, sweetie...oh, no, not the hula-hoop...not again!"

So..."Electric Hula-Hoop." A tip of my hat to a helluva nice fella who makes great music and makes me laugh. 'Cause I like to give back if I can and there's no better way to say how hearing "Virginia" live blew me away.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hip, hip, owOOOOOOOOOOOOO...

The workout thing I began has been temporarily derailed, though I am sticking with the Weight Watchers diet. Seems I fell prey to Fat Old Lady Working Out Too Hard Too Soon syndrome, and have managed to mess up a muscle in my left hip, or some such. I must now lay low throughout the remainder of December, and stay off my feet as much as possible, so whatever is wrong has time to heal.

The good news is, a trip to the local ER for x-rays revealed that there was no fracture, no osteoporosis, and no arthritis. I never took a fall or anything, but my joints have all been bothering me since that first no pain, no gain workout walk on Thanksgiving day, and I aggravated things further by working out intensely at Curves, despite the pain. (I do not blame Curves at all, only my own stupidity...)

Monday morning, after a brutal weekend of choir practices, on my feet the entire time with no respite, I could hardly walk up the stairs to get into my workplace. Since I am asthmatic and have therefore used steroids quite a bit in the last 25 years -- not constantly, but enough to make me anxious about weakened bones and joints -- I decided to take my co-worker's advice and get it checked out. Thank God it's nothing serious, but it does hurt like hell, and only lying down on a heating pad, not moving, seems to help. I have been sitting up way too much today, after returning to work and then visiting with a friend who came by to see me today, and at the moment my usually trusty codeine pills aren't even touching the pain.

Well, I will go to bed in an hour or so, and be sure to rest when I get home from work tomorrow.

So, any of my knitting pals from RI, if you were wondering what happened to me,that caused me to pull a no-show on Tuesday night, now you know. I should be able to drive out next Tuesday, once I can quit taking Codeine.

P.S. -- I have finally resigned from choir. It's been a long time coming. Why do I hear Ritchie Havens singing "Freedom" in my head? Hmmmmm....

Friday, December 05, 2008

Pomegranate Beaded Moebius

Rayon; one thread rich, deep red twisted with olive-greenish gold; self fringed, with gold beads at the ends of each piece of fringe. (Lord, what a PAIN to do all that cutting, knotting, and beading, but soooooo worth it!)

Pattern from Cat Bordhi's first Magical Moebius book.

I will soon be putting skeins of this stuff up for sale in my Etsy store. I have a lot of it! Just love this colorway -- it really does make me think of Pomegranates. The piece is huge and the fashion possibilities are endless!
Looped twice and draped over head.Looped twice and draped Just So.Looped three times.

I need to take this out of its bath now and hang it up to dry so I can wear it to tomorrow night's Christmas Party...

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Points - no knitting

So, after seeing the pics of me circulating on various websites since my trip to meet Alison Hyde in Vermont a few weeks ago, I realized I had to do something about my weight. I honestly don't know how the entire state of Massachusetts glued itself to my arse, but it did. My doctor told me all my recent tests came up "normal" (though he neglected to send the numbers from my TSH test). Then he went on to say that I need not complain further about feeling unwell until I had shed some pounds and begun a workout program. I was VERY depressed for a good solid week, and in that state, last Tuesday in fact, I joined Weight Watchers online and proceeded to Count Points.

Yes, that's right. Two days before Thanksgiving, I joined Weight Watchers and started Counting Points.

O, my friends, can you IMAGINE how difficult it is to fit Thanksgiving Dinner into a 29 points a day allowance? It was pathetic, truly pathetic. You should have seen me, dutifully measuring out a 1/4 cup portion of stuffing. Ditto for the squash and green bean casseroles, and only one slice of turkey, no skin of course, and a wee bit of gravy. Then I made sure my piece of pumpkin pie was ONLY a half, with one scoop of fat free frozen yogurt. For snacks, I grazed on raw veggies and fat free dip. Oh, I was so good. Oh, I worked so hard. And I totally blew my points for the day anyway, but only to the tune of about 38. I spent some cheating points and swapped my activity points. Most other days, I do not even get up to 29 points, so I figure it will all balance out in the end.

I have also joined Curves again. I had good luck with that program in the past, and I do like that it takes up such a small amount of time per day. Also, I find that circuit training keeps me from getting bored. I don't have time for that, hopping from station to station every 30 seconds.

Now, if I want to take a walk, it can be for pleasure rather than -- oh, damn, I have to go walk now or won't get any activity points today.

Seriously -- confession time here -- I need to lose slightly under 100 lbs. I hope this diet/exercise thing works. According to the body mass index, I shouldn't weigh more than 144.5 lbs. The last time I saw that weight was 1980, and I had to starve myself to get there. So, if I can get down under 200, maybe I'll feel encouraged enough to go further.

I really don't want to have a gastric bypass. Ever. I just want to be "normal." Whatever that means.

I do feel a lot better already since I started all this. Sometimes making a decision and saying, enough already! makes one feel more in control. I feel thinner, too, even if it doesn't really show yet. Energy level is much improved. It can only get better, right?

The points system is wonderful. So many different foods to choose from, and great recipes on the website. You can even write you own recipes, program them in, and their tracking system will magically tell you how many points are in each serving. Surprisingly, I have not been hungry, or felt even remotely deprived.