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Once upon a time, in a land far, far away {like Washington state; the opposite side of the country from where I actually live} an old lady went to visit her hunky muffin {don’t tell him I called him that!} who was working far away. This was not the first time the old lady had gone to visit, as she was lonely without the man she conned into marrying her over 20 years ago…….

When the old lady goes to visit, she takes 3 necessities with her: her magic slippers, her magic portal she lovingly named Kindle Fire, and her magic makers and accessories. Although, to be fair, this time she was traveling light, and dragged her man hither and yon until she found what she had in mind.

Ok, no, really, she found the magic threads first, and then her plan was borne.

Whatever.

Anyhow. The old lady worked day and night; night and day, until lo, the fruits of her labor were realized. Thrilled beyond measure, she did the unthinkable.

She posted a selfie onto Facebook. :lol: :lol:

Poked and prodded by he-who-shall-remain-nameless {you know who you are! ;) } to smile, the old lady posted several such “selfies,” much to the utter chagrin of her eldest girl child.

“This day,” she declared, “I am ruined! My mother hath posted the selfie, and lo, I am much a ruined! My life is over! Wahhhhhhh!!!!! “ she wailed.

 

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True story, that. :lol:

I had flown out to visit Hunny, determined to travel light. And then we went to Walmart. I forget what we were even looking for, but if you know Hunny, it has to be to the pain of death before he’ll go in that place. Somehow, I managed to get him to go in. And then I found the only other thing outside of chickens {and maybe ducks and guineas} that sets my heart all a fluttering and raises my heart rate; quickening in anticipation-YARN!!!!!!!

I am a total yarnie. Hopelessly addicted. My stash is all over the place; some unpacked in the totes; some still packed and somewhere upstairs. I just stole one of my youngest daughter’s organization cubes last week. I moved it into my bedroom and filled it with my working yarn- projects I have lined up right now. I was tired of the piles of bags, so this is much easier.  yarn2

But I digress.

Anyhow, we were in Walmart, and I found the reflective yarn I had been looking for but was unable to find! I seriously squeeeeed!

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What on earth would I need with reflective yarn? Well, winter was coming. That means running in the cold. And that means a need for warm running gear, like hats and arm warmers and things.  So, I got my yarn, found my patterns {yes, the frustrated hunt for circular patterns again}, and got to work.

The first thing I did was make my standard ear warmer. Toasty; cute; super easy.  There are lots of times when you want your ears to stay warm but it’s not cold enough for a hat. The bonus is that, like a hat, the ear warmer also keeps the sweat out of your eyes. earwarmer1

Next, I knew it was time for arm warmers. When I run, I like to layer, so that as I get hot, I can take the layers off as I need to. Again, my biggest issue was finding a circular pattern. You’d think it would be no big deal, but sheesh! Frustrating!

I did finally manage to find what I was looking for. I did not want a thumbed arm warmer pattern. I like to easily be able to slip my thumbs out once I start getting warm, and having the knit thumb would be just too much. The slouchable knitted arm warmers were just the ticket, and pretty easy to make.

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If memory serves, I went for the hat next. Oh, nope, it was the cowl. I found a spiral cowl that I really liked. I am not 100% sure this is the pattern, but it’s the only spiral cowl I have saved, so I assume it is.  One thing to note is that it’s not unusual for me to tweak a pattern. In this case, I had left my interchangeable circular set at home, so I was using what I had on hand, as opposed to what the pattern called for. And then I made it length I wanted it to be.cowl

Another easy project. I packed it in my saddle bag on the last fall ride, and I’ll tell you, it saved my butt. Had it not been for the cowl, I would have spent the entire ride shivering.

Finally, it was time to make the hat. By this time, I had gotten home and knew I’d need one sooner than later. My Leisure Arts Hats & More book came in handy again. This was the Reversible Cable Duo hat. Toasty!

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I’ll spare you the selfie. You’re welcome. :D

I will, however, try once again to ruin my daughter’s life by putting pictures of her in her Halloween costume, “Mother Running Down the Road in the Morning,” here for all of y’all to see. You’re welcome. :D

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While I adore the reflective yarn, bear in mind those reflective fibers are not what I would call soft. There’s a whole line of reflective colors to choose from, but I kept it simple and mixed some non-reflective Day Glo yarn, even though they were different weights. It’s very cool stuff!

Year of the Hat


Or winter of the hat, at any rate. Fast forward a year, and most of the ear warmers have gone missing by the time we wanted to wear them. Since I knew they’d get found at some point {and I think they all did get found eventually}, I was loath to make another set of them, even though they were ridiculously fast and easy to make.

This time, I decided to go for hats. I got frustrated looking, to be honest. Yes, I’m on Ravelry, but man, is that place a serious time sucker! I like to try to search the old-fashioned way to start, before I give up, dig around there, get frustrated some more, and then head back to the WWW. *sigh* My primary point of frustration was finding a really cute pattern, only to discover that it was a flat knit and then needed to be sewn up the back.

Honestly, that should be take-you-to-jail illegal. It’s just so unnecessary! {This is why I love Devin, even though she moved from WP to that-site-that-shall-remain-nameless…. ;) – she converts the patterns so you can choose!} It makes me want to pull my hair out!

It took me a while, but I did manage to find a really cute pattern for the younger girls. This is called the Sweetie Pie hat.

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Next, it was time to make my oldest daughter a hat. At some point, I actually bought a book {gasp!} called Hats & More. It’s a Leisure Arts title from the Best of Knitting series.

 

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We found it while browsing for yarn and stuff and thought it would be fun. This was another really fast hat to make. Because she’s a girl, she wants another hat in the pattern I used for the younger girls. :lol: Go figure.

I made our good friend and hay-mover extraordinaire, M, a beanie. Because he helps shuttle hay in the snow and in the rain without complaining, I figured the least I could do was make him something to cover his head. I have no idea where I found the pattern, but it might have come from one of the other books I have on hand.

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Another circular, super, super easy pattern. :)

 

It’s Not My Fault


I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before. It’s not my fault. Really, it’s not.

It all started last year, when hunting season was approaching. As you know, we have horses. And we like to ride them.

But I was worried about getting shot during hunting season. Truly, I was worried about us outside during hunting season, hunting for eggs and generally doodling around out there, seeing as we’re surrounded by fields and woods.

So, it seemed logical to me to make sure we were all wearing something orange. And, it was getting cold. But not cold enough for a full hat.

Thus, the idea for ear warmers was born. Because I have a house full of girls, it also made sense that we each have different colors to keep them apart.

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These were really fast and easy to make. In the event you are thinking you want to try these, you can find them here. What I really like about Devin’s patterns is that she usually has them in both flat and circular. I am not a fan of knitting something flat when it can be done on circular needles. That’s my two cents, anyhow. More yarn stuff on the way!

2014


Alrighty then. Clearly, I’ve been slacking. It seems the combination of farm life and absent Hunny kills my motivation for writing. Here’s my lame attempt to get sort of caught up….

My mileage stunk for last year. I was trying to bribe myself to finish the painting before I allowed myself to run. {snort) At some point, I said, “Screw it!”

Last year, I only managed to run 332.21 miles. Seeing at I’m already at 108 and some change for this year {which is still sort of dismal} you can see that running was more or less ‘meh’ last year.

And I was dealing with some leg issues. Seemed like I’d get over one sore spot and find I had another. I finally broke down and got some compression calf sleeves, which really seems to have been a huge help. Hopefully, I can ditch them completely before summer hits, because I HATE HEAT.

You may remember that I logged over 1,400 miles on my previous pair of VFFs and had to get a new pair. I’ve gotten just over 304 miles on the new pair, and they are not wearing nearly as well as my others.

While I have the spare pair, they are heavier. Heading into the heat of the summer leaves me wondering if the See Ya Lses will get me through so I don’t have to wear the others when it’s hot. We’ll see. I’d really rather not have to order another new pair, seeing as the Vibram website got hacked and my information was compromised. {Yes, I know there are other places to buy them; I just always start there- and they were on sale!}

Not only are the soles starting to wear, but several months ago, one of the toes got a small hole in between the toes. I don’t think these are nearly as well made as the Bikilas. If they ever go back to the original sole {and not the beefed up one for transitioning folks}, I would be inclined to buy the Bikilas again.


Did I mention I had to get new ear buds? AGAIN?! If memory serves, this was right around the time I had to get new shoes, so that piece of stunning news might have gotten lost in the shuffle.

Anyhow. You know I’m seriously picky about what goes in my ears when I run…… I was nearly distraught when I discovered they no longer were offering my Nike Vapor ear buds. I nearly gave up running. *sigh*

But, because I am a trooper and decided I needed to deal with this horrible, life-altering news, I bit the bullet and got myself a pair of YurBuds. Because I was a former behind-the-ear fan, I got the ones that go behind the ear. You are shocked, I know.  focus-100-for-women

Did you see that ^^^^^ there? You know, that part where I said a FORMER fan? What changed my mind?

The YurBuds. I hate the over-the-ear model. HATE. THEM.

Sure, they swivel. But they also come completely apart. And trying to get them in and over the ear without popping them off requires a mirror and tweaking, etc. Seriously? I want to put them in and GO.

What I have discovered, however, is that I don’t need the over-the-ear feature. Nope. I don’t. YurBuds actually stay in the ear like they are supposed to, so the next pair will not have that boat anchor feature. Besides that issue and the one ear piece cover trying to come off all the time, I am actually quite impressed with them. They are ok. And they actually don’t fall out, which is good.

Fortunately, I don’t need to use them a whole lot, courtesy of my new treadmill, which has an mp3 port. My old one finally died after almost 20 years and thousands of miles. Given how much it rains here and that summer is coming {eventually}, I knew it was time to pony up and make that investment. I don’t have a non-blurry picture of this stunning piece of equipment, but I found a good NordicTrac with the same size motor as my old one. Motor size does matter, kids. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Lest you think all I’ve been doing while non-writing has been avoiding painting and running, I will let you know right now, mister, that I HAVE NOT. Well, ok, I have been avoiding painting. BUT. I’ve done a lot of knitting. And, I have more peeps. :D

So, let’s recap. Running in 2014 was pretty sucky. Not a total loss, but this year will be better in that regard. Unless my man comes home, it will likely be as stressful. I am not a good single parent, I’ll tell you. But running will be better, and darn it, there really is stuff outside that has to get painted soon, nevermind everything inside……. stay tuned. Or don’t. :lol:

Halloween Costumes


Ok, not really. Although, while it was September, when you have a costume contest for horses, you might as well go all the way right into Halloween…………..

Last year, we were introduced to a Fun Show. Part of that fun show was the costume contest. We hadn’t planned on going, and the folks we were with supplied the ideas and accessories for the costumes. That year, only the youngest placed, but we had fun.

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This year, we decided to go all out, and did a bit of planning.

The older two were easy to decide, but the youngest gave us fits. In the end, we decided to give her a hodge-podge; using bits and pieces we found out shopping and then recycling a reversible vampire cape I had made for my son the one year, eons ago. We had Halo all decked out, but by the time we got to judging, much of her accessories had been shed already. :lol:

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Her legs had been wrapped red at one point, but didn’t stay that way long.

 

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She placed 4th. :D

My oldest daughter decided to go as Little Red Riding Hood; her horse being Grandma. Hilarious! This necessitated whipping up a costume for him including a cape and a wee little hat- the night before.

I had taken a double kick to my leg on the trail ride the day before {and folks- if you KNOW your horse is kicky, do everyone a favor and either YELL to the person behind you so they don’t have to get closer to you; don’t STOP and block the rest of the riders, or better yet, USE A FREAKING RED RIBBON LIKE THE REST OF US DO WHO HAVE HORSES THAT MIGHT KICK- it’s not rocket science.}, and was not a happy camper by that point. But, we came home early evening, and I sat and got it all sewn up so we could head out by 7 am the following morning.

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She got 2nd place.

Now, somewhere along the line, I saw a picture that I thought was really cool. I showed it to my middle daughter, and she fell in love. She did a brief practice run, and we knew we would have to push on the actual day.

Originally, they told us we had two hours. In reality, they gave us about an hour and 15 minutes. Needless to say, she didn’t get it all done, even with some sloppy help from me.

She still took 1st place. Not bad for the second time trying at it as a 12-year-old. :D

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Here are a few more random pics.

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At the end of the day, we had a great time!

The kicks totally derailed my running, and I’m pretty sure they were stress fractures, both of them. After several weeks of rest, I started easing back into, but I’m still not 100%. Those spots are still lumpy and sore to the touch. It took a few weeks to be able to bend my leg, but it didn’t stop me from riding a few weeks later.

*** We didn’t invent the wheel on the skeleton horse, of course. The idea came from the brilliant Knot Just Rope. She has a fantastic tutorial, and I’m sure we’ll be doing this again.

That was one of the high points of our year, as you can imagine. Stay tuned- more writing soon! :D

So. Where Were We?


So. Where were we?

This bi-coastal living sucks. Big time. Over the last year, I have learned well how I am absolutely not cut out for single parenting.

One might think that being home on this side of the country with the girls is easy enough. Not.

It’s like living in a frat house but everything is pink. And glittery.

We’re waiting on the guys to come home to celebrate Christmas. The stocking candy has, however, already been raided. I doubt the guys will get any by the time they are able to make it home.

Seeing as we’re at the end of the year, I’ll try to go back and highlight some of the things we’ve done. I’ve got reviews on the new Vibrams to get to, etc.

Right now, I guess I’ll start with the horses.

We added another horse to our herd, bringing the total now to 7. Haven is another Tennessee Walking Horse, and has a really nice gait. She came to us via a friend of ours over the border.

One thing we learned this season is that we needed a spare. We’ve done a number of trail rides; the four of us girls going to the ones nearby. While I could in a total pinch pull 4 horses in my stock trailer, I don’t much like it. I’ve been shuttling us 2 horses at a time, which really only works for rides that are relatively close. My oldest daughter and I have done a few rides that were further away, since I couldn’t double back due to distance.

On the last ride with all of us, we got all the way there, got my youngest’s mare out, only to discover a bloody foot, courtesy of kicking while loaded. It wasn’t terribly bad, but a fun show was the following day, and we didn’t want to take a chance that she couldn’t be ridden. So, on the return trip to get the other horses, I took her back home and traded her out for another.

Given that we actually made use of a spare horse, it was time to think about getting another spare, in the event Hunny was home and something like this happened. When my friend contacted me with the opportunity to get this horse, we decided to drive up and give her a test ride.

She is one of the youngest horses, and is so far doing well. We are looking forward to better, non-soggy weather to ride once hunting season is over.

 

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My oldest daughter and I were laughing just the other day- when we decided to go all out on horses, we really had planned to get more horses like Magic, so that the herd colors would be diverse, given that we already had two bays and a red. With the additions of both Blaze and Haven, we now have a mostly “brown” herd. :lol: Somehow, we have gotten completely smitten with that color! :D

 

 


Go watch the video. I’ll wait. :)

Ok. Everybody here?

If you’ve been reading my book reviews, you’ll probably remember that I generally like Sigmund Brouwer’s books, and don’t shy away from reviewing them.

This one, though…… I’m starting off with my rating. I’d give this book 10 stars if I could.

Go. Read. It.

This is a story, which, while fiction, was inspired by the author’s own parents’ experiences. {That hooks me every time.} It starts with a picture of a young boy’s freedom, family life, and conflict with another boy of similar age. By the end of the book, we’ve gone full circle; right to old age and deeply buried secrets.  thiefofglory

The tale of those secrets- of love lost; assault; tragic decisions made by parents; protection- all revealed- is told through the eyes of an aged man, seeing through his childhood eyes.

Compelling. Riveting, Gut wrenching. Heartbreaking.

“Thus, in solitude one night all these decades later, while still cognizant of the words I spoke, I found the strength and courage to fold my hands together and bow my head and finally ask His mercy.

I etch these last words not from a need after my death to share and dissipate the shame of what I did on the night my mother died at the internment camp, but from a desire to comfort Laura and Rachel, who led me, for the first time since that horrible night, to find the courage in that solitude and pour out my soul in prayer and weep with all the anguish I had denied myself for far too long.”

It’s been a while since a book has affected me like this. I imagine it will be a good long while until I read another one like it.

Go. Read. It.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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