outside of my comfort zone

I took up rock climbing over the summer accidentally. It does seem odd that I could have slipped and fallen into rock climbing but it was really unintentional. My younger son was interested in rock climbing so I took him bouldering which we thought would be easier and less scary than top rope climbing. Well, it turns out it’s a lot harder so I took a belay class intending to just belay him. I told the instructor that when the class started, that I didn’t want to climb. He told me I needed to climb a little in the belay class so someone else would have a chance to belay. So I did, and then he kept encouraging me and I made it all the way to the top of a climb. (A very easy climb, but still a climb!)

My son and I met up with a friend and her kids at the climbing gym a few times and she and I belayed the kids and also got to climb a bit. I was enjoying it and then started climbing with a friend of mine who has been doing it longer and is much better at it than I am. She has been giving me tips and encouragement and I have impressed myself with how I have overcome feeling scared about being up high and trusting my body to be able to push me up and hold me there! There is some learning to trust the rope too. It does a lot of the “keeping me up high” work.

There are other facets of my life where I have stepped out of my comfort zone recently and one of them is marches and protests. I went to a protest tonight about politics. I am very concerned about the state of our democracy and wish that I felt like things could get better. I showed up for a rapid response protest without a sign and without much idea of what I would do there, but a wise friend told me recently, showing up is often the most important thing (in life and in protest).

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my favorite sign from tonight

In spite of hating crowds, since January 2017 I have attended two women’s marches, a rally against the muslim ban, a rally against family separation, and now this response to the firing of the Attorney General.  I want to believe these things will make a difference. I hope they will make a difference but I am not sure they will.

I will say this: I would much rather be rock climbing.

FO: Knitted Knockers

I’m going to try to post about the few things I’ve finished since I last posted. I am not sure I have pictures of everything, but I will try.

First up: Knitted Knockers!

At Stitches West this year I stopped in the Knitted Knockers booth and picked up three shades of Cascade Ultra Pima (the yarn they recommend) as well as donating a couple more skeins. Knitted Knockers are exactly what they sound like: a knitted breast prothesis for breast cancer survivors. Apparently the cotton is light and breathable and the way you knit them allows for adjustments in size if needed. I knit several sizes in each of the colors I got.

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knockers come in many colors

These are not stuffed because I am going to mail them back for distribution and this way they will be easier to mail. They were quite fun to knit, actually, and I would consider picking up more yarn to make more. If you’re looking for a quick charity knit, I highly recommend this one!

pho good

Sunday means the farmer’s market in my world. On this particular Sunday I was buying the remaining ingredients needed to make chicken pho. My friend Peggy suggested trying to make it at home and we each procured some of the ingredients. My last purchase was the chicken legs and thighs from my favorite chicken vendor, Pasture Chick Ranch. I have been buying my chickens from them almost exclusively for the past few years and I think they are really tasty. Today was no exception!

At the suggestion of another friend, I followed the Serious Eats recipe for Pressure Cooker Pho and it was an excellent suggestion! I think my version turned out to be delicious.

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I like my pho heavy on the noodles, light on the chicken.

Peggy picked up enoki mushrooms so I added those when I was cooking the individual portions of noodles. If I made it for myself again, I would add more veggies, maybe spinach or bok choy, but I think my family preferred it the way it was. I definitely need to make it again because I doubled the recipe but then fewer people came over than expected. Also, Peggy bought a rather large bag of noodles!

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Sooooo many noodles!

This is the bag after I had cooked enough noodles for eight people. Overall, though, I would say this recipe is a keeper and other than having to have some unusual spices on hand, not too complicated!

 

bike spectating

Day 3 and I have already missed a day! Alas. Moving on…

I spent a good portion of today spectating my husband’s 100 mile (!!) bike ride! He took up biking a couple of years ago as a way to get to work and get some exercise in the process. Then he started going on bike rides with a local bike shop and his coworkers encouraged him to go on longer, harder rides. The result was that he signed up for a 100 mile ride to raise funds for Habitat for Humanity. A worthy cause to say the least!

I woke up bright (well, dark actually) and early at 5 to drive him to the starting point and then met him at a couple of stops along the way. The kids and I met him at the finish line to cheer his achievement and drive him home. We only have one vehicle and adding the distance to and from our house seemed like a bridge too far.

Finish line
Coming over the finish line at dusk after starting off at dawn!

So big congratulations to my husband who did a Very Hard Thing today!

Now I need to collapse into bed because I did a Slightly Less Hard Thing (getting up at 5am) and I am tired myself!

November again!

Hey, it’s November! It’s the time of year when I blog consistently (mostly) for a whole month and then declare at the end that I will keep blogging consistently, thought less frequently, and then I just… don’t.

(I’m managing your expectations here, how is that going?)

Normally I start off with a recap of all of the knitting projects I’ve finished since I last posted but this time it is really not many things! I’m not sure what happened to my knitting mojo recently. I haven’t been doing much crafty stuff at all, really. Maybe this month will inspire me to get back on that horse!

(And maybe not. Again, managing expectations.)

Either way, hello! Welcome to my November of blogging!

ending with a beginning

I didn’t do a good job of knitting instead of mindlessly swiping today. I spent the morning helping in the sewing class at my sons’ elementary school for the LED cuff day. I was a “guest teacher”. Being in an elementary school classroom even just for a couple of hours reminded me of some of the benefits of older kids. For example, they don’t generally want to be in your personal space like a kindergartener does. It was fun to see the other parents but I am definitely looking forward and not back.

After the kids were in bed I decided to watch This Is Us and knit, finally. I ordered some yarn recently for the Little Hats, Big Hearts project. They are collecting baby sized red hats for American Heart Month. I picked the very apt Baby Hearts Hat and, thanks to how tiny baby heads are, I’m already almost to the decreases.

baby heart hat

I got three balls of this yarn and it seems like I will get two out of each ball, so I guess I am knitting six hats!

So that is NaBloPoMo for this year. I missed a couple of days and posted very short entries on others. I enjoyed the exercise of trying to find something to say each day. I would like to say that I’ll be blogging more regularly after this, but I think we all know that is not true. See you next November, at least!

more leftovers

I ate leftovers again today. See?

leftovers

After lunch, we went to a friend’s house and played games. I love board games and card games and really enjoy that my kids are old enough to play fun ones and still let me play with them!

I also wanted to share this picture of Docker’s grumpy face earlier today. I think all our going out and visiting friends has him antsy. Hopefully he’ll settle down when school starts back up again.

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leftovers and serger

A friend invited my family over today for “leftovers brunch”, which, frankly, is a brilliant idea. I didn’t get any photos of the beautiful food, including some nuts roasted with herbs and garlic that I ned to try to make myself. I also didn’t get any photos of the wonderful people who were there. I did get a picture of our dogs playing.

Rainbow and Docker

They spent a lot of time running around and chasing each other but didn’t find the tug of war toy until it was almost time to leave. Silly dogs.

As I mentioned, I was planning on getting a serger. Well, yesterday the serger I wanted was Amazon’s deal of the day so I ordered it and it arrived this evening!

serger

Craftsy was having a Black Friday sale on their classes so I signed up for a beginning serger class that someone recommended on Facebook as well as a couple of other classes. I still need to order thread, then I can start watching the videos for the serger class. I am very excited!