| Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
I knew we had to make this as soon as I saw it on the Delicious cover. It looks so good! (Plus, it fits nicely with my goal of eating as many mangoes this summer as possible.) Snookums made it earlier today. It's basically a tiramisu but with mango flavouring instead of coffee. Ladyfinger cookies are dipped in Grand Marnier and orange juice, then layered with a thick vanilla cream and mango slices. It turned out pretty spectacular. I forgot to make the accompanying raspberry sauce, so we'll have that with it tomorrow. :)
Anyway, after a lovely lie-in this morning we're both in full-on hermit mode. The Snook is off raiding in Azeroth, while I plan on making some serious progress on St. Brigid. I've got Skype on if any of the family feel like saying hello...
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
When I got home tonight, I thought I'd check on my veggie patch. So I stepped out the backdoor and, la-di-da, nearly walked headfirst INTO THIS.
The massive web spans from the lilli pilli tree across the path, and Mr. Spider is sitting directly at face height. His body is over an inch long, easy. As I stood frozen and time slowed to a crawl, I was able to see that he was merrily cocooning some unfortunate insect (a bumblebee? a cockroach?) to save for dinner. I slowly backed into the house and grabbed my camera. I got as close as I dared to get the shot, then scampered back in to google spider identification charts. Mr. Spider looked kinda hairy, so my first guess was that he was a Huntsman. (They look evil but aren't, really.) But I quickly discovered that HUNTSMAN SPIDERS DON'T MAKE WEBS! So I tweeted for help, and luckily Issy came to my rescue. It's a Garden Orb Weaving Spider. Oh, and judging by the size he's probably actually a she. I'm going to call her Shelob. She'll be there until the Snook gets home and prods her with a stick, I imagine.
Update: There I am!
Monday, December 21, 2009
Nov 23: 21.5km (13.35mi)
Nov 30: 23km (14.2mi)
Dec 7: 24.5km (15.2mi)
Dec 14: 26km (16mi)
According to my Buildup Schedule, this week (week 4) will be a recovery week of only 20km. Looking forward to it. My lower back was bothering me a little last night, and overall my legs are feeling a little tight and tired. I was amused to note that I'm actually getting a small callus on the ball of each food. Hey, I guess that's proof that I'm a forefoot runner now!
Sunday, December 20, 2009
After five years of being married, the Snook and I finally have wedding rings! We just picked them up today.
They're platinum and each one features the other's fingerprint, stretched out around the band. They were designed by my friend Candi Robertson of Candi Precious Jewelry. They're shiny, shiny nerd rings and I absolutely love them.
The backs of the rings feature a timestamp in hexadecimal: "419F E890". That's the exact time we got married five years ago. (Candi was dubious at first, but now she loves the idea.)
I got to see the rings in raw form a couple weeks ago, and I'm amazed at the change. Candi did such a good job of polishing and finishing them. If you need any jewelry at all, I highly recommend calling her up!
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
This is pretty much the exact debate the Snook and I have every time we're in Coles. I REFUSE to use the self-serve checkouts. As a former checkout chick, I know that trained checker is always going to be faster than a bunch of slack-jawed shoppers tentatively poking at a touch-screen. I'm also extremely dubious that Coles is passing on the savings they make from cutting those checker jobs. (Why should they? They have a duopoly.) I am also still unhappy with the store redesign, which makes no logical sense whatsoever. No one can find anything. (Example: Cat food and cat litter are in two separate aisles, and while you might assume that the store would want to make it convenient for shoppers, they'd obviously rather get us to spend thirty seconds longer in their hamster maze.) They've also put an aisle across the middle of the store (breaking every aisle in half), so there's no clear traffic flow and the whole thing is a nightmare. I also refuse to use their butcher while there is a perfectly good independent butcher fifty feet outside the entrance (who they're obviously trying to drive out of business). So why am I still shopping there? It's the only place around to get the stupid cat supplies.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
I'm up to row 117. The back is meant to be 178 rows long, but algebra tells me that at my present row tension, it's going to be about 10cm too short. So I'll probably be doing an extra repeat to bring me up to 200 rows. I'm getting 35 rows to the ball of Silkroad Aran Tweed, so it looks like the front and back will take about 12 balls in total.
Saturday was a banner day in the Sydney knitting community. First we had the final Inner City Guild meeting for the year, a massive affair that topped out at forty people! I've put some photos up on the IC website. We had some amazing food, with Tia's Christmas Cake Balls as my personal favourite. After the meeting, about half of us headed across the road to the Sidewalk Cafe at the Opera House. Sue had organised a summer "knitting in public" event for us billed as the "Sydney Festive Season Celebration." We had a Kris Kringle gift swap (I got some yummy snickerdoodles!) and spent the afternoon knitting and chatting in the sunshine. Crowds of people drifted past as they left Handel's "Messiah" and did double-takes as they saw 20 people knitting. (Many thought we were doing some sort of charity event.) It was a lovely day, even if I did get sunburnt on the back of my shoulders! There are photos over at Bells's site.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
First things first though, right? Before I even consider marathon training, I need to build up my weekly mileage. I've been averaging about 20kms a week or so, and I need to just about double that to have a decent "base." I'm using this buildup plan and so far it's going well. (I'm halfway through Week 2.) I've successfully increased to running four days a week with 1-2 days of additional cross training. I'm still forefoot running, and my only pain at the moment is a twinge in my right calf. (I think some ice and Voltaren are in order there.) My current plan is to run the Sydney Half Marathon in May and then see how I feel after that. If I do go for the marathon, it would likely be the Melbourne Marathon in October.
The other big news is that I bought a Timex Heart Rate Monitor and I've been using it for the past week. For effective base training, I'm meant to stay within 70-80% of my maximum heart rate (with one run a week up to 85%). That's actually meant slowing right down, and on warm days I have to walk the hills to stay within it. The more I do it though, the faster I'll get within that range. The Timex works great, and I definitely recommend it for any other interested beginners. You do have to wear a chest strap, but it fits pretty nicely under the band of my sports bra. When I'm running with my HRM on my left arm and my iPhone with RunKeeper on the right, I feel like the BIONIC WOMAN!
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
The honeymoon period with St. Brigid is officially over. Last night I suddenly became aware of how painfully slow it is. Those cable sections? They're 24-row repeats and EVERY ROW IS DIFFERENT. No memorisation allowed. I'm 50 rows in, but the back is meant to be 178 rows long. Given how tight my row gauge is, I'm probably going to have to lengthen it too. So conservatively I'm about one-fifth of the way through the back, which means I'm one-tenth of the way through the whole body... and given how ginormous the sleeves are, that'll add a fair bit... so... KILL ME NOW.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
I've started my project for the 2010 Sydney Royal Easter Show: "St. Brigid" by Alice Starmore. Yes, I'm still stuck on Starmore arans. And I'm NOT doing this in cream; I'm going to keep knitting things I want to wear and the judging committee can suck it. This is Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed in "Posie," which I've always wanted to knit with. So far so good!
I went to a tea party! The regular Thursday night crowd from the Morris & Sons SnB all met up on Saturday afternoon at Harrogate Teas. We nibbled on sandwiches, sipped a variety of teas, and guzzled our weights in champagne. (I'm serious.) It was so much fun! We also had a "Kris Kringle" swap of decorations, where I got a lovely sparkly dove ornament. And of course, we all frocked up. I'm wearing a vintage "Jonathan Summers" dress that Ma Snook gave me last year. (Everyone joked that I looked like a Stepford Wife.) Lyn has some great photos here, or read on for mine... [more...]
Friday, December 4, 2009
That was good timing! I posted my review yesterday and then found out that the 2.0 update dropped on the same day! The new version includes historical graphs of your sleep patterns. Here's my data from last night:
Went to bed / woke up: 11:13 PM / 7:00 AM
Total time: 7h 46m
This wasn't a good night's sleep. I was more aware of the iPhone than I've been the previous few nights, and every time I turned over I thought of how it was being recorded for the graph. Then as the sun started to come up, the damn cats went berzerk. I didn't sleep very soundly for those few hours. I finally got back into deep sleep an hour before the alarm... which meant there was no optimum time to wake me and I got up at 7am feeling groggy and annoyed.
Okay, so the jury's still out on whether this is all make-believe. I'm trying to find scientific research backing the ability of actigraphy to accurately detect sleep stages, and I haven't got proof yet. I think I need to get the Snook to hook his iPhone up too so we can compare graphs in the morning. I'm really curious whether he's affecting my phone's data...
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Last week I happened to see a tweet about a new iPhone app called Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock. As I am a notoriously crappy sleeper - and the app was pretty cheap - I decided to try it out. The idea is that your movements in bed are a fairly accurate indicator of which stage of sleep you're in. (This isn't snake oil; it's called actigraphy and sleep clinics use it.) The accelerometer in the iPhone registers your movements through the night and therefore knows what stage of sleep you're in. You set the time you want to wake up, and the app wakes you up at the optimum point in your sleep cycle in the half-hour window before the alarm. I've just been resting the iPhone face-down on the corner of the bed, not covered by anything. (It hasn't fallen off yet.) I ran the "test" phase the first night, where you move around and it makes sounds to show it's registering the movements of the mattress. Interestingly, it did register when the Snook rolled over but I didn't, which made me wonder whether it would be accurate. I also wondered whether the cats' daily wrestling match on the bed at 5am would mess it up. At any rate, the first two nights we used it, the alarm just went off at the specified time. (I expected that; they say it can take a couple nights to get calibrated for your sleep patterns.) Since then, I've had two days where it went off before the set time and I definitely noticed that I was awake instantly, without any grogginess. The first day, I actually turned it off and went back to sleep for half an hour (since I'd set it a bit early), and I noticed when I got up the second time that I felt more sleepy and crappy. This morning, I got up as soon as it went off and felt great. The Snook said he also felt better than usual, so maybe it does work fine for two people (or else our sleep cycles have synchronised over the years). I'm still not convinced it isn't just the placebo effect. Maybe I feel awake and energised because I want the thing to work? Only more experimentation will tell. I'm eagerly awaiting the 2.0 update, which will actually graph your sleep cycles from the previous night. Theoretically then I could do some experiments sleeping on my own to see whether the Snook is throwing off my timing. So if you're a bad sleeper like I am - or just a "body hacker" who likes self-experimentation - it's a great little app to play with. Does exactly what it says on the tin!
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