Monday, March 30, 2009

Doctor Day

Today wasn't supposed to be doctor day - but alas it sort of was. Because I finally got in to see a podiatrist for the plantar fasciitis, and then I went to see a different doc for the recurring "my head is full of concrete" symptoms I keep having. As for the plantar fasciitis - I was hoping for a magic bullet, but of course I wasn't going to get one. Because I've read virtually everything I can find on the subject, and I've tried most of the remedies - stretching, icing (and more icing, and more icing), night splints, massage, never-going-barefoot (even in the shower - if you want to turn on your husband, start showering in a pair of crocs), rollering the bottom of my foot, yoga - you name it I've tried it. So instead of offering a magical cure I've never heard of he gave me a cortisone shot (which I really wasn't that into but finally agreed), and then mentioned the dreaded O word - not that one - orthotics. What a pain in the backside. But I guess I'll start walking down that path again.

And then after a bunch of running around (including a quick trip to the farm to water seedlings, some of which are really ready to be transplanted but are just going to have to wait, at least until tomorrow, before I can get started), I went to my second doctor appointment of the day. (And here I just have to say, I'm really not a hypochondriac, and I'm generally quite healthy, but this spring has just kicked my ass. I'm hoping to change that in the near future.) So I went because I woke up Saturday morning and couldn't breathe through my nose. For the third time in 2 months. And I felt like I was about to lose it - NOT AGAIN!! I CANNOT DO THIS AGAIN!! But then it seemed like maybe some deductive reasoning would serve me better than screaming at the fickle fates, so I tried to figure out what's really going on. And all I could think was that maybe the chlorine in the pools is irritating my sinuses and leaving them much more receptive to allergies etc., so I pilfered some of Clark's Nasacort, and eureka! it actually seemed to help. So Rob gave me some of my own, and I'm *hoping* that's actually going to address this problem. Because I'm a little sick of it.

At this point you're no doubt wondering when you're going to get some actual FARM news. Really, no one wants to read about some one else's health woes, and I get that. But it's all I did today, so that's all I've got. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be a little more productive.

But on one last totally unrelated note, I give two thumbs up to "I Love You, Man." Paul Rudd makes me laugh, and even though the first third of this movie was incredibly cringe inducing (how can one guy manage to get himself into so many mortifying situations??), overall it was really funny.

So there, not farm related, but not sinuses either. No doubt an improvement.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spring Veggies

Helped my dad start his vegetable garden today - it's nothing we grow for market, just for fun. We got in 3 bunches of onion starts (that's about 180 onions - the man likes his onions), and lettuce and spinach. Quick and easy, just in time for the rain tomorrow (I hope!) Also cultivated the flower rows using the wheel hoe - how cool a contraption is that??

Monday, March 23, 2009

All-Sports Weekend

Pretty great weekend around here - couldn't ask for better weather, so we spent a lot of time outside. It was sort of an all-sports weekend.

Saturday a.m. - went to the pool. I'm trying to get in a third swim of the week in addition to the tri practices - seems like it would help. I'm not too convinced you can get very fit doing anything if you only do it twice a week, so I'm trying to make the third swim happen. (Which begs the question, can you get fit doing something three times a week? I dunno, but my schedule's full up for more swimming right now.) So had a decent swim, and started figuring out how to do flip turns. Turns out they're not as mystical as they appear. Mine were definitely a bit whompsily-doosikly (like something out of Dr. Seuss), but nonetheless they were a reasonable facsimile of a flip turn. Success. More successful was the woman in the lane next to me who looked like a swimming automaton - she was highly educational to watch though, if not a bit awe inspiring.

Saturday lunch - went mountain biking with Leslie. This was my first time on my mountain bike in. . . about a year?? How'd that happen?? But we had a great time, and rode easy. I told Clark I think I was only really exerting myself for about 5 of the 60 minutes we were out there, but for those 5 minutes my heart rate was about 220. A bit hilly out there.

Saturday evening - nothing sports-ish. Went over to the farm and watered seedlings, then went and saw Duplicity with friends - for the record I thought it was good. I'm not understanding the completely tepid reviews I read of it. Clive Owen was at his most hot - even without a plot that would've been a good movie, and this movie even had a plot - what a bonus.

Sunday lunch - a neighbor and I drove to Lake Junaluska for the training run/ride of the Lake Junaluska Duathlon course. Was my first trial run on the achilles bursitis in a couple of weeks. Rather gingerly jogged around the 2.5 mile run loop, and it felt pretty good. Whew. Then we did the 18 mile bike loop - and here's the funny part, I'm pretty sure that's the furtherest I've ever ridden a bike. At least in recent memory. I've probably ridden my road bike less than 10 times total, and most of that has been commuting to the farm, so it was fun to actually ride around. Didn't feel bad at all - success.

Sunday late afternoon - family swim at the Y! Most fun I've ever had at family swim - and I'm pretty sure that's a direct correlation to the temperature of the warm pool. I don't mind cold water if I'm actually going to be swimming laps, but when you're just bobbing around playing with your kid, cold water is like the seventh level of hell. If hell was really cold. So the water was balmy, and we all practiced diving to the bottom, and Sam showed off his cannonball, and I showed off my newly acquired flip turn (Clark's commentary - "looks good... and, um, I'm sure it'll get smoother the more you do them." I love that man - what tact.) So a good time was had by all. And then instead of Amazing Race, Obama was on 60 Minutes, and I was reminded of what a relief it is to have a former Consitutional Law professor as our President. I thought I didn't pay any attention during Con Law, but apparently some of it seeped in by osmosis, because it turns out I can get pretty fired up when the Constitution is completely ignored. So yes, having a Con Law professor as the President definitely lowers my blood pressure a few notches.

And now it's Monday morning and I've *got* to finish my tax organization and get it all over to the accountant. But first I'm going to go move all of the seedlings back outside since it's supposed to stay above freezing for the foreseeable future.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What to Do When the Cops Come to Serve a Warrant...

or, tales from living in a transitional neighborhood. I've always loved that phrase, "transitional neighborhood" - it covers such a myriad of situations, from houses that are all in some state of being restored, to houses that run the gamut from decent places to live all the way to outright crack house. I'll let you guess which sort of transitional neighborhood I live in. If you guessed crack houses, you're right. Ok, at present it really seems to be just the one crack house. And it's right across the street from my kitchen window. And you might think it's bold (or rude) that I refer to them as the crack neighbors, but really, when you've dropped your crack pipe on the sidewalk about 10 feet from your house, I'm kind of thinking you deserve the title.

So anyway, yesterday I'm standing in the driveway washing out the litterbox (euuuchh), and two cop cars pull up a house away from the cracks. I watch while trying to pretend like I'm not watching, and the two cops go up to the front door of the crack house where all has become suspiciously quiet. And I wonder about that, because they were definitely chatting away on the front porch about 1 minute ago (because this crack house has no power, or water except when they use their illegally-gained key to turn the water on at the street, so the porch is a popular gathering spot), but now the house is silent. Good instincts on their part. Because the cops knock on the door, peer in the window, walk around to the back, stand around chatting for a while and then... just drive off. They can't just bust in to a house looking to serve a warrant - so it turns out, when the cops are coming to serve you - just hide. And if you're really good at it - they'll just leave. Score.

Now at this point you're probably wondering - Holy SH!t, what kind of neighborhood do they live in?! And it's a legitimate question - but the thing is - it's not a bad neighborhood. We have a ton of good friends here, great neighbors, we love our proximity to downtown and easy running and easy biking, and good restaurants, the walking distance to Sam's very good elementary school. We just also have this one, small, not so great issue - the cracks.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wanted: One Foster Parent for Mountain Bike

Seriously, my mountain bike needs a foster parent during the winter. I didn't ride much last year (because, hello, I was too busy trying to figure out how to farm), but I did ride every now and then so my bike stayed in relatively decent condition. But then winter set in. And I got a major running jones. And decided I needed to run a marathon in May - which isn't all that compatible with mountain biking (at least not if you're paranoid about ruining your marathon by wrecking your mountain bike), so the bike sat on our front porch. Which appears to be dry. Appears being the operative word. So then about a month ago I go to take the pedals off my mountain bike to put them on the new road bike (because I'm too cheap to buy new pedals, although now I may have to because I want to ride my mountain bike), and it turns out sitting on the porch all winter is a bad idea. Bad. Idea. Because the poor bike is a mess - the most obvious symptom being the chain which has rusted into a permanent oval. The oval it was in when I parked the bike last fall.

Oops. So major bike restoration project was undertaken this weekend - I got the chain off (which, even with a chain tool, which I own but had never previously operated, was a real pain in the backside because the whole thing was so rusty). I was determined to get the chain off so I could roll it over to our local bike store. I could've just taken it over and let them deal with getting it off, but it's embarassing enough to have to explain to them what happened - presenting actual evidence would've been too much. So I wrestled with the chain tool, finally swallowed my pride and got Clark to help wrestle with the chain tool, finally removed the chain, cleaned the whole thing up (citrus degreaser rocks), finally put on the new grips I bought last year (hairspray rocks), and now Big Bertha is ready to go get a new lease on life. Hooray.

What, you may ask, about my policy of not mountain biking while getting ready for a marathon? About that marathon - it's looking a bit iffy right now, considering that the very act of putting on my running shoe makes my right leg hurt. And I mean *hurt*. So I finally went to the doctor yesterday and he thinks it's bursitis - I'm thinking that's not as bad as, say, a big achilles problem, but it's still a "rest, ice, anti-inflammatory" situation. Not sounding all that marathonish to me.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Hooray for the Rain!

It's been raining pretty much non-stop for the better part of 48 hours now - not a big gully washer, just a lovely keeping-on-raining rain. This might not sound so fabulous to those of you who didn't try to irrigate berries and flowers and vegetables last summer using a hose and an electric pump in the pond - but to those of us who did, it's AMAZING! Because I got some early flowers in the ground this week to go with the larkspur (Bachelor's Buttons, Bells of Ireland, old fashioned sweet-smelling Sweet Pea, and a couple of things who are escaping me right now), and this rain ought to give them exactly what they need to germinate. Yay rain!

The seedlings in the sunroom are looking rather happy also - I've got heirloom tomatoes (Cherokee Purple, German Pink, German Striped, Brandywine, and Sun Gold), peppers (red bells, yellow bells, piminetos and Hungarian wax peppers), herbs (sweet basil, lime basil, purple basil, cilantro, catnip etc.), broccoli, swiss chard, snapdragons, stocks, eucalyptus, lisianthus, bee balm, perennial sunflowers, celosia, bachelor's buttons, and a few other things that are floating around. So it's starting to look like we're really growing things - and that's pretty exciting for this time of year.

We had our first vendor meeting for City Market for this year and it was fun to see our friends, and exciting to hear all of the new plans. The market's full - more vendors that spaces (and wow am I glad we went ahead and joined the market last year, even though it was our first year and I wasn't sure it was worth it for first year - um, yeah!). All sorts of cool plans are going on for including more craft vendors, more kids activities, accepting EBT (food stamps, more or less, which is a great idea for making the market more inclusive), and generally helping the market thrive and evolve. We're excited to be a part of it.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Bike Commute Rocks

So after my lovely run in Charlottesville on Saturday I thought something around my right achilles felt a little weird - didn't even really hurt - just weird. So I thought, probably I should stretch that a little - and I did downward facing dog for about a minute. BIG MISTAKE. Afterwards my right achilles felt like it had been set on fire. Huh. So I've kept ice on it like crazy, and resisted the temptation to run on it (well I tried it once, but it wasn't very successful), so when I got back to Asheville I decided it was time my new road bike and I got a little better acquainted.

She's mainly been looking like pop art in our front room since I got her, because i've been a wee bit focused on the run, but this week I decided to have some fun, since the biking didn't seem to make the leg feel any worse. And after a couple of test rides I decided that really it would be both fun *and* efficient to figure out how to bike over to the farm - a bike commute as it were. So after staring at maps and weighing just how much traffic I was comfortable riding in the middle of, and how many backroads once can find around Oakley, I finally found a route - it involves a little Montford, a lot of River Road, a little Biltmore, and a lot of winding around Oakley - and it totally works! I did it a couple of times this week and it was sooo fun. Except for the first day when I was coming back on the river and the whole road was closed down for a wreck. I was about to have a chickenhearted freak out at the idea of having to ride up Biltmore Avenue to get home (and I had the not-so-small issue of a school bus I needed to meet, so I couldn't dither around too much), but then the very nice cop let me wind my bike through the wreck site and continue on down the river even though all car traffic was turning around. (Yes, it did feel weird to be riding my bike carefully around all of the broken glass, but thank goodness no it didn't look like anyone was too seriously hurt.) So the bike commute is now officially an option - it's 18 miles round trip, so not terribly far on a bike, just enough to feel like you did something. And next I'm plotting the run commute (it's only 12 miles roundtrip - more direct), but first I've got to go to my doctor's appointment Monday morning and make sure my leg's not totally in revolt. So the run commute'll probably have to wait a few weeks. In the meantime - Clark and I are off to the pool in the morning...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Charlottesville - Running Town USA??

We were in C'ville visiting family over the weekend, and I had the loveliest of runs. Our family lives close to campus, so I took a tour of the UVA athletic facilities - I managed to find the football stadium, the basketball facilities (both old and new), the soccer fields, the tennis courts, the aquatic complex, a few others I can't remember, and... the track. Which brings me to my big revelation of the run - I've never seen so many other people out running in my life. And Asheville's a pretty outdoorsy kind of town, but it's not even in the same league as Charlottesville. There were a bunch (like 5 or 6) different training groups that I passed - looked like they were training for marathons and first time races, and everything in between. And there were a ton of individuals (though most of them not college aged, strangely enough - perhaps 7:30 on a Saturday morning was too early for them), and then I ran by the track - and it was a mob scene. I'd be intimidated to even try to find a spot to work out on that track - there were people in the middle of speed work, people lounging in the outer lanes stetching and talking, people jogging around. Basically a whole lot of people in running shoes in Charlottesville, Virginia - it rocked.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Leaving Babies for the First Time

So we're heading out of town this weekend and I'm leaving all of the seedlings in the tender care of my sainted father. But here's the thing - my dad's a very good gardener of larger plants. But when it comes to these tiny little delicate guys. . . delicate is not so much his thing. So I watered and turned and fussed over them all this morning and then said a little good bye - see you later guys, it's been a lot of fun knowing you, but I'm pretty sure a few of you won't be here when I get back. A friend of mind pointed out that maybe this is just a Darwinian winnowing out of the weakest at an early point - if you can't survive my dad for a few days then you probably weren't going to be the strongest of the lot anyway. But I'll still miss them. [Or maybe my dad will surprise, and they'll all be flourishing when I get back - but he is the person we refer to as the "Horse Hollerer" (as opposed to the horse whisperer), so I'm not holding my breath.]

Signs of warm weather were all over the farm - the barn cats were having catapalooza out in a sunny spot in front of the barn. There's quite the convention when they're all out sunning themselves. And this despite the fact that I put on my crocodile hunter hat a few years ago and trapped all of the feral ones and had them spayed and neutered - there's still a bunch of them. No doubt it's the free cat food - but I can't resist a cat. Which explains how El Diablo came to live in our house, but that's a different story. Also enjoying the sun was my retired horse Taylor - he lives underneath a giant waterproof blanket all winter, being quite the sissy about cold weather, so seeing him naked is like the first sign of spring. He looked pretty happy about it - or as happy as it's possible to look with Finn, my young horse, wanting to stand thisclose to him and chew on his hocks. Turns out there's no dignity in retirement.

Think I might finally be getting over the funk - ran the last few days and felt pretty good, although I did sleep 11 hours last night so I'm maybe not quite back to normal. I missed a long run last week that's making me a little antsy, and I keep doing the mental "what day am I going to feel like running 18 miles " debate. So far no magic answer. Maybe Monday? In swimming news, the dream almost died. The Y told us that the tri club couldn't have the lanes to work out anymore, and I was about to have to put on my big girl pants and call up the Masters swim people, but then a reprieve - turns out we have the lanes through May then they'll "reevaluate." Whatever - at least that buys me a couple of swim workouts a week through the marathon and then I may want to join up with the Masters group anyway - in the summer they swim outside at the JCC, which sounds lovely and is also about a quarter mile from my house - rock on.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Baby Boots!

Here's the latest craft project floating around Spotted Dog - hand embroidered baby booties made out of recycled sweaters. Yes, it's a little out there. But I saw this vintage pattern (from 1948 to be exact) and I was kind of captivated.

The exact pattern I saw didn't work quite the way I wanted - the booties were a little insubstantial looking and I was afraid they might not stay on when a determined little foot was trying to shed them.

So I tinkered with the pattern a bit and ended up with something a little more boot-like in its construction - I'm thinking even the most determined little kickers won't be able to get rid of these. Plus they're so darn cute I can barely stand it.

All of this is lead-up to say - we're getting excited for Market to start up again! It's our primary sales outlet, for both farm goods and crafts. I've toyed with selling crafts on etsy, but while I love etsy, and do have a store there, the labor involved in the photography can be a little overwhelming. (By which I mean, if you don't have good photography then things aren't really going to sell on etsy, but if you're not much of a photographer (and I'm not!), then taking the pictures can seem about as time consuming as actually making the goods. Which just seems kind of wrong. And not terribly efficient.) So - although I will sell things on etsy, it rarely rises to the top of my list. Instead I mainly sell everything at City Market (and this is a one-woman industry, so honestly it's not like I produce pallets of stuff). And then we also sell at some craft shows around the holidays. ANYWAY - enough digression - City Market starts up on April 18, and we're all kinds of excited. I'm stockpiling crafts, coming up with new ideas, and getting all of the plants started. Life is good.

In sickroom news - I'm tired of being sick! Ran a few miles on Friday, tried yesterday but wasn't feeling it, so decided to take Sat. & Sun. off of running and try again Monday. Grrrrr. Makes me cranky - just ask Clark. But am about to go do yoga - both for the cranky calf and my cranky self. Wish me luck.