Thursday, November 18, 2010

Of Yoga and Circles

Made it back to yoga today for the first time in about 9 months.  Turns out biking and running don't really improve one's yoga practice.   I was way creakier than the older crowd.  But it's a lovely part of my off-season routine, and there's a teacher I love at the Y (cheap!), so I'm back on the horse - Tuesday and Thursday mornings at the Y with Julia.

And this, friends, is exactly what my yoga practice looks like.  Freaky man in banana-hammock standing on my back in odd Christ-like pose while I press my forehead gracefully to my shins.  Except that that's totally not what I look like at all.  For one, my forehead doesn't even come close to my shins, and for two, even if it did, there would be no sweaty fellow in a speedo standing on top of me.  Because that's just weird.

But in the world of real pictures, here's a preview of the new circular glass tile necklaces.  This one's still in its infancy - not trimmed or finished - but I'm pretty happy with how it's coming.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

We Have a Winner! And amazingly beautiful video clip.

First - Leslie drew the winner for the lantern - and the winner is. . . .Anna Katherine Montgomery!  Yay!!!

Second - I just saw this video on a friend's facebook page (isn't that how everyone gets all of their information??), and was blown away:

I've seen clips of this guy riding before, and it's always AMAZING, but this one is also beautiful.

In other news, I'm actually getting back in the saddle with some work-type stuff.  I've found some round glass tiles that I'm rather taken with, and am making a bunch of those this week, as well as some more large pendants.

City Market is closed this week - because of the Holiday Parade.  But we'll be at the Vance Craft Explosion at Vance Elementary on Sunday noon-5, which looks to have a rather good lineup this year.  It's always fun - and if nothing else, being in an elementary school gym brings a good hit of nostalgia.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Race Report - Swank!

Soooo, it's official - I survived Swank!  It had been one of those big goals that loomed out in the distance for a while, and it's slightly surreal to actually have it finished.  To be sure, for people who are serious endurance mountain bike racers, it's not that huge of a deal.  But then, how many serious endurance mountain bike racers are there??  So for the rest of us, those that like riding a bike and find the idea of a big goal appealing, it was kind of a big deal.  And I guess women must find it a bigger deal anyway, because out of the 150 registered entrants, only 7 were women.  Yep.  Seven.

So. . . the start was actually quite civilized.  A 10am start, which with the time change felt like 11, so no crazy early alarm action.  My mom (the uber-sherpa) came with me, and we carpooled in with another woman racer who I was randomly paired up with, but really liked (in one of the fortuitous turns of fate), and we all had a rather enjoyable time hanging out before the start.  Here I am right before it was time to go:

You might notice we aren't actually on our bikes.  Because it's a LeMans start - meaning you run a loop around a field before jumping on your bikes and heading out.  And theoretically this should be the one place where I would actually excel - being a runner and all.  Except that I see no reason to go sprinting like a crazy woman at the beginning of a 6 hour race, so I was pretty firmly in the back half for the beginning.

This was my first time racing with a heart rate monitor, and it was the bomb. (If you aren't used to that expression, and/or don't know my neighbor Geoffrey, I mean that phrase in the best possible way: "It was the bomb!!!")  I loved it - easy to tell when I was going too hard (e.g., climbing up Long Branch, I looked down and my heart rate was 185.  Not the bomb!! ), and also easy to tell when I was doing pretty well and was not actually going to expire regardless of how it felt (e.g., the last climb at hour 5.)  So overall I felt pretty in control, walked down Farlow Gap as planned (I have a great deal of respect for people who ride that trail, but not much desire to actually do it myself), FINALLY got my nutrition figured out (it mainly involved a LOT of Perpetuem), and finished feeling pretty good.

Here I am coming through the finish:

That pretty much says it all.  I was REALLY happy to be finished, REALLY happy to have met my time goal (I wanted to be under 6 hours, and I was 5:46), and REALLY happy to have kept myself more or less upright for the duration.

My friend Robin (my usual biking partner-in-crime) came to watch the finish, which was such a nice surprise, and took these pictures.   Here I am just after.  Again, looking quite happy just to be off the bike.

It turned out that my 5:46 was good enough for 4th place woman (out of the very slim women's field), and they actually gave prizes.  Here's the jersey I won:

Cool, right?  That's a good thing about mountain bike races - they always give out really good stuff.  Sure, sure, it's all about the personal satisfaction, but who's going to turn down really good stuff??

And here Robin and I are under the finish line.

A good day complete, a big goal accomplished, a good friend to share it with - yay!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Win Free Stuff!!

Seriously, who wouldn't read this with a title like that??  Best of all - it's true!  And it involves the lanterns:

Here's the story:  my friend Leslie just started her blog and FB page for her business - Roost Interior Design.  To kick it off, she's giving away one of my lanterns (pictured below - although if you're familiar with my lanterns, and you have your heart set on cosmos instead of maidenhair, for example, I'm happy to do a little swapping around.)  

Here's the lantern looking sultry with its red velvet:

And here it is with a more casual day look:

So, to enter the drawing all you have to do is like her FB page (for one entry) or my FB page (for one entry), or share either of our pages with a friend (for another entry). And then leave either of us a comment on our blogs letting us know what you did, and how many entries to give you.  (Example:  "Wow, what an awesome contest!!  I liked both of your pages, and recommended them to a friend (or 30), so put me in for 3 entries!")  Even if you're not quite that enthusiastic, any sort of comment that lets us know will work.

 Soooooo - once more:  like either of our pages - one entry!  Like both of our pages - two entries! Like both of our pages and share either/both with a friend - 3 entries in the contest for you!  What could be easier??  (And, if you already like my FB page, and thus can't like it again, just let me know and that will count for an entry.)

Spotted Dog's FB Page:  here
Roost's FB Page:  here

So - leave a comment and let us give you free stuff!  What could be simpler??

In other news, tomorrow is the premier for Race Across the Sky 2010 - the documentary of the Leadville Trail 100 - and it's showing at the Carolina.  Yes I purchased my tickets the day they went on sale weeks ago.  Yes I'm genuinely excited to see it.  Yes I'm a total geek.  But take a look at this trailer - how cool is that???  

Race Across The Sky 2010 from Citizen Pictures on Vimeo.

And the timing's perfect - Swank is on Sunday, so I'm hoping to be totally inspired.  (yes, I'm a geek.)  

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Oh No We Didn't!

Except - oh yes we did! Dress up in full costume for the first time in about 15 years. (although we should probably only get partial credit since we found almost very bit of this stuff strewn about our living room since Sam has a major Star Wars fetish.)

But - dress up we did. Because we were going to a Halloween Party at a very cool new business in the River Arts District. It was purported to be a costume party, where "everyone" will be dressed up, and generally I never fall for that one. But this time we decided to suspend our disbelief and go ahead and dress up. And then we showed up and didn't see a single other person in costume. It was totally like this week's episode of Modern Family where Mitchell shows up for work in a Spider Man costume and discovers he's the only one. (Not that I'd ever watch such mindless entertainment of course.)

So anyway, we braved it out, and immediately latched onto the only other couple in costume (who actually turned out to be totally cool - mountain bikers!), and then we got some company with some other costumes.

So we had a great time, but our night wasn't over. Oh no. It was Leslie's birthday dinner, and we thought about going home to change, but it seemed like so much trouble. And for what, really? Just to keep every single person you see on the street for whipping around to stare at you?? Turns out we don't mind that so much, since we trooped straight into Limones in full costume.

Yep, Limones, one of the nicest restaurants downtown. Thank God it also happens to be owned by a lovely couple whose son is in Sam's class. So at least they didn't throw us out immediately (although it's entirely possible Amy wanted to.) Instead we had the singular sensation of every single person in the restaurant swinging around to stare at us when we walked in.

And to be honest - of course they did! Darth Vader, Princess Leia and a 50s Housewife just entered the building. But then the sensation died down a bit, and we enjoyed a couple of their gigantic Margaritas, and a good time was had by all.

Although I was approached by a couple of women wanting my secrets for creating Leia's buns. (Step 1 - grow an enormous amount of very thick hair. . . )

Friday, October 29, 2010

This Time I Mean It!

This is kind of embarrassing. Here I am again, jumpstarting this blog by doing a photo retrospective of the past 3 months. But I'm back for real this time, and here's why: I can't possibly let Leslie out-blog me. Sure, she has a cool business and a great topic (the rehab of an old house in Montford), but that doesn't mean I can't beat her with sheer volume. And thus out-blog her. And I win! [You may be thinking at this point - this is a contest?? And ok, sure, the answer is no. In fact Leslie's about the least competitive person I know - and I have verified proof, having taken a racquetball class with her in 1992. But you've got to take your motivation where you can find it.]

So, I'm back. And this time I mean it!

Without further ado, the last 3 months:

We headed back to the beach - for a triathlon. My first ocean swim. But first we gamboled about as one does at the beach.

Accompanying us to the beach - Leslie! And providing our accommodations - her brother Douglas! (as an aside, I love this picture, because it looks like the ones we used to take when Douglas would come to college and take us out to dinner. So it looks just like those pictures if this is what we looked like in 1991.)
An actual triathlon picture! I haven't managed to do too many of them this year, but this one was fun. My first ocean swim - to say I was a little intimidated when I watched the first wave get swept past the turn buoy by the current would be an understatement. In fact, I started so far up the beach that at least half of my wave was ahead of me when I made the turn - but I by God did not get swept past the buoy! And then I biked surprisingly strongly for me (probably because it's dead flat down there?), and had a much better run than I expected (again, the flat no doubt helped), and ended up 2nd woman overall. To say I was surprised would be an understatement.
A week later, Clark ran the Citizen Times Half Marathon, and Sam as usual helped him celebrate his finish.

Some fishing took place - Shii caught his first fish, with help from my mom. It's a real sign of how much she loves her grandchildren that she's turned into a rather capable fisherwoman.

And some baseball of course. Couldn't let a retrospective go by without at least one baseball pic.

New holiday ornaments! They're hollow - and thus not likely to break your tree branch in half.

We tried out LEAF for the first time. Turns out, it's fabulous. I know everyone says that, but I wasn't sure that 3 straight days of vending was really going to be a blast. But yep, it was.

Aided largely by how much fun Sam had. Here he is trying out the aerial arts.

Also much zip-lining was enjoyed.

And in the midst of all this I've been riding my bike. A lot. Because I've entered this race called the Swank 65, and I'm slightly intimidated by it. (ok, fine, I'm scared sh!tless.) So Kelly and I have been heading to Pisgah and riding. And having fun. (as an aside, what is up with my bike helmet?? It always looks really high and kind of sideways. So I resemble a slightly tipsy miner. May have to do something to remedy that.)

Our reward for all of the Pisgah riding: views like this. We climbed up to the top of Farlow (which is a long, long way in a small, small gear), and every now and then the trees would open up and you could really see where you were. Which was totally worth seeing.

Will report back with more. For real, this time.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Prodigal Returns

I was just talking to a friend, who said she was reading the blog, and I was all "Wait, I have a blog???" Oh yeah, right, I have a blog! So, here are the last two months in pictures, in no particular order, and then we'll return to our regularly scheduled program in which I actually write on this thing.

Look - I started really making jewelry!

And then I kept making jewelry - here are rings:

I then started selling it. Really, one girl can't wear that much jewelry.

We had a blast at Art in the Park and Big Crafty - made a bunch of lanterns for those two.

My mum was in her first 5K ever (how cool is that??) - and Sam was quite the cheerleader.

Sam turned 8, and had a birthday camp out with two of his friends. (Note to self: next time maybe my dad shouldn't be solely in charge of how big the camp fire gets.)

Sam played All-Stars at the end of the Little League season. He was thrilled. Turns out we practiced or had a game EVERY DAY for two and a half weeks. While quite happy for him, we were slightly less than thrilled.

I got a new bike! I love him! His name is Flash! (or Precious, but he gets embarrassed if I call him that in public.)

Robin and I took Flash and her un-named steed for a ride in Pisgah, where we stumbled upon this amazing waterfall in the middle of nowhere.

Robin and I at the end of said ride, looking happy.

We went to the beach!! And my boys built their usual giant sand sculpture. This was some kind of deathworm, according to Sam. And he named it Sheldon.

Family at the beach. Best time ever.

So there you have it - two months encapsulated in 10 minutes. Rock on.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Race Report - 12 Hours of Tsali

Last Saturday was the 12 Hours of Tsali mountain bike race. Basically, if you're crazy you start riding your bike around the Right Loop at Tsali, and 12 hours later you stop and see how far you've gone. If you're only slightly imbalanced then you find 3 good friends and sign up as a team - so then you ride around Right Loop, wash yourself (oh yeah, and your bike) off at the bike wash, lie in the shade pouring ice water on yourself while two of your friends ride, and then put all of your gear back on and get ready to do it again while your third friend rides. I would be in the latter category.

We got there in the pouring rain to set up our pit area, and then as soon as we were totally wet and all of our stuff was too, the rain stopped for the rest of the day. Awesome. Which meant that the first lap of the race (which I rode) was a complete mudfest.

Here I am after said lap:

Emmie's laughing because she didn't have to ride in all that mud. (although the little kid in me really likes riding in all that mud. under normal circumstances it's so irresponsible to ride on muddy trails. but this was a RACE - so I HAD TO ride those muddy trails. again, awesome (but for real this time.))

My three race compatriots. Kelly (who I'm pretty sure turned the two fastest loops by any woman in the whole race - there's a reason why she's wearing the sponsored jersey), Emmie (who I'm absolutely certain had the fastest time of the day if you factor time not spent training into actual minutes on the course), and Robin, who is my usual partner in crime and who has gotten in crazy good shape over about a 1 month period.

Here I am taking off for my second lap. Do I look happy or what? There's something to be said for this biking thing. (Although if there had been a cameraman at the top of the fire road there would also have been some distinctly not-so-happy pics.)

Kelly and Robin walking me up for my third lap. Love the headlamp on in the middle of the day. Except back in the woods it really wasn't all that bright, so then the headlamp seemed not so crazy.

And when I finished my lap it was getting downright dark. Which turned out not to be such a good thing for Kelly. Lesson we all learned: invest in good lights for night racing. Seriously. Good lights are good thing.

All four of us after Robin's last lap. It was almost 11:00 pm by this point. Turns out 12 hours is a long time. But - we had a great time.

And - we actually ended up on the podium. Second place women's team! Woohoo! And maybe even cooler, we were 17th out of 35 for all of the teams (womens, coed and mens.) The trophy was this enormous 3 foot tall monstrosity covered in glitter and a gold plated girl on a bike. It looked like something I won in 4-H in 1980. Except for the girl on the bike part. We made Kelly take it home since she rode the fastest laps, and her kids love it.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Week in Pictures

Here it is - the week in pictures.

Candles, candles more candles. And a few lanterns. This was most of Tuesday.

Half of the labor force of Spotted Dog Farm. (aka my dad)

The other half of the labor force at Spotted Dog Farm. (aka me) I know, fetching outfit, right?

Little League Night at the Tourists game. Soooo fun. And cute. Have I mentioned how cute Little League is? Thought so.

Version 1.0 of my next big idea. There'll probably be a version 2.0 and 3.0 before this totally comes to fruition, but right now I'm wearing version 1.0 and loving it. I even went running with it on to test out the construction - it passed a hot and sweaty 4 mile run with a bunch of harder efforts in the middle (aka to those that run, but not to those with middle-school humor, as fartlek. Seriously. Look it up.) And since it made it through all of that with flying colors I'm thinking I'm on to something here. There will be more beta testers. I'll report back.

And now I'm off to bed. You think that tent just puts itself up at 6:30 in the morning? After it loads all of the flowers and plants in the van and drives it over to the market? If only it did. Maybe I should look into an upgrade.