Fiber Fool

Follow the feats and foibles of a fiber fanatic.

2014 Greet the Week with Gratitude #1

Filed under: Knitting, In the Kitchen, Fitness, Gratitude — Kristi at 10:51 pm on Monday, January 6, 2014

Drew Curling at NoCo Ice Center

Goodbye 2013, can’t say I’ll really miss you! But, 2014 - so far so good! In hopes of keeping it that way I’m going to try to greet every week with gratitude! Perhaps that will help me ease back into the routine of blogging as well as lift my spirits.

So, for this first week of 2014, I’m grateful for:

  1. New adventures with DH! This last week we ventured to the NoCo Ice Center for a two hour Learn to Curl class and it was a blast. I have two really, really bruised knees - it is much harder to glide in a lunge position with a broom in one hand and a 42 pound stone in the other than I imagines. But, by the end of the two hours I was much more consistent in staying upright and starting to put more energy towards speed and aim on the stone during the release. Early on I spent a lot of time down on the ice though. I even made the local paper (see picture 6).
  2. Christmas 2013 at Angie's

  3. DH for braving the cold temps and walking to the grocery store to make sure I had food for SnB at our house tonight when the temps were too cold for the car to start.
  4. Snowy Saturdays when I don’t have to go anywhere and can curl up with books, coffee and tea in comfy and warm flannel PJs covered in knitting sock monkeys.
  5. Baked breakfasts! I banished cereals a few years ago which means breakfast is not the quick and easy meal that it once had been. In the winter I especially want a hot breakfast. Yogurt and fruit just won’t do. So we’ve taken lately to making baked egg stratas and baked oatmeals. It is so slick as we throw everything together before bed, pop stuff in the oven while we shower and boom it’s time to eat when we’re all dressed. We get a hot, filling breakfast with less stress than something that requires full morning prep!
  6. Diana's Hat Finished and Another In Progress

  7. I was so lucky this holiday season and got many of the items on my wishlist. One of which I’ve been enjoying a lot lately is Green Gables Knits. I cast on Diana’s Hat on Christmas Eve. I ended up using one size larger needle because it was handy and I had a lot of reasons to justify it (I tend to knit tight, my head is on the larger end of the spectrum for women, etc. etc.) and it is a tad too big after blocking. So, I took the time to locate the proper needle size and cast on another right away. Both are in Plain & Fancy Wool Co’s sportweight. The first was in Primary and Navy and the second is as written in one color, avocado. I’m loving the project as it is such easy knitting for all the holiday visiting and movie watching. Plus, I have a few bosom friends in mind I might like to surprise :-)
  8. How is 2014 treating you so far? What are you grateful for this week?

Fit Friday - A Morning of Service

Filed under: Fitness, Fit Friday — Kristi at 9:05 am on Friday, June 7, 2013

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I did something completely new to me this week. My fitness adventure on Saturday was to participate in National Trails Day. It is an initiative by the American Hiking Society and there are a plethora of activities that take place around the country. Here in Fort Collins, June 1st was the 5th event co-sponsored by REI Fort Collins, Larimer County Conservation Corps and the City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department. The Fort Collins events are service oriented. The past several years they have done trail work at Bobcat Ridge Natural Area. This year, they tackled Soapstone Prairie.

If you’ve been around this blog for long you know I’m no stranger to Soapstone Prairie. While it is a bit of trek out of town, I love the wide open vistas and the rolling hills, not to mention the historical value of the area (it is home to the Lindenmeier archeological site). So, giving back to the natural area while burning calories, getting out and seeing people and filling a Saturday morning and early afternoon seemed liked a no-brainer.

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I am so glad I participated in National Trails Day! I had no clue what kind of work I’d be in for but I figured at this stage in my fitness journey I was up for most anything. I also knew some of the 80 people participating would be kids so there had to be something at my ability level ;-) They split everyone up into 5 different adult groups. The majority of us worked on erosion control along the Cheyenne Rim Trail, the main trail off of the South parking lot. The 4 other small groups did a variety of activities, including putting in a culvert if I recall correctly.

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I somehow ended up with 4 college kids who worked for REI and we rocked it. It took a bit for me to find where I fit in terms of the job duties, but I discovered I was good at shoveling and hauling gravel (even with a dilapidated wheelbarrow that liked to tip over on its rickety leg) and not so good at trying to break up the clay of the trail. Together we put in nearly 1/2 of the water bumps that were installed that day. Now, we did leave ours not quite finished and the kids followed behind and completed the covering and tamping. But dang my crew was great at putting in the trenches to sink the large rocks into and we got into a good rhythm of my putting in gravel under and around those rocks.

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I shouldn’t have been surprised, as I worked with some of the people putting this together for nearly a year, but I was impressed with how organized it was. I also loved how well they set it up to work with kids. The kids crew was set up adjacent to the adults. The kids (those who were done) were taken back to the picnic shelter an hour ahead of everyone else to play some educational nature games with some of the Natural Area Master Naturalists before the lunch. Really a lot of the kids stuck it out and I was surprised.

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Speaking of lunch, Backcountry Provisions, a sandwich shop in Old Town on College Ave donated all the sandwiches for our lunch that day. They were really good. I’m going to have to remember that as I’ve never eaten there before and they have a lot of more interesting sandwiches on their menu. They are also accustomed to packing up the goods to take with on hikes and have the hours to go along with that — opening at 7am!

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It was definitely a productive day. I had dust up to my knees! I don’t know of a better measure. Well, other than how stiff I was at the end of Now You See Me that I went to with my friends Tam & Simmon that evening :-)

You can see all the photos taken by the Larimer County Conservation Corps or by me.

Have you ever participated in an activity like this before? What physical activity have you tried recently that was outside your normal routine?

It’s National Running Day - And My Dad’s Birthday!

Filed under: Uncategorized, Fitness — Kristi at 9:49 am on Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Dad Gets Mouse

Not that those two things have anything in common. My dad is not a runner. Though, when I was younger there was one spring/summer where dad, my sister and I all trained to run a mile at the June is Dairy Month Milk Run. The person to guess their time the closest was a winner in addition to the first finishers in each age category. At the time, my sister was amazing at sprinting and I’m pretty sure she took home some ribbons for shorter races. I’m not certain how we did at the mile. We trained at the track at the Junior High near my grandparent’s house. I think about those training runs sometimes when I’m out running now. How odd that things eventually come around full circle? Dad was probably just a bit younger than I am now when we did that.

Watched the Fast and Furriest 5k to see how people did keeping their dogs out of the way of runners. Verdict? It wasn't set up well so first runners were needing to weave through walkers. But dogs & their owners were generally behaved. I'll probably run i

I have a question for any of you runners out there, or those who like any form of physical activity outdoors - how do you carry your phone with you? I’m developing an armband tan line and I’m not pleased. I could, in theory use a shuffle or nano for runs, except that my heart rate monitor talks via Bluetooth to my phone. Plus, for safety it is nice to have my phone with me. I will admit to wearing it when mowing and gardening as well, which is really probably the source of the tan line as when I run outdoors it is usually pretty early in the morning. But sometimes I chat with mom or DH while I’m gardening.

I had the opportunity to talk with some REI employees on Saturday at the volunteer event so I asked them what they suggested and they said to stick with the arm band because the waist packs chafe? I know that is a common way to carry water and as we get warmer I could use something in that direction as well. What is your experience? Waist packs bad? Okay? I tend to wear semi-high waisted compression bottoms to hold my excess skin in place while exercising. As long as the waist pack is over the pants I shouldn’t chafe should I?

I’ve been contemplating a FitFannyPack. It wouldn’t provide hydration, but it seems like it wouldn’t chafe and would give me a place to tuck house keys, my ID and my phone. But, I’m kind of between sizes… Is there something somewhat similar that would hold hydration as well?

A post-run photo op! Brandon & I completed our first run together this morning. There is a learning curve, so with 3 near trips I called us done at 2 miles. But we did manage to maintain my usual pace, so I'll call it successful, if a tad short.

I’m also getting up to needing new headphones. DH gave me a pair of the higher end Apple ones several years ago that allow you to switch out the size. I have odd sized/shaped ears and tend to have difficulties with ear buds staying put. These mostly do, but they are dying. I occasionally get small shocks in my left ear when I’m wearing them. Do you have a fav that has flexible sizing and the mic/remote? I’ve been contemplating some form of YurBuds for a few months now. I’d love to hear some personal experience on those or others.

I’m trying to decide on my usual yoga tonight with a substitute instructor or trying a group run for the first time… Hmmm….

Fit Friday - Rejoining the RAC

Filed under: Fitness, Fit Friday — Kristi at 8:20 am on Friday, May 24, 2013

Me, right after my birthday in mid-April (This is from my birthday last year, so mid-April 2011. I don’t have any newer “workout” photos. Looking at that, while I think I look pretty good, I can see some difference. Partly because those clothes are no longer compression wear and are baggy spandex on me. But I see a difference in shape and tone too.)

With Drew’s departure last Wednesday evening (yes, I survived the first week), my lack of any real strength training in 6 months since my club membership ran out, and the generosity of parents and grandparents on holidays and birthdays I rejoined Raintree Athletic Club last week.

There have been so many advantages to being back there:

  • Strength training equipment of all varieties - medicine balls, resistance tubes, free weights, Star Trac machines and on and on.
  • Pool! While I don’t often have terrible flares that would otherwise keep me from exercising, I do like to mix it up and get in the pool every now and then for some resistant cardio, but if I’m really achey it is especially nice. The steam room and sauna can be nice on occasion too, especially with allergy sinuses.
  • Yoga classes - which not only help my body, but my brain as well. While I can do the yoga at home, for me classes are more meditative because I’m not having to concern myself with timing my positions (in Yin you hold the positions for 3-5 minutes so you really do have to time things unlike with a flow). I even took advantage of a couple workshops this past week - tennis ball massage and breathing into backbends.
  • The free session with a nutritionist upon signing up. I didn’t learn anything new, but it was pointed out to me that I had slipped back into my habit of under eating. Since the bronchitis I just never really got hungry. But upping my food slowly over the week I noticed yesterday that I did get hungry. Still with a longer time span than ideal, but it is progress. A small sign that my metabolism is ramping back up
  • The free session with the personal trainer. My session with Tracy this time around was amazing. She was my preferred water aerobics instructor last time around so she had a feel for my fitness level to a certain degree and we already had a rapport. But most importantly, she called me the night before to confirm the appointment and find out what I was looking for in my session so she could prepare ahead of time. Since I already knew how to run the basic equipment - treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes and the Star Tracs I asked to learn more about proper form on the rowing machine and for some non-Star Trac strengthening. She delivered! My arms and core are declaring it a rest day today.
  • Even if I don’t really interact with anyone while working out the staff always says hello and goodbye with a smile and I’m surrounded by people. Sometimes that is all I need to chase away the loneliness.
  • If you had asked me before I rejoined if people would remember me upon my return I would have told you that the instructors from the three classes I took most frequently would likely but no one else. But my previous personal trainer did as did a handful of people from the yoga classes that I hadn’t been to since my stint in working full-time outside of the home, so over a year ago. And while progress this past year has been so slow I almost don’t notice it, several of these people were astounded, which is always a nice boost for the self confidence.

I have had an issue with rejoining though — taking my time and wading in! I just want to jump in and try every class that is different since the last time and do this and do that. It has been difficult to keep myself reigned in. As it is, I think I’m teetering on the edge of over training again between my low caloric intake, having been not exercising beyond walking in over 6 weeks and the yard & garden work on top of the workouts. So today, I am really going to listen to and trust my body and have a rest day. I just have to keep telling myself that the classes will still be there next week and next month. None of the ones I’m most interested in are flagged as low participation so I should be good.

Are you a member of a club or YMCA? What are you favorite classes or pieces of equipment?

If you don’t have a membership, how do you strength train at home? Do you have some equipment? The only thing I really did was run when my club membership ran out. Occasionally I’d throw in some traditional crunches, pushups and planks but I was bad about doing it regularly. For equipment, all I had was a 2 pound and a 5 pound dumbbell from a stint of PT for my shoulder - yes, only one each :-/

Weekending Results

Filed under: In the Kitchen, Miscellaneous, Linkity, Fitness — Kristi at 12:10 pm on Monday, January 28, 2013

Bananas Faux Foster Steel Cut Oats! It's what's for brunch :-)

Yes, my plans were quite lofty for the weekend. While I can’t check off everything I mentioned I feel like the weekend was successful — a nice combination of getting stuff done and resetting for the week to come.

For post-birthday hangover recovery (I’m kidding, I didn’t drink anything besides water on Friday night and DH didn’t even come close to over imbibing) we had a warm, chewy bowl of steel cut oats topped with virgin bananas foster. The bananas were virgin due to the lack of dark rum in our liquor cabinet, but it still tasted like an awful decadent bowl of oatmeal. I had wanted to make the maple roasted apple and cheddar cheese oatmeal from the Kitchn, but discovered we had only one apple. We did have a bunch of not quite ripe bananas so I improvised by sautéing one large one in 1-1/2 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons brown sugar and a tiny pinch of sea salt and divided it amongst our bowls of oats. Some pecans would have been a nice touch.

I don’t know about you, but both DH and I seem to do much better if we have one day out of the fray. No driving, no crowds etc. So Saturday kind of turned into a PJ day. I knew I needed a rest day after two runs with less than 24 hours between them. We were extremely leisurely about breakfast, loitering around the table discussing various and sundry things while sipping locally roasted coffee from the French press. I put together a batch of new tea for kombucha and left it to cool. By late afternoon we retreated to the basement and an embarrassingly long marathon of Lost Girl on NetFlix. I don’t know what it is, but I am totally hooked on that show. DH thinks it is the outcast discovering there is a hidden world in which she fits in. He may be right.

Beans & Bikes day in our home. I'm in my 13th CO winter, so shouldn't be surprised, but I biked in January! That just boggles this MN native's mind!

Sunday was our “do” day, but there was plenty of rest mixed in. I took a decent soak in the tub and read a bit first thing. Then DH and I took care of the kombucha, bottling the last batch and getting the next batch going with the cooled tea from the day before. Then, we hopped on our bikes – yes, in late January. Despite this being my 14th January in Colorado it still boggles my mind to see temps near 60 degrees and weather favorable for biking in January. Sadly, it was my first January bike ride ever. We logged nearly 9 miles at the end of the day, with some decent walking in between the rides. Not too shabby of a calorie burn! My sitz bones are definitely protesting today, but the rides overall were not as bad as I feared given the time away from the saddle. There was lots of stretching upon arriving home, a little more reading and some Downton Abbey and more Lost Girl viewing to end the day.

I also baked some multi-grain bread. I used the bread machine for the dough and then did the final kneading, shaping, rise and baking myself. It was *amazing*! We had a little taster after dinner. It was so good DH and I both thought it tasted like another slice even though we weren’t really hungry. We were good and resisted seconds. It was based on the Daily Whole Grain Bread recipe from Beth Hensperger’s The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook. I used cooked quinoa, did fake buttermilk by mixing 2 parts milk to 1 part greek yogurt and upped the whole wheat by ½ cup and reduced the bread flour by the same. We did have to add almost 2 tablespoons of water, likely due in part to the yogurt thickening the milk and the higher whole grain content, plus my quinoa was slightly dry/al dente and not as moist as say the rice I’ve used in the past. I think it was a combo of the ¼ cup of rolled oats and the yogurt that gave it such great flavor plus a bit extra time on the second rise. We’ll definitely be revisiting that one whenever we have left over cooked quinoa that needs using!

How was your weekend? What did you do? Did you manage to get reset for the week to come?

Some food I’m contemplating this week:

Some making I’m contemplating this week:

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