Thursday, July 31, 2008

TNT Thursday

It is time for another update on our marathon training with Team in Training. Steve and I will be running in the San Antonio Marathon November 16. While we are training, we are raising awareness and funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Our hope and prayer is that we can help in the race to find a cure for these diseases!

Today I thought I would share a little about what our training schedule looks like. As we have mentioned before, one of the supports that you receive when you join Team in Training is a coach who helps come up with a training plan that is designed to help you prepare for your race and accomplish your goals. It is exactly 108 days until our marathon and I have a training schedule hanging on the door that maps out what I will need to do each week to get ready.

Basically we run 3 shorter runs during the week (3-5 miles) and then do a long run on the weekend. It is by increasing the length of the long run each week that you get ready to go the distance. The longest we will actually run before the race will be 22 miles (which we'll do about 3 weeks before race day!) It will be late in October which will mean we hopefully won't be doing it in this heat and humidity. (I just hope we won't be doing it in snow!!)

We are very fortunate here in Cedar Falls as we have over 80 miles of recreational trails right here in our community! This is a bridge over the Cedar River which we often cross when we are out on our long run. (We crossed over it tonight as a matter of fact!!) I LOVE having the trails to run on. It's very easy to map out any length run. We can access the trail system just a little over a mile from our house, which is where I usually take off from.

Now just to let you know I do not necessarily look forward to all of my runs!! There are many mornings that it is a battle within my head..... "You should go for your run now"..... "Well.... I could wait until tonight instead and get started on my day instead".... "But you know that you do better if you get it over with first thing in the morning....." "Yes, but I would rather shower and go out for a cup of coffee..." etc.. etc.. Sometimes it takes up to 45 minutes for me to actually get ready and out the door for my run. If I would have just gone right away I would have already been back!!!!

We are continuing to raise support and are well over half way there! We are helping with a 'Poker Run' on August 23rd which I think will be a great event to do with the team and should help push us up towards our goal. We still have lots of time, which is a good thing.

Until Next Time....

Monday, July 28, 2008

Our Puppy!

Well, here she is! We received a few pictures over the weekend so I thought I would share them with you! She is just 3 weeks old and has just opened her eyes.

Another picture. So do you think she looks like a Sophie??? We'll get to meet her on August 8th when we are driving home from my parents house. I'm sure she'll have changed again since then!!

Today is my 'Tooth-Day'. If you remember a few months back my tooth fell out. Well, I am finally able to get in to get a 'permanent' fix!! I am ready. It's very strange having a loose tooth!

Have a wonderful Monday!

Until Next Time.....

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Birthday Twirl...

Yesterday was my birthday! I had just a marvelous day! There wasn't any one BIG thing that I did, it was all of the little things that added up to remind me of how very blessed I am!! I woke up early and the first thing I did was a 'birthday twirl'... you know, when you twirl around and say (or sing) 'Today's my birthday'. (PLEASE tell me you also do the 'birthday twirl'!!) Then I went for my training run. After that I spent the day putzing around the house and talking to the friends and family who called to wish me well.

I did some spinning.... Here is the roving I did last weekend, as well as one I just started on Sunday. I think I am getting more consistent, but I sure have a LONG way to go!!!

I finished not one, but two pairs of socks!!!! Here are my completed Monkey socks in the Loopy Legend colorway that Sheri had named after me - 'Janice's Sunshine in Winter'. I love how they came out. What is fascinating to me is how different Allison's pair came out with the same yarn and pattern!!!! Check it out here.

Next off my needles were the Vikings socks I started ages ago! After I got a quick review of short row heels, they were easy to finish up. I even did my first bind off that is actually quite elastic and I'm thrilled!!! The pattern is the Waffle Rib stitch out of the Sensational Knitted Socks book by Charlene Schurch.

At about 4:00 pm, one of the best birthday gifts I could get came driving down our driveway!! K is home from Philadelpia after being gone for more than 7 weeks!!! It is SO good to have her home!! She's only home for a few weeks, so we need to soak her up while we can! I also got calls from R & M and A. R & M drove out to Colorado yesterday and are spending the weekend at the YMCA camp where A is working. Although we weren't all together, which would have been the best, it did make me happy that they were together out there and we were together here.

K brought me back a 'Philadelphia' mug from Starbucks for my birthday. (I have been collecting the Starbucks city mugs for a few years). It's funny because R & M had called earlier from Denver to say that they were at Starbucks trying to get me a 'Denver' mug and were told that Starbucks is discontinuing the city mugs. I'm so bummed!! They have been such a great souvenir to collect on our travels!

Steve totally weeded my garden as part of my birthday gift (my love language is 'acts of service' so this is huge for me!) and also got me a panini grill, which I am VERY excited about. I know what is on the menu for tonight!!!!! With birthday money from my parents I bought a new camera that is small enough to tuck in my purse when I am out and about. I love my Canon Digital Rebel, but it is HUGE and not always the easiest to take along. I would show it to you, but I actually sent it out for A to use his last two weeks of work in Colorado, as he has been camera- less all summer!!

Sumo has been laying around pondering life before puppy. See how he has his paw under the rug? He always does this and I think it is so funny! We never actually SEE him get his paw under the rug, but every time you look at him he has it there. Funny boy! Still no pictures of the pup, but I sure have been enjoying all of the name suggestions!! I think we may be leaning towards 'Sophie', but we won't make the final decision until we have her. (In case she's definitely NOT a Sophie!!)

Well, just got the call that lunch is ready! (Boy, am I being spoiled - like they say, it's good to be queen!)

Until Next Time.....

Thursday, July 24, 2008

TNT Thursday

It is time for another update on our marathon training with Team in Training. Steve and I will be running in the San Antonio Marathon November 16. While we are training, we are raising awareness and funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Our hope and prayer is that we can help in the race to find a cure for these diseases!

Today is a 'Good News/Bad News' day! As with most things, there is Good News and Bad News about the fight against these diseases.


1. The effectiveness of recently developed treatment methods and steady advances in research bring us closer everyday to finding the cause or causes of leukemia and related cancers and probable cures.

2. The survival rates for acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), the most common form of childhood leukemia, was an appalling 4 percent in 1960. Today, thanks to research, the survival rate has improved to almost 80 percent! ALL is now considered to be a potentially curable disease!

3. Chemotherapy was initially developed as a treatment for leukemia. Today, it is the standard therapy for most cancers.

4. Bone marrow transplantation was developed as a curative therapy for leukemia. Today, it serves as a promising therapy for curing breast cancer, AIDS and sickle cell anemia.

5. Survival rates for adults patients with ALL, only 4 percent in 1960, approached 45 percent in the last decade.

6. In May 2002, Gleevac, the breakthrough therapy that kills cancer cells without harming normal ones, was shown to be superior to standard therapies to treat CML.

7. Hodgkin's disease is now considered to be one of the most curable forms of malignancy. Survival rates have almost doubled from 40 percent in 1960 to 80 percent today!

The Bad News....

1. Leukemia is one of the leading disease killers of children. In the US, four in ever 100,000 children between the ages of 2 and 10 will be diagnosed with leukemia this year.

2. Every 9 minutes in the U.S., a child or adult dies from leukemia or related cancers: lymphoma, multiple myeloma or Hodgkin's disease.

3. Leukemia strikes 10 times as many adults as children. More than half of all cases of leukemia occur in persons over 60.

4. Leukemia and lymphoma are the leading fatal cancers in women and men under the age of 39.

5. More than 106,300 Americans will be diagnosed with leukemia or a related cancer this year.

6. More than 58,300 Americans will die from leukemia or a related cancer this year - nearly 160 people every day.

Although these look like 'just statistics' - they represent real people whose lives are being turned upside down by the diagnosis of one of these cancers. We need more 'Good News'! With additional research we are hoping that new treatments can be discovered. That the survival rates will continue to rise. We're excited to partner with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as they race to find a cure. Thanks for partnering with us and encouraging us!

Until Next Time....

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Well, here I am in Omaha! I came over to spend a day or two with R & M. It's been a lot of fun. We went to Chipotles last night (YUM!) and then to see Mama Mia. It's my birthday week (birthday month actually....) and R & M found this really cute T-shirt for me. It's perfect!

M and I spent the day shopping downtown. I found a few treasures, but mostly just did some window shopping. I did find this really fun bag. I've had my eye on this style of bag for quite some time, but have never found one I really HAD to have. Until today.

We had a very yummy lunch here at Stokes. It was very nice outside so we actually ate out on the patio. I had hoped to be able to meet R for lunch, but he had a meeting over the lunch hour and couldn't get away. I did get to see where he is doing his internship this summer, which was fun. I always love being able to picture where the kids are.

We then headed to another part of Omaha to M's favorite bead shop. She has been making and selling some beautiful jewelry. She is in the process of setting up an Etsy shop in fact. I'll be sure and let you all know when she has it up and running.

We're back a the apartment now and just had a great panini sandwich that M put together and R grilled to perfection. We're going to watch a movie and I'm going to FINISH the Vikings socks; M's going to work on her jewelry and R is going to actually WATCH the movie.

Back at home Steve and Sumo are holding down the fort. Steve is preparing Sumo for the arrival of our newest family member who is scheduled to arrive late August. (No, I'm not having a baby!!) We've decided it's time to get a puppy!!! A little yellow lab. She was born July 7th and should be ready to come home around Labor Day weekend. As soon as I have pictures, I will post them. Now to decide on a name. Any ideas?

Until Next Time.....

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Midwest Fiber Fair Fun!

Wow! I just got back from a very fun weekend at the Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Fair in Crystal Lake, Illinois. I drove over Friday (the drive took FOREVER it seemed, but was well worth it!!) Met Sheri in the afternoon and we spent the evening knitting. It was great to knit and visit and catch up on life! She refreshed my memory on how to do a short row heel, so I was able to continue on my Vikings socks. Just a few more pattern repeats and some rib and they will be done and ready for football season! I also worked on my Monkey socks which I'll show you when they are totally done!

Sheri brought me my birthday present (EARLY might I add which means extra points!) and I just LOVE it! To begin with, she knit me a PAIR of socks!! They are beautiful and I love the pattern and yarn she chose. Also in the cute bag was one of the handmade darning eggs she carries at The Loopy Ewe made out of a gorgeous wood and a little notebook to take to the fair to jot down notes; ideas etc... There are a few other goodies in the bag as well, but they are top secret Loopy items and I can't show them until they have been revealed on Sheri's blog.

Saturday morning we headed to the fair! It was in a different location then last year, which worked out well as most of it was inside this year and it was raining off and on. I wasn't quite as intimidated this year as I was last year, mostly because I was there with friends who know so much more than I do about the whole fiber world. I know enough to know that we were surrounded by fibery goodness!!

One of the first booths we went into was this one. I fell in love with their yarn and bought several skeins! It is so soft and the colorways are wonderful. I don't think they have a website, but I may have to be prepared to buy more of their yarn next year when we go! (Or maybe Sheri can carry it at The Loopy Ewe.. that would be sweet!!)

We met up with Adrienne and Kris ( fellow Ravelers and Adrienne was a Spring Flinger!) and had a great time browsing the vendors; eating lunch and enjoying the fair.

They had some Alpacas at the fair as well (and a few Angora bunnies that wanted to go home with Sheri!) By the looks of this picture I am betting that Sheri got a few good close ups!

We found one guy who was knitting socks with a sock knitting machine. He spent quite a bit of time with us explaining how it worked. It's very ingenious. He can knit a pair of socks in less than 3 hours! (I can barely cast on and get the top ribbing done of 1 sock in 3 hours!) I'll have to try not and think too hard about it as I slowly plug away on my sock knitting!

Purchases? I thought I did pretty well with as much temptation as was all around me! I bought 6 skeins of yarn; 1 scarf pattern and a bag. The top skein is from Briar Rose and reminded me of Team in Training colors. The left two bottom skeins are from Miss Babs and the other 3 are from Plain and Fancy.

And I also received this skein of Wollmeise from Claudia (via Sheri) of the special colorway that she dyed in honor of Sheri's daughter. It is called Barista and is gorgeous. Thanks Claudia!!

After spending about 5 hours at the fair, we headed back to the hotel for an afternoon of spinning and knitting. Adrienne and Kris joined us. Professor Adrienne spent so much time helping me with my spinning and I was so excited to be working on it again. She is a marvelous teacher and so very patient. Thanks Adrienne for all of your help and encouragement!

I finished spinning and plying the roving I was working on and I have it here on my niddy noddy. It's kind of hard to see the yarn, but I will show it in a future post after I have washed it and set the twist and have it in an official skein!

I started on a new roving this morning. I really do enjoy spinning and just need to take 15 -20 minutes each day to sit down and do some. I was told that I am suppose to name my wheel, so I decided to name it 'Crystal' after this weekend in Crystal Lake. Seemed fitting.

Sumo was happy to have me home and is showing off the bag I purchased at the fair. It's a great size bag with a large opening at the top and can be worn around the waist or like a purse over the shoulder. It's a sturdy tapestry fabric and very well made. I think I will really enjoy it.

Off to do a little spinning before bed. Have a great Monday!

Until Next Time.....

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Happy Birthday K!

Today is K's birthday!!! Hard to believe my little girl is growing up. This photo was taken at her 1 year old birthday party in New York 18 years ago. She's not too far from her place of birth this year, which means that she is far from home. She'll be back next Friday (MY birthday!!) and so I'll get to give her a birthday hug then. Until then, Happy Birthday K!!!!!

No knitting to show. I've put that second Monkey sock on hold to give Allison a fighting chance at beating me!! But beware, Allison, I am meeting Sheri this weekend at the Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Fair and we plan on doing some serious knitting. I'll be getting that second Monkey sock done for sure!!

I'm still plugging away at the basement; closets; china cabinets etc.. etc.. Finding more and more treasures. This is a Hummel candy dish that was Steve's mom. The head broke off right after we got it and I've been wanting it fixed for over 11 years. Steve did it last night. (Took maybe 5 minutes....) These are the kinds of things that I feel we finally have the time and focus to get accomplished. Can you guess what candy we filled it with??

I have to admit that I have TONS of dishes packed away here and there. When we were living in Japan there was a VERY fun place called China Pete's that we would go to that had the most incredible dishes at very reasonable prices. These are two of my favorite sets.. the watermelon dishes and some very unique blue and white dishes. They've been stashed away and it is fun to have them out where I can get to them and use them. Someday maybe I'll share more of some of the incredible things I got there. Suffice it to say it would be a LONG blog post!!!

It's been incredibly hot and humid lately. Perfect weather for working in the nice cool basement. And whenever I start to complain about the heat, I remind myself of the alternative..... freezing cold and snow! I know I may be a bit weird, but I'll take the hot humid weather over the freezing cold and snow. Just saying.

Back to the basement......

Until Next Time.....

Monday, July 14, 2008

I'm Back Again...

from another trip to Goodwill. Each trip feels so wonderful as I get rid of more and more 'stuff'. How did we ever accumulate this much 'stuff'??? I suppose after 25 years of marriage and 3 kids (who have all moved in and out several times) it does add up. I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

One box I went through today was my cross-stitch box... full of pattern books; DMC thread and fabric. (And several UFO's!) I use to cross stitch like crazy. I have kept my threads and a few of the UFO's that I can see maybe someday finishing, and am parting with the rest. Gosh, do you suppose in another 20 years or so I'll be sorting through my knitting stuff thinking back on when I used to knit??? (And what will I be in to then???)

We had a very relaxing weekend. Worked in the yard; in the basement; had some friends over for a BBQ and helped our neighbor put hay up in the barn for the coming winter. (Always a big job!) While over at her house, Alice told us to make sure and take home a few sunflowers that were growing from her compost pile - she promised that they would 'sing' to us and make us happy. And indeed they have. They really are a bright, fun flower!! And if I remember right, my grandma used to have a singing sunflower that sat on her piano. Very cute!

Sumo has decided to boycott eating in the garage. We've always fed the dogs out there and there has never been a problem. But this past weekend he refused to eat anything. Finally I brought his food indoors and wa-la he gobbled it down. It's good to be King, isn't it Sumo?

Today is the day that an article came out in our paper about Steve and I training for the marathon. You can check it out here.

Back to the basement for a few more hours of sorting.

Until Next Time......

Friday, July 11, 2008

TNT Thursday

It is time for another update on our marathon training with Team in Training. Steve and I will be running in the San Antonio Marathon November 16. While we are training, we are raising awareness and funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Our hope and prayer is that we can help in the race to find a cure for these diseases!

Today I thought I would share a few facts about Team in Training.

WHAT is Team in Training? Since its inception in 1988, when a team of 38 runners trained together for the New York City Marathon and raised $320,000, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training program (TNT), has prepared more than 340,000 people - approximately 39,000 participants annually - to achieve their dream of completing a marathon, half marathon, triathalon or 100-mile (century) bicycle ride. And, in that time, TNT participants have raised over $800 million to support blood cancer research and patient services. The enormous success of this program has helped make possible advances in blood cancer therapies and treatments that have prolonged and enhanced the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients.

WHO participates?
Team in Training has had a tremendous impact on the growth of endurance sports, and in particular, the explosion of women's participation. Overall, 73 percent of TNT participants are women, with an average age of 32. (Note: this means I'm above average! :-))

Participants come from all walks of life - from novice to seasoned athlete. The reason cited most often for joining the program is the social aspect - the opportunity to meet new people and have fun as part of a supportive team. The cause - raising money to help find cures and improve the quality of life for patients and their families - is also a key motivator. Many participants dedicate their time and energy in honor of a friend or loved one who has had blood cancer. (Here we are with a few members of our local team.)

Still others are themselves cancer survivors who want to prove that they have the physical and mental stamina to finish a 26.2-mile marathon, 13.2-mile half marathon, 100-mile century ride or a triathlon. Taking on a personal challenge, accomplishing a goal and getting fit are also aspects that attract people to the program.

Local blood cancer patients, known as honored teammates, cheer participants along from training to completion. TNT participants often say their greatest inspiration and motivation come from their honored teammates, who themselves face even greater challenges in their battles against cancer. (Here I am with our local hero Jared, who is currently in remission after being diagnosed with AML Leukemia last August).

WHY participate? To help fund research to find new treatments and cures for leukemia, lymphoma and myleoma, and provide critical education and support to patients and families battling these cancers.

HOW are you helped? In exchange for raising funds, participants receive: four to five months of personalized fitness training by certified coaches, a supportive group of teammates and lodging and airfare to the event of their choice. Participants also receive tools and support to attain their fundraising goals, including a personalized web page. (Mine; Steve's) Participants can choose from more than 60 accredited events in the United States and abroad.

To Register: There are Team in Training teams all over the country. If this sounds like something that you might be interested in doing you can call 1-800-482-8326 or visit the TNT website here. And you definitely look into running the San Antonio Marathon with Steve and I! With over 70 rock and roll bands along the course, it's going to be great fun. And supporting a great cause!!!

Next week we'll look at the Good News (and some of the bad news) concerning some of the statistics about Leukemia and other blood-related cancers. There have been great advances made in the treatment of these diseases, but there is still a long way to go.

That's why we run. Join us!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Goodwill and Granola

I had hoped to show you my completed Monkey socks today, but there has been no knitting since my last post. I have decided that this is the summer to go through 25 years of 'stuff' and get rid of anything that we can live without. (Which is most of our storage room!) With the kids gone, I am able to set up tables in the basement and go through each and every box. I have already made several trips to Goodwill and plan several more over the next several weeks. I thought with so many people in our area losing everything either in the tornado or flood, now would be a good time to do this! I found a great site that had a Fair Market Value Sheet (I found this by googling Des Moines FMV donation - the top link was for a PDF form for Non-Cash contributions) so I have been keeping track of every item donated so I can deduct it on my tax return next year. I think I'll come out better than I would have had I tried to do a garage sale!!

It's fun finding little forgotten 'treasures' as I am going through things. Here are a couple of cute M&M containers that I filled up and have ready for Steve to take in to his office tomorrow. I confess that they are not quite as full as when I first filled them this morning!

M is in town for the week and brought me over a necklace that she made for me. I absolutely LOVE it!! She is getting some necklaces and earrings ready to sell in her mom's shop. I think they will do well. She has a great eye for design. I've told her a little about Etsy, and she may look into that as well in the future.

Woke up hungry for some homemade granola today and realized that it is a recipe that I have not shared yet. Hard to believe. This is the yummiest granola ever.

Koinonia Granola

1/ 4 cup oil
1 stick butter
1 TBSP molasses
1 TBSP vanilla
1/ 2 cup brown sugar
1/ 2 cup honey
1/ 4 tsp salt

8 cups rolled oats (not instant)
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1 cup chopped nuts (I add toasted sliced almonds)
1 cup wheat germ
4 cups coconut (I buy the unsweetened at a health food market)
1 cup sunflower seeds

1. Melt first 7 ingredients in pan.
2. Cool slightly, then pour over remaining ingredients. Stir thoroughly.
3. Bake in an even layer on cookie sheets for 35 minutes at 350 degrees.
4. Stir every 5 minutes to prevent over-browning. Stir a few times as granola cools.
5. When cooled, you may add 1 cup raisins or other dried fruits if desired.

Makes about 5 quarts granola.

Our satellite TV was hooked up this afternoon, so I may have to go see what's on. (And maybe pick up my knitting for a bit).

Until Next Time.....

Monday, July 07, 2008

Something About A Baby.....

* Warning - LOTS of photos... but what can I say? There was a baby!!

There is just something about a newborn baby. They are so precious! We drove up to Minneapolis yesterday to meet my niece's baby for the first time and to attend a baby shower in her honor. My mom and dad were there and got to meet their new GREAT grand daughter for the first time. My niece looks on as Great Grandma holds her for the first time. She's a good size baby, having been over 9 pounds at birth!!

Of course everyone wanted a chance to hold her and she got passed around quite a bit. (Which she really didn't care for, truth be told!!) Here is another niece holding and admiring sweet little Aleisha. These two nieces are only 3 weeks apart in age themselves and have grown up quite close. It is always fun for them to be together!

'Uncle' Bob (my nephew) feeds his new niece and looks quite natural doing so! But it wouldn't be fair if he also got to burp her! So, she gets passed on to my sister in law.....

Who gets the honor of trying to get her to burp. (Babies are just so fun!)

As for me, I got my share of holding her here and there. Put her to sleep for a few minutes and changed two diapers... one wet, and one messy. (For some reason the line wasn't quite as long for diaper changing duties!) It was great being able to hold her in person! I'm so happy for my niece and it was wonderful to see how happy and proud my brother is being a grandpa for the first time!!

Before the shower, Steve and I met my mom and dad and sister in law and niece at the cute little boutique - Suka Rama - that my brother's girlfriend owns in St. Paul. FULL of wonderful treasures from around the world. I managed to find quite a few that needed to come home with me!

We also stopped by a local coffee shop for a cup of coffee and a treat. (Thanks Dad!) I love this part of St. Paul and actually used to live just a few blocks from this area when I was in college.

I have made some progress on my first pair of socks for Summer Of Socks 08. The first sock is done and I am working on the heel of the second one. I should be finished by my next post and ready to cast on my second pair. I had thought we would be having more car time over the weekend to knit during, but a nasty virus last week laid me pretty low for several days and we had to postpone our trip to see my parents. I knit here and there, but mostly slept. I'm feeling much better now and even went for a short run this morning.

Steve is feeling better and is building up his mileage again. (Here he is cooling off after one of his runs!) Sumo is not able to go with us on our runs, but he is very willing to be by our side when we are cooling down!! What a good dog!

Hope you all had a safe and Happy 4th!!

Until Next Time.....