Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Little Plumbing Indigestion

Thursday's run/walk: Garmin says 5.25mi in 1:04:46
Friday: nada; rest day
Saturday's run/walk: Garmin says 5.25mi again in 1:03:12 - WOOT: hit 5mi in 59 min. Finally got below an hour.
Sunday's run/walk: 4.5mi on the dreadmill in 59:09

Last week's mileage: 23.75mi

So... it appears I am in need of a plumber:

Not quite a swimming hole... thankfully.
That's after the pretty foamy lake finally drained.

My first clue something was amiss was standing in the basement bathroom hanging roving to dry. The toilet started urping up big bubbles. Then the sink joined the conversation. After a long WTF pause… I stepped out to where the washer was to see a nice foamy lake forming. <insert expletives here>

After it all died down, I pried the lid off the floor drain. I used a paint scrapper to clean ick off the bottom of it, then the handle of one of those silicone-tube-pusher-thingies to fish out a hunk of accumulated dog hair. Bleh. There’s not enough soap in the house to wash my hands now. Ewwww.

I think if a snake had popped up out of the toilet, I would have handled that better.

Anyway, it looks like my project for Monday will be finding a plumber to come in and tell me how expensive this will be.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Bond... Healy Bond.

Monday: nada; rest day
Tuesday run/walk: 4.25mi in 54:25 on the dreadmill
Wednesday run/walk: 4.5mi in 58-something on the dreadmill

Last week's mileage: 23.4mi

Is this gorgeous, or what?

Bond fleece - from 'Healy'

This is three pounds of beautiful raw Bond fleece. It's from Healy, a Bond ewe, from Gleason's Fine Woolies in Lyons, CO. Healy's fleece was one of their show fleeces from this summer, and took both first place - fine colored ewe and reserve champion in the same class at the 2011 Colorado State Fair. The staple is 3-4", and I believe Joanna said it was rated at 60-62s on the Bradford Scale. (That's approaching some Merino fleeces for softness.) It's so cool that Joanna sends the ribbons along with the fleece.

Bond is a breed that was developed in Australia in the early 1900s, crossing Saxon-Peppin Merino to Lincoln. For a while, it was considered to be a "commercial Corriedale" breed, as Corriedales also were developed from Merino/Lincoln crosses. Both fleeces can be excellent for handspinners. The Bond, in the experience I've had with it, seems to have a finer crimp than Corriedale.

Oh, yeah. That's some gorgeous fiber. I'll be scouring and carding that myself - with just three pounds, I'd lose way too much with a commercial processor. So... the drum carder and I will have some quality time coming up soon.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Food, Glorious Food

Thursday: nada; rest day
Friday's run/walk: 4.5mi on the dreadmill. I promptly forgot the time after I got out of the shower.
Saturday's walk/run: Garmin says 4.7mi in 58:18
Sunday's run/walk: Garmin says 5.2mi in 1:04:44

I woke up to a damp deck this morning, but it had stopped raining. I checked the radar online and it looked like I had a decent window of opportunity, so I did a mostly-run around  the neighborhood. It was cool, but for once I was spot-on with my clothing choices, and was fairly comfortable the entire time.

One thing about cruising the neighborhoods on a Sunday morning... lots of people are up and doing things, and the cold air carries lots of smells out my way... pancakes, pancakes, maple syrup, bacon, pancakes, dryer, dryer, dryer, maple, dryer, sausage, bacon. A person can get hungry and motivated to do laundry. I had a double-whammy as I waited on a corner for a light - Panera Bread and Starbucks were kitty-corner from each other, and I was assailed by the smell of bacon, eggs and fresh coffee. There's a reason I don't carry money with me when I run.

I got home and cleaned up (and had a Canadian bacon-egg-cheese muffin for breakfast, along with a fresh pot of coffee), then headed off to spinning group. I made good progress on the rest of some Bond fiber I was supposed to have done... oh, last summer some time. But I also helped get a vintage wheel somewhat functional. It was stamped with "Midway Ornamental Mfg" on the bottom. Someone Googled up an ad from a 1977 issue of Popular Mechanics for a spinning wheel kit. This thing looked like it could spin. It did not have any lead or brass bearing for the wheel axle in the uprights, but other than that, it had a functional flyer and tension knob. With some shims on one upright to fix the alignment, it should work fairly decently.

On the way back, I stopped for Thanksgiving groceries... including soup-fixings, and ingredients to make apple, pear, and/or pumpkin butter. (Or combinations of all three.) It's that time of year... and the stuff tastes darn good mixed in to yogurt for breakfast.

And while we're on the subject of food... check this out. Chinese black rice. Tasted really good with some steamed zucchini/carrot blend and a touch of parmesan cheese.

Chinese black rice, from the Spice Merchants in Ann Arbor, MI

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ever Feel Like Someone is Watching You?

Monday's run/walk: nada; rest day
Tuesday's run/walk: Garmin says 4.75 mi in 59:37
Today's run/walk: 4.25mi on the dreadmill in 55:30

Last week's mileage: 24.85 mi.

So... I'm just sitting at my desk, working away, testing a web app. I hear some scratching to my left, and I looked up at the stained glass window...

I apparently have a squirrel casing the place.

Yes, you. I'm watching you.

And then, just to REALLY get the dogs riled up... the little bugger climbed up the wall on the front of the house, and was hanging over the storm door trying to look in.

I'm on to you, dude. You and your hyacinth-bulb-stealing ways.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Today's run/walk: Garmin says 6.15mi in 1:16:59. I was almost overdressed in capri tights and a lightweight long-sleeved shirt. The strong winds kept me comfortable given the mid-60s temps.

Taking advantage of the nice weather, I decided to skirt and sort the Jacob fleece I picked up this summer. It's definitely not from a handspinner's flock, so there was a lot of VM (vegetable material - grass, seed heads, etc) and some less-than desirable sections. I laid it out to get a good look...

Jacob fleece
... then went to work on it. I really didn't want to deal with any crappy sections, so by the time I was done, I had two small bags of brown fleece, one of mixed white/brown, and a fourth (about the same size) of trash-bound ick.

Three 'good' bags on the left; trash-bound on the right.
Then, since I was already covered in sheep smell and hay bits, I got the Shetland fleece out, too. These were part of a big lot of fleeces that we sorted through one Sunday at spinning group. Some were pretty good, some were OK, and some were quite dirty or felted. Despite my 'no new fleeces' vow, I'm glad I only came home with two of them.

Shetland fleece
The Shetland is a pretty color. I pulled all the second-cuts and ick sections off of it, as well as a few places where there was more VM than I wanted to run through my carder. I still had about three-quarters of it left when I was done. I'll try to get both the Jacob and the Shetland scoured up before the holidays.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Yay for Weekends

Run/walk summary:

Thursday: rest day
Friday: Garmin says 4.7mi in 59:14
Saturday: Garmin says 5.5mi in 1:11:51

Friday was a bit chilly in the morning - I had to break out the fleece for my trip around the neighborhood. First run this year with the weather in the 30s.

This morning was warmer, as I got up and out later (woot! for sleeping in), but later meant more wind. Even so, after my loop around Carondolet Park, I explored north a bit and added about a mile on to that route.

Go Blue! I'm so happy the Wolverines beat Illinois today.  Both defenses looked pretty good; both offenses were on the anemic side. But a win is a win; the last two games this season will be tough.

In other news, I finished a pair of fingerless mitts for myself. I used this pattern to make a pair for Jill - and then liked them so much, I cast on for a pair for me immediately after finishing hers. Mine are in Malabrigo Silky Merino, color Smoke, which is an awesome dark gray with hints of brown.

Green Thumb mitts in Malabrigo Silky Merino - Smoke
With the colder weather, I also brought the lemon tree inside. It likes the extra warmth and light... it tends to flower right after I bring it in for the year, which means in a few months I'll have tiny lemons. Last spring, I had enough to make an incredible batch of lemon bars.

The miniature lemon tree, with flowers and lemons-to-be
Sunday - more spinning, more chores, and working on the sleeves for a sweater that should have been done months ago!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Today's run/walk:  another 4.25mi on the dreadmill. It was too windy to try to fight any sort of mileage outside this morning.

So. The new tower is set up and appears to be running all right for now. (This post is brought to you courtesy of a lot of tedious but necessary work to make this thing functional.) I do believe it was some sort of Intel graphics update that ran, which hosed the monitor. We shall not run that one. Ever.

After work on Tuesday, I went through all 37 "Important" updates and researched/installed each one by one. With a restart after every update or two. It made for an incredibly long, boring evening. But after I installed most (I decided I could do without IE9 for now, plus a few others), with the monitor still cooperating, I declared that phase successful.

I went on to load Firefox, then transferred all my data from the old computer. Then came the Office 2010 suite, and iTunes. I then installed the backup software off the Seagate drive. Giddy with success, I started a full backup, so I'd at least have some kind of external restore point.

Tonight I took a break from computer stuff, and went back to knitting on my fingerless gloves. I might just have another pair by the weekend. Yay!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

::headdesk:: ::headdesk:: ::headdesk::

Today's run/walk: nada. Had my heart set on being outside but woke up to rain, so I went back to bed for an hour.

Yesterday's run/walk: 4.25 on the treadmill (total of 5K run, 1.15mi walk)

So. Back to that gorram new computer. I had a visit from a technician yesterday, who installed a new motherboard (with integrated video card). Swapped out towers again, powered that bad boy up, and... same monitor epilepsy issues. He tried a few things, then he got on the phone with tech support and tried a few more. End result: not a hardware problem, but a software problem. Here's an 800 number. Then he left.

After I'd logged off work for the day, I got on the phone with Dell tech support again. This time, I was to reinstall the Windows 7 OS from the boot disk. In the fullness of time, that was done, and... joy. The monitor was behaving. I then had to try to link up to the network. Uh... no network drivers. Called Dell again. I should've received a disk with the drivers. Nope. Solution: go online and download.

Now, how in hell am I supposed to go online to download network drivers when I CAN'T ACCESS THE FRIGGIN'  NETWORK?  Paul got on his computer, I got on the MacBook, and the race was on. The Dell support web site was so bobawful slow that we kept getting the connection reset, which set us back to square one. Maybe an hour later, Paul finally got the two drivers onto a thumb drive. After another exasperating experience (they weren't self-extracting, of course), he finally got the wireless connection to work.

So, starting around 5:30pm Monday evening, I finally had the damn thing up and running around 10pm. Almost immediately, it said there was an update to install. So, as I'd planned to actually keep on top of that, I let it install and restart.

The result? The monitor was hosed again. Son of a two-headed toad.

I have to say I'm now really good at wiping/reinstalling an OS now. And updates? Screw 'em.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I Love That Old Time Rock n' Roll

Today's walk: Garmin says 4.25 mi in a leisurely 1:03:45, then another 1.1mi with the dogs. Total: 5.35mi.

Last Wednesday through Saturday: nada, as I was in Michigan.

I flew up Wednesday morning, and arrived in plenty of time to make the Bob Seger concert that night. It was the first stop on the second leg of his 2011 tour. The venue was the convocation center at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, and the place only held about 8000 people. Perfectly intimate for a home-town stop. (Well, if you consider Ypsi an extension of Ann Arbor, that is.)

Mr. Seger seemed to be in high spirits, and would stop and pose for people taking pictures from the front rows. He - and the band - sounded great, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.


Other highlights of the trip included getting to go The Spinning Loft in person. I found all kinds of cool stuff there, and lusted after a Schacht-Reeves wheel. I also picked up a few deals at the Nike and Merrell outlet mall stores. Friday, we hit Zingerman's for my #28 sandwich, and found some more fun things at Kerrytown. My return trip on Saturday arrived all too soon, but it was a fun couple of days with Mom and Dad back home.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

When the Music Talks, I Listen

Yesterday's run/walk: treadmill clocked at 4.25mi in 55:22. (Total of 3K run, 1.15mi walk)

Today's run/walk: Garmin says 5 mi in 1:03:10.

Last week's mileage: 18.61mi

It was a beautiful morning to be out. Not too cold, perfectly clear sky, bright stars. Orion was watching from overhead. Very few people are awake then - I can run down the street to avoid the uneven sidewalks, and rarely have to move for a car. Just the usual suspects circling the park or doing boot camp exercises.

I was about two-thirds of the way around my first loop of the park when I heard it... a light piano riff through my earphones. 'Bugger', I thought. That segued into the rhythmic dun-dun-dun-dun dun-dun-dun-dun dunh-dunh-dunh-dunh dunh-dunh-dunh-dunh...

I looked up from the sidewalk. Yep, that's an uphill. Double-bugger. It was my speedwork song... Eminem's Lose Yourself. No matter when, or where... if it comes on, it's speedwork time. Even if it's at 6am on a dark morning on an uphill.

So I double-timed it around the park, and it was good. I was tempted to start the song over again when it ended, but then common sense took hold and I let the iPod move on to its next random song.

In the east, the horizon was just beginning to glow. I headed toward it, letting the music carry me home.