Friday Fun and Winter Woolfest 2014

I’m using this weekend as another opportunity for some serious stress relief, and so far, the universe is with me on this.

Last night, after taking Jon to gaming, I hit the gym for a short but effective session before meeting up with the crew at Terry and Erica’s place. During times of high stress, I tend to withdraw. Last night was a reminder of how therapeutic “friend time” can be. We visited, discussed books, and watched a really bad horror movie, complete with our own little Twitter party. There is something hilarious and fun about sitting in the same room with people and only talking via Twitter.

Jon was done with gaming by the time the movie was over, so I picked him up. During the movie, I got a notification that a new geocache went up. We decided to go get it before heading back to Wamego, figuring that since we let about three hours go by, someone would have gotten there before us. It seemed as if the snow kept people in, however, and we got the First to Find! Yay for us! We finally made it home, and after reading a few chapters in the second Iron Druid book, I crashed.

Today was Winter Woolfest at the Columbian Theater, so I was up early to shower and gather my knitting supplies (nothing like waiting until the last minute). I packed light, deciding to take only a set of needles and a small ball of yarn for the instructional sessions. I also walked instead of drove, a daring choice since there were still several slick spots on the roads and sidewalks. I managed to make it without falling.



Since I was limited on spending funds (and the last thing I need to do is add yarn to my current stash), I took advantage of the classes that were going on throughout the day. The first one I took was one on Bavarian twisted knitting. I love the pattern this makes, and though it was a little nerve wracking to cable knit without a cable needle, I loved how easy it was and the look of the finished product.

Practice swatch. I bet I could fit this into one of my upcoming projects.
Practice swatch. I bet I could fit this into one of my upcoming projects.

The second class I took was on new methods of casting on. I’ve done nothing but long-tail for a long time, and I hadn’t bothered to learn any other methods, so this was a good opportunity to try something new. I learned three cast-ons, including the basic knit cast on, a cable cast on, and a modified long tail (I can’t remember the name right now) that makes the cast-on row stretchier (perfect for socks).

I met up with two friends at the ‘Fest, and we went to Toto’s Tacos for lunch. Tortilla soup and a “Burrito Jr.” were today’s choice. The Burrito Jr. was just meat and cheese. It was not small, but it was delicious. There was a line when we got there, but it was worth the wait.

After lunch, we did some vendor browsing before the afternoon sessions. There was tons of beautiful yarn and fiber, but I managed to hold back. I did entertain the idea of trying drop spinning again, but decided to hold off. I might get into spinning someday, but for now, especially with a pending move and a tight budget, I’ll continue to wait for the right time.

The first afternoon session was about blocking. Blocking is one of those things that seem really easy and basic, yet every time I’ve had to block something, it seems hard and nerve-wracking. The session was great. I’m no longer intimidated by the thought of blocking. Now I just need to buy some supplies.

The second session was a demo on braid cording with a lucet, though the technique was also taught with the use of fingers. I liked it, though it will take me some time to really get the hang of it and get it right. Apparently, you can use the technique with torn up t-shirt material to make cowls. I want to try this. The young man from RJ’s QTs (RJ himself, in fact)  gave the demo, then sold me on the idea of buying a couple new project bags.

I know someone who loves penguins!
I know someone who loves penguins!

The final session of the day was a lesson on Brioche knitting. It seemed pretty easy, so I think I may have been doing it wrong. However, even if I was, the technique I WAS doing was pretty fun, and I liked the finish product, which looks like regular ribbing except it’s nice and soft and squishy.


We stuck around for door prizes, but no luck this year (though since I’m still loving the  Hiya Hiyas I won last year, I’m set for like the next ten Woolfests).  V made a suggestion that we go across the street for coffee and pie, but sadly, the restaurant was closed. Not to be thwarted, we moved on down the road and tried two other places before we finally found a place that was 1)open and 2)offering coffee and dessert. Thank you, Rambler’s of Wamego!

I had the brownie sundae, V had the blondie sundae. So delicious!
I had the brownie sundae, V had the blondie sundae. So delicious!

While indulging in dessert therapy, we chatted about writing and conventions. V is one of my writer friends, and since she’s more knowledgeable on the subject, I like to pick her brain and get her feedback. We drank coffee and visited for a couple hours, finally calling it a night before the sun went down completely.

I walked home, and I walked fast since I didn’t have the foresight to use the restroom before leaving the restaurant (fail). Luckily, many of the ice patches from the morning had melted, so it was a pretty smooth walk. The temperature was perfect, though the slight chill did cause a little bit of lung discomfort (nothing to worry about…it’s happened for years).

Besides the fact that the day was a blast, it also served as a good way to mark some strides in my health and mobility. Though last year was fun, I remember not being able to stand and walk as much. I remember taking frequent sit-down breaks, taking the elevator, and taking as few extra walks as humanly possible. In fact, I’m pretty sure I didn’t take any extra walks. And I drove.

This year, I walked to and from the event. I took the stairs going up at least four times (took the elevator going down, but that’s because going down stairs hurts my knees with legitimate “have to stop walking” pains). I didn’t mind making extra trips, and even took an extra trip back to the restaurant to get a bottle of water. It was seriously awesome.

I’m going to finish up some things online, maybe play some Candy Crush, then lay down to read. The weather is supposed to be really nice tomorrow, so the plan is to go to the zoo to see the animals “open” their enrichment gifts. I love a trip to the zoo. Plus, if it’s as nice as it’s supposed to be, I’m going to soak up as much outdoor therapy as I can to prepare for the coming work week.

Until tomorrow…



First to Finds and Murder Mysteries

So I took a few days off of blogging, mostly because I’ve had a few late nights. By the time I’ve gotten home, it’s pretty much time to crash if I want to be functional the next day.

Being that it’s Friday, I can push it tonight, especially since we can sleep in tomorrow.  Our only day plans are geocaching, and then tomorrow night we’re watching the Fantastic Four (aka the kids) over at Terry and Erica’s.

That wasn’t sarcasm either…those kids are pretty rockin’.

Work has been busy these past few days, but part of it has been fun because I’ve had a chance to flex some of my creative muscles. I decided to write and execute a murder mystery for our office to celebrate Halloween. I believe it can also be considered a team building exercise because people will have to interact with others to figure it out.

Getting back into our exercise routine has been a challenge, but we’re working on it. I made it to the gym twice this week, and we’re planning some hiking and walking cache routes for this weekend. While we haven’t been lumps, I’m ready to up the intensity again next week. I may also be close to getting back on the elliptical.

Thursday night, I got my first FTF. We were watching Forsh’s dog that evening (Forsh is a work friend I’ve mentioned before, but she only recently gave me permission to use her name), and as we were leaving, a new cache alert came up. We hauled butt to the area and started looking.

During our hunt, the cache owner came by and gave us some hot and cold hints. I think we would have eventually found it, but the experience was kind of like getting buck fever: I was so tweaked over getting the First to Find, I was kind of all over the place.  I’m glad we were in the right place at the right time. My first FTF was also my 152nd cache.

In other cool caching news, we’re attending two upcoming event caches in the area and we ordered a set of zombie travel bugs to send out. I’m super excited about all these things.

Jon and I watched the first three episodes of American Horror Story: Coven. So far, it’s good. Disturbing, but good.

I’m sure I’m forgetting something but it’s late and I’m losing steam fast, so I’m off to bed. Hoping to have pics and stories from tomorrow’s adventures to share on the next post.


Knitting and Being Second-to-Find

Wednesday continued the trend of craziness at work, and I think today I may have lost a little bit of sanity. I still survived, still trucked along, but man…it was a challenge. I did fit a walk in on my break, but I opted to go get a free roast beef sandwich from Arby’s for lunch, which meant lazy times chilling in the car.

At the gym, I kicked butt on a 30 minute workout and finally managed to trigger a zombie chase on my cardio machine. Not going to lie though, I had to really move it to get away from the zombies, pushing much faster than I do when I’m walking. I think I’m going to keep doing missions during both the gym and during our walking workouts to keep building up endurance and to continue the story (especially because we’re only at the beginning of Season 1, and the Season 2 finale just came out).

Just a side note on exercise: one of my current goals is to take our steps without using the rail. Our apartment is on the second story, and we have to go up a flight of stairs to get to the first floor before the second flight to get to our place. When we first started living here, I had to take the stairs one at a time (one foot up, bring the other one to join , and so on). Eventually I could climb the stairs “normally” while holding the railing, which usually ended up with me pulling myself up rather than using my legs. Now I’m getting comfortable just walking up them. Strangely, it’s easier to do without using the railing. Going down the stairs is another matter entirely. My knee issues don’t allow me to comfortably descend, so I still have to do the one-and-join method with the railing. But hey…small victories.

We decided to get protein shakes for dinner, figuring we’d have a light snack later in the evening. I went for the shake of the month, the Candy Bar Craving. I have no idea why I haven’t tried that one before. Seriously. I’m going to have to find more excuses to drink my gym’s protein shakes.

We decided to grab a nearby geocache before heading back to Wamego. It was a busy time of day, but the cache was in a relatively out of the way location, or so we thought. When we parked to get it, I noticed some people sitting and walking nearby. I stayed in the car and let Jon go look for it while I kept watch, figuring I’d warn him if anyone started showing “interest.” No one did. We were ignored and Jon found the prize.

I brought him home, grabbed my knitting, and went to knit night at The Wicked Stitch, where I met my friend, V,  and visited with another woman from Topeka who was joining the group for the first time. I hadn’t been there in months, so it was nice to get back into the groove of knitting and visiting. I tend to be quiet when I’m there, not because I’m not enjoying myself, but because most everyone there already has a previous friendship, and I need to ease into those types of situations. Tonight felt different because not only did I know someone else, I was also able to meet someone else who felt “new” and feel on even ground with her. I always have fun at knit night, but tonight was especially good.

I came home with the plan to sit down, blog, shower, and sleep. But when I got home, I saw an email that a new geocache had been hidden nearby.  Jon and I have yet to be a first-to-find (FTF), so we thought this would be a good chance to go out and try to win that title.  Like crazy, spontaneous kids, we went back out and drove to the geocache spot. We found it right away. Unfortunately, we weren’t the FTF. One other cacher had gotten there a half hour before us. It was a little disappointing, but at the same time, being the second-to-find felt pretty legit, and it was actually fun to drop everything and run out to hunt.

Now it’s way later than I expected to be up, and I still need to shower and finish packing for the weekend. I’m still planning to update the blog over the weekend, but it might be short posts until we get home, depending on internet connection and timing. Tomorrow after work, we’re heading to Rose Hill to spend the night with the in-laws. Friday morning, we’re geocaching the area until Drew and his friend get out of school, and then the four of us are heading to OKC for the MtG Sealed Tournament. For my OKC friends, I don’t think I’m going to have time for any socializing. We’re getting in later on Friday, will be at the convention center all day Saturday, and then will be leaving early on Sunday…unless one of us makes it to day 2, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

On that note, I’m tired…so peace out.