November 17, 2010

lack of progress update

Wednesday, November 17, 2010 Posted by Ryan No comments
I'm really good at making lists and goals. Not as good at finishing things. I've already though of more "things I want to do this winter" but I haven't been too succesful at the items on list number one. I can't add anything new to my list because I need to be realistic. But there are all the other things that I need to do like make/repair things for christmas presents, build the monitor risers for work so I don't end up with a hunchback from slouching, patch the wall above the fireplace and scrape the bookcase doors to prepare for the living room paint job, plant the remaining bulbs in my giant outdoor pots (because I can't deal with digging anymore holes in the rocky weedy ground).

What have I been doing.
I helped prime and paint two bedrooms at my sister's house. They promised to help paint at my house after their upstairs is done.
I made a batch of these cookies. But they didn't turn out the way I hoped; they got all flat and overly browned. They still got eaten, but I do not consider them to be a success. I will try them again, but not fail this time.

It's so easy to fall back into routine and we have stopped eating at the table lately. Unless you count when company comes over and that was twice this weekend and on Friday we ate at my sister's house, so I guess we haven't been doing too bad. right.

This weekend I will hopefully rebuild the media center, plant the bulbs, do some more painting (not at my house), move the old gas grill.

Um, it's supposed to snow and rain for the rest of the week, yea!

November 6, 2010

get it to fit

Saturday, November 06, 2010 Posted by Ryan 1 comment
In March I needed a new skirt to wear for work and since most of my shopping is done online (who has time to go shopping anymore) I decided to order two different sizes of the same skirt and try them both on. My logic was that I would pick the one that fit the best and probably still do some minor alterations and return the other. When I received the skirts in the mail I tried them on and was severely dissapointed. The size 12 skirt fit okay but it was a little tight in the hips and I knew I would be overly contious of how it fit and it wasn't really very comfortable. When I tried on the size 14 the fit in the hips was great but the waist was too big by at least 2 inches. Now this is obviously not a new thing but for years I avoided the issue. I bought skirts that sit on my hips not my waist I have many pairs of pants that sag because the other size was too tight around my legs. I've been trying this new thing though - wearing clothes that fit. I've been tucking in my shirts occationally. It's taken me a long time to realize that this is okay.
I hit a breaking point. I returned both skirts to the store and decided to sew the skirt myself. I used to sew a lot but haven't done much in years.
I made the one skirt (and half finished a second) and started collecting patterns, and buying fabric and making plans for the new clothes that I would make that would fit me. I haven't actually gotten much done though. I've been busy. But I also haven't made the time. I really want to focus on proper fit and I've run into some problems executing that . Once I figure it out, I'm sure it becomes easier.

November 5, 2010

Things I'm going to do this winter

Friday, November 05, 2010 Posted by Ryan , , No comments
I'm not doing a Christmas show this year at the theatre, I might not even be doing a winter show so I should have all sorts of evening and weekend time to get stuff done. Stuff that I always want to do, but never do. Things that I loose the motivation for every year.
Now that my sister lives close I've already asked her to help with the Christmas decorating. I will reciprocate of course and help at her house too, it's just that on my own I will only get as far as bringing the bin down from the attic and getting the tree assembled (yes it's fake - the best $5 I spent ever). That's it. Maybe I'll put the lights up because the lights are my favorite part. But now three years in a row I've been stunted in my ability to get the house in a festive mood.

1. Decorate the trees and house for Christmas (I also have two aluminum trees).
2. Make cookies & rum balls & those green marshmallow corn flake ones with the red hot candies.
3. Paint the Living Room. At least one room, maybe the dining room too.
4. Frame and hang art on walls.
5. Eat at the table. (we've actually done this 3 times this week already)
6. sew something to wear. I have so many plans, so many ideas, so much fabric...

There are so many other thing I want to do, but then my lists start being a little unrealistic and unattainable. Under promise and over deliver. If I get more done I'll be so excited! And if I don't manage to get anything done, I know that's just how my life is most days.

November 4, 2010


Thursday, November 04, 2010 Posted by Ryan No comments
The first time I ran for 20 minutes with out stopping I didn't think I could do it. And then the next week I ran for 25 minutes. Then the next week I was supposed to run for 28 (according to my running plan) but didn't. Now I know why having a goal in place is important. After running (and walking some) the 10K two weeks ago, I don't have a "reason" to keep running. Of course I didn't start running with a goal in mind except to get through the 8 week program. I kind of reached that goal but just don't feel the motivation to keep going. I mean, now that the 8 weeks is up, what do I do now? I'm not going to just keep on with the 5 minute warm up, 30 minute run, 5 minute cool down every other day. That's boring. So I've been running less because without the pressure of reaching the imposed goal other things seem more important, like getting to work on time.

September 16, 2010

Now running

Thursday, September 16, 2010 Posted by Ryan , , No comments

I completed week three of my running plan and I'm surprised that it's still relatively easy. Not easy really, but not oh my god I'm going to die hard. And I must be improving some because I remember during week one I missed the cue to start walking again after a running interval and kept running for a whole 2.5 minutes! I know it doesn't sound like a lot, but my lungs were starting to burn by the end of that 150 seconds. Surprisingly, I survived the first day of week four without having to stop during a five minute sustained run. I'm not sure why I am so incredulous but perhaps I haven't ever been "athletic".

Although the two weekday morning "runs" are inside on a treadmill, I've been going to the trail downtown and doing two sets of the training podcast. I found two different podcasts that follow the same interval structure so it's the same but different. One has a lot of verbal cueing which can be nice so you know there is just one minute left until the end of the interval or just one more run. The other one is just music and has a series of ascending or descending beeps to indicate and increase/decrease in speed.

I have given myself a goal, or maybe more a challenge to work toward. October 10th is the local marathon. Which I will not be participating in, but I did sign up for the corresponding 10K which sounds so daunting, until you realize it's only 6.3 miles. Six is almost half of ten when you look at it that way. (But drivers in Canada can go 100km/hour which seems so much more fun.) Anyway, we have a matinee show that afternoon too and an evening rehearsal for the In Concert fundraiser so 10/10/10 will be a busy day for me.

September 2, 2010

Mild winter still equals savings

Thursday, September 02, 2010 Posted by Ryan , No comments
I forgot to post this earlier in the summer. It's almost time to start heating the house again! Even with the mild winter that the west coast had this year we still managed save some money with the new 92% efficient gas furnace. I adjusted the estimated oil usage to reflect the warmer temperatures but kept the same delivery dates and called to get the current prices on those dates.

Estimated ’09-’10 cost of heating the house with oil: $632.50

Actual ’09-‘10 final natural gas bill: $336.76

Dollars saved: $295.74

September 1, 2010

Fitness or Folly?

Wednesday, September 01, 2010 Posted by Ryan , No comments
I decided to start running this month. I didn't really decide as was convinced and persuaded by Paul who has already run a half-marathon this year and is working up to a full marathon in November. I have no desire to run that far, but I would like to be able to run without that horrible burning feeling in my lungs after 3 minutes. I'm starting slow with an interval training program based on the couch to 5K method. I just finished my first week with it and will start week 2 tomorrow. Not all of the beginning programs are the same. I downloaded several different podcast versions all between 8-9 weeks long. The first week 1 program I tried has intervals of 60 sec running followed by 90 sec brisk walk. That was great. It was a little hard, but I didn't feel like I was going to die. Then decided to mix things up and try a different week 1 podcast. Apparently this one has 2 min of running followed by 3 minutes of walking. That makes a big difference. Even though over the 30 minutes I ran the same amount I really wanted to give up and quick most of the time. That feeling is not going to keep me coming back for more so I switched back to the first version for my third session of the week.
I know it should be hard, I should push myself, but if it's too much I know I won't stick with it and will probably hurt myself in the process. Hopefully week two will go as smoothly as week one.

September 1

Wednesday, September 01, 2010 Posted by Ryan , , No comments
I may be woefully short on self-stiched clothes for the month, but I still plan on putting up a fight. I pulled one of my 9-year old sleeveless tops out today and paired it with a cardigan and slacks for work today. I'm not sure what I'll have to wear tomorrow, but I know I can definately get at least one weeks worth of SSS out of the clothes I do have and we'll see where it goes from there. I'm going to try and post pictures once a week of my outfits as I manage to pull them together.

August 27, 2010

Too much on my plate, nothing to show for it

Friday, August 27, 2010 Posted by Ryan No comments
I had such grand plans. Three months ago I saw the post for Self-Stiched-September and thought that three months was plenty of time to start sewing and have several basics done so I could try wearing 1+ handsewn items for the entire month. Since then I have sewn one skirt, and started and failed one dress. The dress was a failure because I tried to modify the pattern significantly before figuring out the fitting issues in the original pattern. I still have the sleeves, and can salvage the circle skirt but I'm not sure I would actually wear the resulting dress. I should just chalk it up to a failure and try the pattern again the way it was intended.

So despite my intentions. I don't think I'll be ready to commit to SSS. Except I already committed myself and now I just won't be able to follow through. I have a contingency plan though. More of a modification plan. If I could make one new item a week and wear it I would be far behind the idea of wearing something everyday, but I would come out of the month having sewn four new things. And four things in a month would be impressive by my standards.

I don't know what happened to the summer. Although I felt like summer was coming to a close in June, now that it actually is I'm not sure what I did with myself during the last three months.

June 11, 2010


Friday, June 11, 2010 Posted by Ryan No comments
In the summer at work we have barbeque lunches every other friday. Today was chicken/steak shishkabobs with pinapple and peppers with watermelon on the side. When I walked into the kitchen at work this afternoon for a glass of water I saw the rind of two or three large watermelons in the trash can, next to the compost can. Most of the compost in the office is from the coffee machine. We have a lot of coffee grounds each week. But it has been a fight to remind people that they can put things like apple cores and orange peels and radish leaves (although I admit that once, I actually pulled out a bunch of radish leaves from the compost can, washed them off and ate them for lunch!) and other food waste in the compost instead of the trash. The giant watermelon rinds in the trash just made me sad.

June 2, 2010

no yogurt this week

Wednesday, June 02, 2010 Posted by Ryan , , No comments
I tried to make yogurt for the first time this weekend. It did not turn out. There are so many things that could have gone wrong. First, the expired rasberry yoplait from the mini-mart was definately not an ideal starter. I was also a little distracted while I heated the milk and first let it get too hot, then while I was cooling it to add the starter, let it get too cool. I heated it up again to 120F before I added the rasberry yoplait. Whatever happen, it didn't set and is still all liquidy. I can still use it for baking, but probably only for fruity baked goods since there is the tinge of rasberry in there still. I need to find the candy thermometer again too since I'm pretty sure the instant read thermometer I used is a little off and I had to keep checking periodically.

I did make a new cover for the dog bed though...

March 1, 2010

Trying to get a head start

Monday, March 01, 2010 Posted by Ryan , , , No comments
You know it's finally spring when Costco has the spring bulb packages for sale. Actually a mix of bulbs and dormant perrenial plants. I couldn't help myself, I had to buy some this year even though my purchase last year was a failure. The double-decker coneflowers that I planted in the front never came up. I think the plants went bad sitting inside while I waited for the weather to warm up sufficiently. Obviously I waited too long, and I think the hallway was probably too warm. I overcompensated last year by seeding regular purple cone flowers over the top of my plants and some of those did come up so I'll still have some this year. I really want some white cone flowers, and almost bought some at Costco last night, but I held off. Partially because I didn't want the other plants in the mixed selection bag, and because I have a neighbor/friend who has a really big white coneflower and said I could have some. Free plants are best. I really hope that starting this year I might have enough established plants to start offering something in trade. Everything looks so barren still, but I know it's filling out. And, I should be getting some of that third-year growth spirt on some of the plants.

It may seem crazy but one of my new plants is a seedum. Normally I wouldn't buy these because they are so easy to divide and get from someone else's yard (like my mother's) but this one is new and exciting. It's a new variety called Elsie's Gold and is really similar to the Autumn Joy, but has variegated leaves. I think I'll plant all the little plants in the package, and once they come up and look established, I'll give away half of them. I don't need 10 plants, but 5 or so will help fill in some gaps (like the one left after the plant theft of '09). I love how low maintenance they are and they're one of the few things in the front left standing after the first freeze. This winter's super early hard freeze actually did bad things to everything including the autumn joy seedum, but that is rare.

With the mild winter we have been having on the west coast - which is only fair after the 93+ of snow last year - I've already been out and pruned and started weeding the yard. There were still some frozen patches, I though they were just rocks at first, but I got a good head start. Of course when I say "I" I mean that I was out there, but had some help from my family last weekend too.

2010 Plans for the outdoors:


Put in gravel pathway across front yard.

Plant more groundcover along front path and driveway.

Till parking strip, remove lots-o-rocks, replant w/ ? (the vinca vine is doing okay, but I"m impatient. If it was all filled in I think I'd be happy but there is still too much room for the weeds.


Finish fence on south side of yard.

Rototill the entire back yard.

Install patio, pathway, planting beds according to plan.

Seed lawn area w/ drought tolerant no-mow grass. (You stil have to mow it 1-2 times a year to eliminate the seed heads in mid-summer.)

Plant vegetable garden.


Build chicken coop.

Build garden fence.

Remove concrete back steps / re orient and re build wood steps.

Build fence on n. side of yard.

Spring hasn't even started yet, but I look at my list of plans and feel overwhelmed, and behind schedule.