Monday, October 19, 2009

Rhinebeck, part 1

Well, I am now recovered from my weekend at Rhinebeck, the New York State Sheep and Wool festival! I have caught up with sleep, unpacked my bags and put them away, and am working on figuring out where to put my newly purchased yarn!

I rushed home after work on Friday to make sure I was all ready to be picked up by my pal Marianne, and we went and got Katy and Yovani afterward. We got a little mixed up on our way to the KOA Kampground we stayed at, but the mixup meant that we got a good look at the town of Saugerties, which helped us scout for restaurants and get the lay of the land. The "Kabin" was small, clean, and 'heated' by a space heater, and the bathrooms were in a building a few campground spots away.

After we quickly settled in, we headed back out for some dinner... I don't remember the name of the restaurant/pub, but the menu was interesting and the food was good. We went to bed fairly early, but I had a hard time adjusting to the cold and such... and didn't sleep very well at all!

However, I did my best to look alive the next day, and we started out with a great diner meal before heading over to the fairgrounds. The festival itself offered so much to see - so much yarn, fiber, so many animals, great fair-type food... the best of which was the maple cotton candy - yummmm!

Our plans to eat at a particular fancy restaurant that evening were foiled by a desire to be a bit more free-wheeling with our plans, but we know for next year to make a reservation... otherwise, you end up at a restaurant with empty tables... and the tables are empty for a reason! The food was pretty good, but the service was fairly poor, to be honest.

After dinner, we made our way to the Ravelry party. By that point, I was awfully tired and didn't have as much fun as I probably would have otherwise! However, I chatted with a bunch of nice people by the bonfire, and tried to do some dancing to the tunes pumped out by a groovy dj who had a great, grizzly beard and a cigarette perpetually dangling out of his mouth.

I slept much better on Saturday night, which is usually the case in a new bed... the second night always goes better!

On Sunday, we ate at Mezzaluna for breakfast... it was SO GOOOOD! After that, we swung by the fairgrounds one last time, and I bought some wonderful yarn from Maple Creek Farm - enough for a fabulous sweater, which I plan on designing myself!

On our way home, we enjoyed the sight of snow while we drove along the Taconic Parkway, which is actually a beautiful drive!

Many thanks go to Marianne for taking the lion's share of the driving responsibilities, you were a champ, my dear!

I haven't taken photos of my new yarn yet; that will be taken care of whenever I get around to "Rhinebeck Part 2"!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

There is Hope!

A few of you may have been reading my blog from the beginning, and may remember one of my very first posts where I showed a picture of the bottom of my foot after a run. Here is a link if you wish to see an incredibly gross picture. Don't click if you do NOT want to see an incredibly gross picture!

For those of you who do not know the blistery saga I live with on a regular basis, here goes: I blister very, very easily. I can't run more than about 20 minutes without blistering. I cannot hike up a mountain without blistering within the first 10-15 minutes or so. In order to avoid blistering on a daily basis, I wear floppy, loose, and/or unsupportive shoes, because achy feet are easier to deal with than blistery ones.

People, I have had ENOUGH of this. ENOUGH! I want to climb a mountain! I want to go for a 5+ walk in the woods on a beautiful Autumn day without getting a blister the size of a quarter (this happened a couple of weekends ago) on the back of my heel! (I couldn't put on regular shoes for a week, when I finally cut the blister off because it was getting too cold for flip flops)

I did some research, and found the company up in NH that seems to be quite popular for custom hiking boots. However, my research also revealed that the boots take A YEAR of heavy use to break in, and let's face it... that would probably take several years for me, because of the blistery thing. So, I kept looking. I found another company that is in Vermont, and the woman in charge talked to me for a long time on the phone, explaining her process and listening to my various complaints and concerns. She sounded great!

So, yesterday, I headed out to VT (gorgeous drive, too cloudy for a lot of pics, though, bummer) to get my feet measured for some custom walking shoes and hiking boots. I was very impressed with the exhaustive nature of her examination of my feet. She told me things about my feet I have been trying to tell doctors for YEARS... that attempting to 'correct' the pronation in my feet just causes more pain and discomfort, and that they are just supposed to BE that way. Terry told me that I DO have an arch, and that my foot hasn't 'fallen' into pronation over time, that this is just the way my feet are meant to be. So, the blistering happens in highly supportive shoes because my feet are being forced into a more upright position that they do not like, and they fight the shoe to tilt back inwards, into their natural position.

She told me a bunch of other interesting things about my feet, such as that my heel is the size of a size 10 foot, but that my feet are only size 8 1/2, meaning the front of my foot is even smaller than an 8 1/2. Also, that my arch does not spring like a shock absorber like it is supposed to. And that my foot does not spread out when I stand up, like it is supposed to. And that I have a very flexible ankle, but very inflexible plantar muscles. And that my ankle bone is 1/2 inch higher than the upper average limit for regular peeps. She said the walking inkblot looked like that of someone with a VERY high arch, which is not what anyone would ever have guessed, just looking at my feet. She said she'd use the inkblot to stump people if she ever got the chance.

Anyway, she will now make a custom last, which she will use to make me some hiking boots and some walking boots. If they work out, I will probably look into getting a couple more pairs... maybe some sandals for summer, and maybe some more heavy duty walking shoes, for times I'm tromping around in the woods but not exactly hiking up a mountain? Or maybe some running shoes? Who can say.

At any rate, the idea of getting to the top of a mountain without a blister is highly exciting to me, and makes me mist up a little... cross your fingers for me!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Autumn is Kinda Here...

The evenings are coldddd, the leaves are turning, apples are being picked by the meeeelions. It must be Fall!

With this time of year also comes my favorite bike riding weather... cool and sunny. I took a nice bike ride from Great Brook Farm a couple of days ago, and took some photos afterward. I also got test-stung by a bee... on the butt. That was not my most favorite part of the day.

I did enjoy seeing this nice woolly bear... I resisted the urge to pat it... might as well leave it alone. Plus, I think I ran over a dead one on my ride, and I was feeling a little guilty.

Look at those lovely clouds!

This picture made me think I was peeking into a secret glen - check out the foliage I spy!

More foliage:

Some neato pods:

On that day, I enjoyed two things that seemed like such extravagant expenses at the time... my fancy schmancy custom bicycle, and my snazzy camera. But since I've gotten the bike, I have enjoyed it every time I took it out for a ride, and I have taken over 6000 photos with my camera since I got it a couple of years ago. That's an average of over 8 pics a day... I'd say it was well worth the investment!

I'm planning on doing a bit of leaf peeping this weekend... crossing my fingers for some decent weather and clear skies!