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It has happened.  

Again.

That feeling of deja vu.

“I know you, don’t I?”

And that, ‘Watch out for the crazy person’ look that you get in return.

Except that I wasn’t crazy.

I don’t think…

So familiar but am totally unable to place him.  

And then the questions start:

“Last name?”

Nope, not familiar.

“Live here long?”

Just moved here.

“Do I look familiar to you too?”

Sorta but not sure…

And then the long looks as we both go about our day and still try to place the other because, by this point, we know we KNOW each other vaguely.

And then it hits him and he asks the right questions:

“Did you live in Alaska?”

Ok, this is a vague one but at least I have a geographical range and its totally right.  Yes.

“And you were with Jamison?”

Wow.  

Just…

Wow

And thats it totally. 

It has been a while.  Quite a while, actually.  Like, nearly 7 years.  And we only met each other in passing a few times.  He was friends with my boyfriend at the time younger brothers and had come over a few times to play Halo with them, a huge 8 person event that happened about once a month or less during fishing season…which was the only time, that one season, maybe two, that I met him. And it must have been just in passing too, because I rarely stuck around for Halo night because I didn’t play.  But then, nearly 7 years later, I walk into the kitchen at work and see him and it is so strange.

Of all the places in all the world, I am now co-workers with someone who I met once or twice in Pelican, AK nearly 7 years ago.

Very weird.

 

And, of course, its happening again today.  I got a notification on Facebook that someone had “Friend”ed me.

And he looks familiar and we have a few of the same friends…

but I looked thru my old yearbooks that my Mum had sent me a little while ago and couldn’t find him.

I know him somehow.

I know I do…

Don’t I?

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Oh this project…

I bought this fiber back when I begun spinning and what a lucky purchase it was.  I had seen it on Etsy and messaged the dyer to see if she would dye it for me.  I learned 2 things from this exchange.
#1: You always should ask because the worst they say is no.
#2: You always should ask how much if you haven’t seen the original listing.
I was a little shocked when the bill came but chalked it up to learning and the cost of cashmere.DSC_4492

I would do it again instantly if I found another listing that sang to me the way this did.
This beautiful fiber came out of its packaging every few months to get pet and admired and then put away as I realised that I was no where near the spinner I needed to be to delve into this gorgeous stuff and give it its due.DSC_4491
After I finished Intentions, I needed a break from BFL and thought that, after all this time of spinning consistantly, it was time to get in there…and it was.
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The fiber spun as from a dream and the colours were beyond my hopes.  DSC_6147
The plying was perfect and preserved those colour repeats that I wanted to hold on to.  DSC_6170
The knitting was more bliss as I began a simple shawl with a 3 stitch garter edge with a YO and then YOs next to the spine stitch before YO next tot the other garter edge.

It worked up beautifully.
As I got to the end of my ball, I thought that simple lace faggoting would be the perfect way to finish.

It is.

I worked until I could feel the end was nigh and began my cast off with JSSBO.  I knew it would take a good deal of yarn so saved myself what I thought would be perfect.
I was close.

6 stitches close.

There was weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Ask M.  There was cursing too.
Lucky for me, I was binding off in the brilliant line-green section of yarn and I just happened to have some lime green yarn that is a very nearly perfect match.  You can’t tell unless I point it out to you.
The blocking was magical, as it always is, and the simple lace is perfect.

Perfection
I wear this scarf/shawl often and it is the project that I stick into my bag daily if I don’t wrap it around my neck  before leaving.  The cashmere and superwash merino couldn’t have been a more perfect blend and this project is sheer perfection in every possible way.

We ALL have them.  Its those little things that we do that make us, well, us.

My newest quirk is a little hard to explain.

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Well, actually, its easy to explain, just harder to Explain.

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Those things?  Yeah, those are part of my new daily habit.  Unsalted Kerrygold butter, MCT oil and locally roasted fair-trade coffee.

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The special butter is for various reasons.  You can read about the nutritional value of grass-fed butter vs. grain fed here, here and the importance of good butter here.

MCT oil takes a bit more explaining because I bet many people aren’t familier with it.  MCT stands for Medium Chain Triglyceride Oil, basically a fat that doesn’t have a long chain of fatty acid esters of glycerol.  It is found most commonly from Coconuts and Palms (Coconut and Palm oil are both MCTs)  There are lots of articles out there that extoll the virtues and uses of MCT oil in the athletic community, bodybuilding community and the low-carb (Adkins) community.  This blogger wrote a fantastic post with lots of links to studies regarding MCT oil and its usefullness.  I HIGHLY suggest taking a look if you are interested in more information.  I don’t care about the use of MCT for bodybuilding and I love rice, flavoured pasta and potatoes far too much to ever think about low-carb anything.  The BIG upside for me is that MCT’s are not digested by the liver or bile salts in general, they are absorbed directly and can be put to use in the body.  As someone who no longer has a bile concentrator in my body and who has been suffering with the digestion of nearly EVERY form of dietary fat, just let me tell you what a godsend discovering this has been for me.

You could also use coconut oil if you don’t have or want to try MCT oil.

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So now we see the addition of the third and final ingredient:  My own Port Townsend roasted coffeeMade in my fantastic vintage Regal Poly-Perk.

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Yes.  I am blending the coffee, MCT oil and 2 tablespoons of butter together.  On High.  For 30 seconds to a minute.

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This is the result:  Creamy, frothy and perfectly hot, thanks to the speed of the Vitamix.

How does it taste?

Well, thats where my quirk gets quirkier.

Its amazing.  Creamy, smooth and perfect.

And this coming from someone who has ALWAYS had at least 2 sugar packets in a regular diner cup or at least 2 tablespoons of Coffeemate in her home-brewed mug.  For years I have been saying that my concession to “fake” food was Coffeemate but no longer.  I don’t need the sugar and don’t miss it.  As for the flavours, I have tried vanilla and almond extract and both are lovely additions.

Before you wrinkle your nose at the idea of butter and an oil in your coffee, stop and think.

Do you take cream/half-n-half/milk in your coffee?  Butter is simply whipped cream.  Or over whipped cream, depending on your POV.

Oil?  If you put Coffeemate/International Delight or ANY other non-dairy creamer in your coffee, you already are putting oil in yours.  A highly processed oil and most likely a trans fat.  Mine is simply better for you.

Now for the big question:  WHY?

Because I figured I had nothing to lose when the nutritionist at work told me about it.  She told me that drinking this “Bulletproof Coffee” helped her feel full while she was IF-ing and/or low-carbing.  Considering that I often fast by accident (get ‘too busy’ at work for lunch and go for 10+ hours), the idea of something that would help give me energy without a sugar crash or processed food binge was very appealing.  Let me be very clear though:  I DO try to eat and have healthy choices around if I take the time to eat them.  I just have no sense of time and it passes me by without me being aware until I am ‘starving’ with an hour before I get to go home and make dinner.  With the sun shining these past few days, I have totally taken my lunch breaks and enjoyed the sun, and the lunches, immensely.  I don’t generally skip meals on purpose.  Just usually.  On accident.

However…for the past week, this coffee has totally carried me through from 8am to 3pm with NO hunger and complete ability to resist the candy and snacks that have been out tempting me at work.  I feel alert, boundless energy and really enthusiastic about life in general.  Granted, this could be due to the increase of Vitamin D but I’m going to give the coffee its due.

Interested?

Do your own research like I did.  There are tonnes of blogs about different peoples trials of buttery coffee.  There are just as many articles out there about the benefits of grass-fed butter and just as many of those about MCT oil and Coconut oil.

Think I’m nuts and that this is just another fad in the food world?

Possibly.

If you discount the yak butter tea that has been drunk in Tibet and China and Bhutan so long that it has “Traditional” in front of ‘recipe’.

I just know it works for me.

Try it and let me know what you think!

This weekend is the Fourth Annual Olympic Peninsula Fiber Farm Tour and I can’t tell you how excited I have been waiting for it to arrive.  Last year, I was all excited about going and then I didn’t have a job so no real money for fiber…but this year there was no problems what-so-ever.

Mike and I started our tour with a stop at Metro Bagels for our Chai (regular for him, soy for me) and bagels (plain bagel with jalapeno cheddar cream cheese for him, parmesan bagel with sun-dried tomato and garlic cream cheese for me).  We have a tradition of starting out our explorations with a breakfast from them and haven’t seen any reason to stop yet!  Everything goes better with chai and bagels to begin with and today was no exception.

We arrived at Ananda Hills promptly at 10am and spent over an hour talking and walking around there, admiring the tomato hot house, the guardian dogs with the chickens, seeing the Shetland sheep hiding in the hills and right outside the barn door, and talking for a long time with J and C, the amazing people who own and run the place.    I don’t think we could have had a better start to our day than visiting with them!

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Next we moved on to Spring Hill Farm and their beautiful Romney sheep.  I loved seeing all the variations in the colours, especially how it looked when blended!Image

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Out to Quilcene we went and onto Jacob’s Fleece where we met the lovely JG and her flock of Jacob sheep.  Talk about colours!  They have such a distinctive look and I must say, I have a ‘thing’ for critters with spots so they really appealed to me.

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Finally for today we stopped at Taylored Fibers, home of the Taylors and their fantastic fiber processing business in addition to seeing their Chevoit sheep.  I had quite a lot of alpaca to drop off for processing as well as something else that I’ll show you in a moment, but what I was really looking forward to doing was meeting Judith MacKenzie.  She was lovely and I hope that someday I’ll be able to take a class with her.  Fiber people are just some of the best people there are, I swear its true.Image

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Because we had to head home for a delivery, there is one more farm to visit on the tour and we’ll see them tomorrow.  We had a fantastic day visiting the sheep and their farms and their owners and I can’t wait to do more tomorrow.

One last thing…did you think that I could visit sheep and shepherds and not bring home souvenirs?  Nope, me neither and that would be why I brought my checkbook.

From Ananda Farm, I found a perfect Shetland in multiple shades of brown.  In a world where historically colours have often been bred out in search of the “perfect” white, I can’t tell you how excited I am.  Actually, I can:  Excited enough that I forgot to take a photo of the bag ‘o fleece before I handed it over to Barry Taylor and only have the sample of the locks that I pulled aside for myself!

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ImageSo perfect!  Before washing/carding: 3.5lbs

From Spring Hill Farm:  2 bumps of Dark Grey Romney, 15.75 and 15.25oz = 31oz (1oz shy of 2 lbs)

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Now, in the direct sun, you can see that they look MUCH more brown…but with myself casting a shadow:

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Quite a bit more grey.  Mike picked this out for himself so I am already plotting a project with him in mind!

From Jacob’s Fleece, 9.2 ounces of a true “grey”, if anything with spots can ever be truly one colour or another!Image

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Jan was spinning some of this herself and I just loved the tweed-y way the colours were blending.

I also picked up 2 ounces of pure heaven in batt form from Karen Rose of Rosebud fibers, a Port Townsend local company.  I was powerless to resist and you can see why:

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At Taylored Fibers, I dropped off my lovely new Shetland to be processed…along with 2 alpaca fleeces.  One was a 3+ pound cria fleece that I had been lucky enough to A) find on freecycle, B) be the first person to respond to the posting, C) have 2 years of growth, not the normal 1 and D) have Judith MacKenzie look at it just prior to me handing it over for processing and nearly have her swoon.  She laughed and was enthralled and could have knocked me over with a feather when she told me that she had bought some alpaca fleece recently that was nearly exactly like this…for $65/lb.  Seriously.  I knew that it was something special, so fine and long and just lustrous but now I’m even more excited about it!

The second was a birthday present from my amazing sister J.  She went to a fair in MI and walked thru the shearing and showing barn where alpaca fiber was on display.  After looking around and feeling and talking to people, she made a purchase of 3 pounds of cream alpaca with a gorgeous crimp to it.  It has a 2-3″ staple and is so lovely.  I feel so lucky to have such a thoughtful sister!

All told, I have…a LOT of fiber now.  Alpaca, llama and wool that were an amazing find from freecycle, alpaca from my sister, Romney, Shetland and Jacob from local sheep AND some lovely brown from Friday Harbor sheep that I cannot, for the life of me, remember the breed!  I have satisfied my want for natural wools for…most likely the rest of my life.

And tomorrow I get to visit Icelandic sheep…and THAT will be it.  Really.

*deep breath*
It is amazing to me how slowly time can go in the morning.

Today, I was rudely awoken at 630 and while it wasn’t dark (far from it, there were sunbeams!), it was still only 6 and a half hours from when I put my book down and I closed my eyes. As the cat clawed at my arms, I pushed her off, saw the clock and thought, ‘just half hour more’…and then the attacked my toes and all thoughts of sleeping went right out the window. I got up, showered, dressed, pin curled my hair and took a seat to review my plan of action for the day. Had some coffee and just as my coffee is getting cold, I looked at the clock. 8am. Really? When I have to get ready for work the times flies by! When I’m at work the evening races and when I get home it seems like its only a few minutes before its 1am and I finally feel like I could sleep. But mornings…they are special to me. I hear the birds singing, I feel the earth warming up, I can see the sun filtering through the trees…it is just this special time for me and I really love mornings in general. Granted, in the recent past I was sleeping until 9 or 10 so it wasnt so much “morning” anymore but just in this past week or so I have been making more of an effort to get up and get going by 8 and in the last few days I’ve been up closer to 7.

Why?

Because the insane part of me forgot how classes can add up on you if you aren’t paying attention and decided to take not 1, not 2 but 3 classes this 11 week term in addition to working full time. That is 14 credits; a full-time student.  Not only do those classes meet online and have extensive “discussions” but two of them (Anatomy and Physiology 2 and Microbiology) have in-person labs which mean 6 Saturdays, 1 per month per class, I get to spend in Renton, a 2+ hour drive for a 4 hour lab.  Did I mention that one of those begins at 8am?  Not looking forward to that one so much because of the freakishly early start time for my driving, especially since I highly doubt that M will want to go to that one with me.  He is coming with me today though for my first day of lab and for that I am very grateful.

So here I am.  Trying to manage my time well to get in classes and work and Oh, did I mention that I’m supposed to be training for three races?  Yeah, the first one is on May 20th and I am far from ready.  My schedule for this upcoming month is going to be packed with the addition of focused running so I don’t A) Hurt myself and/or B) make a fool of myself come the 20th.

Oh wait…did I mention that I am still trying to knit and spin to save my sanity?  Yup, there is still a lot of both going on in Chez Sisu, especially now since I bought the wheel of my dreams.  She is a Schacht Matchless and is everything that I could have ever wanted.  There will be photos of her to come, along with a review.

All in all, I am so very happy with my busy-ness and actually am getting more done.  I focus my time and effort on one thing at a time and it all gets done and I’m happy with the results.  I still do some things via multi-tasking.  I listen and watch A&P lectures while I spin, pausing to take notes every once in a while.  I knit mindlessly while reading texts.  I take my texts to work with me and read during my dinner break (not while knitting too, just reading).  I set dinner to cook while participating in online discussions.  The one thing that I can’t multi-task is the running…which is a good thing.  With so much else going on, I think that I need that one task that takes me away from it all.  But I’ll have to get back to you on that…I haven’t run in over a week now simply because it was not something I could multi-task!

Things have been hopping here in SisuGirl-land…

Mike and I took Sisu to a dog park a few days ago and while she amused herself by chasing a mouse, we laughed over the signage.

I love signs like this.

We also took a drive one fine afternoon and ended up a but further than we expected…

Thats what can happen when you aren’t really travelling with a destination in mind!

I’ve been training for the Pasta Dash that is coming fast (next week!!!) and I am thrilled with my new piece of workout wear:

Its a running skirt/skort from RunningSkirts and I LOVE IT so very much.  It gives me just that little extra bit of coverage over my rear so I don’t feel so exposed.  Generally, my feelings towards workout gear is that I’m wearing X and working out and don’t care what you think because this is for me.  Unfortunetly, that attitude doesn’t make me feel less ogled when running past men but, surprisingly, wearing a skirt does.  The compression shorts underneath are perfect and stay in place and then the skirt over the top doesn’t ride either but gives that extra bit of coverage so you don’t see the shorts moulded to my rear…

See?  It also helps that its summery and cute and the colours means that it will go with everything in my workout closet 🙂

And speaking for workout closet…I’ve decided to ‘move’ with my life in a slightly new direction.  I have really enjoyed my (continuing) weight loss journey with my buddy and I feel that I would be a great motivator and helper for others to do the same so I have started a new course of study and certification…to become a ACE certified Personal Trainer.

You can look forward to seeing more about this as I work through the books and delve deeper into and onto this path.  I’m wondering if I should start up a new section of the blog for it…got any input, fair reader?

Continuing on the fitness line:  I finally did something that I have been thinking about for a long while now…

   

     

Points to the first person who can tell me a) Why I have 6 large stars and b)Why the first star is teal and the second star is pink.

I’ll think of some awesome prize for you, I promise!  And I’ll explain everything in tomorrows blog post…cause there is a lot on my mind that needs OUT.

Also on the busy adventure front…I am starting some other new training tomorrow too.  I’m becoming a Certified Nurses Aide for the state of Washington.  There is a great need for caregivers and this is a great start for me here in WA.  Send happy thoughts 🙂

 

To start with…expect a longer load time because this is going to be very photo heavy!  32 to be exact but it is worth the wait 🙂

Second, this is Sisu’s post…and her perspective is a little different than mine but not by much!  I had to take the photos since she is still working on that oppositional thumbs deficiency.

Oh the places we have gone…

Mum and Dad knew I would be missing the beach and my long frolics on the sand but lucky for me, there is a HUGE swath of Pacific Ocean not far away AND I even get to ride in the car!!

Did you know sand could be fine and so light?  I didn’t and you should see me tearing off after those pesky seagulls…just like back in Nelson Lagoon 🙂

I had to pose with my people…

but its too bad that Mum didn’t have her camera to hand just after this.  Dad told me “OK” and usually that means that I can run again…so I did…directly towards a large moose-like thing with a person on its back.  Mum and Dad yelled at me to come back so I didn’t get a good sniff but maybe it will be there next time.

   

Mum keeps buying things that  I have absolutely no interest in at all.  Nearly every day she and dad are stopping at this not fun place where I have to stay in the car and then they come back and Mum is talking so much about how cheap and fresh and amazing the fruits and veggies are.  Silly Mummy.

 

But the icky thing shop is right next to the yummy smelling meat place and both Mum and Dad are sure to pick up a small snack for me each time too when we are out and about and we get out a lot!

They are also taking me everywhere with them…

Well…nearly everywhere.  Last week Mum and Dad left me with Grandma while they went to see Grandpa.  Before they left I showed them that I could jump onto a brick post 3.5′ high and then jump out of the front garden.  Can you blame me?  I didn’t want to get left behind!  Grandma bribed me with treats to go back inside and actually, it was fun to be with her and Bailey, my aunt-dog, for the week.  Grandma took us everywhere with her in the car and I got more treats than Mummy gives me.  I had so much fun and even was letting Grandma sleep with my Tigger too.

What did Mum and Dad do?  Well, they smelled like cats when they got home so that was the reason that I wasn’t allowed to go with them.  Good thing they are MINE and not up for adoption by any felines!  Mummy said they went to “Scablands” which doesn’t sound very pretty but she was really excited about it.

 

 

 

 

 

Mummy was in ecstacy over the colours that she saw and she was writing a whole bunch in her idea book when she got home.  She said it was awazing to know that this was hiding just off the beaten I-90 and it is how she imagines the Grand Canyon and the deserts of the southwest to look but on a smaller scale.  And further north.

There was one day that Mum, Dad and Grandpa went touristing in a place called Levenworth.

No wonder it felt like they were gone for so long…Kansas is a LONG drive!  Good thing they both came back.

 

 

 

There were some funny hats to try on.

Fun for everyone!

 

 

Even Grandpa got into it! 

 

Meanwhile…I was at home…patiently waiting…

 

Watching the wildlife…


 

 

 

Waiting for our next car trip because I have finally figured out my perfect chin placement.

My people don’t need arm-rests as much as I need a chin-rest.

I got to go touristing with my family this week and Mum said they had good weather.

‘Good weather’?

Seriously?

Well, considering where we went, it was good weather for the supposed residents!

While I wanted to meet some wolf-y cousins, my people were more in it for the scenery than the tours so this photo is the only touristing they did.

Honest.

Though there was a waterfall…

And we did stop to see some big trees along the way.

Well…I really got to know the trees while Mum and Dad poked about in the nearby bushes.

Blech!  More things I don’t like to eat!

In non-touristing news…

Mummy got her toes painted a shockingly bright “Neon Watermelon”

And it matches the pink in the yarn she is using to make Daddy socks

We make a good team, the three of us on our car trips.

Mum knits and navigates…

Dad drives…

And I help them both!