Tulip Festival

If you’ve never heard of the Skagit Value Tulip Festival, you should. If you live in the Seattle area, you should go even. The amazing amount of flowers is only overshadowed by the natural beauty of the flowers themselves. Row upon row of tulips in full bloom. Nature is cool.

Elliott had a good time too 🙂 We let him run loose. And of course, he found a mud puddle. I’m sure that we’ve got many years of cleaning mud off of his shows/clothes ahead of us.

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I was running…

My half marathon training officially started yesterday. I’m doing a 9 week training program, also run out of Level 4. Nine weeks is a short training cycle, but we were asked to have a baseline of 6 miles. Due to a cold, I wasn’t able to get my planned 6 mile run in, but I’ll be ok.

So, why? I’ve ever been a huge fan of running. In my triathlon days (2004), running was always my weakest sport.  I thought a solid training program would help me get on track.

This training program has me working 6 days a week, with one long run and one medium run a week. The other days are mostly CrossFit. With our “active recovery day,” I’m not sure what I’m going to do. Maybe yoga, maybe an extra CrossFit. We’ll see.

So far so go. I did a 7:45 mile in my mile test on Tuesday night. Today, 4 miles, no problem.

Beginner Glass 1

About 7 weeks ago now, I started taking glassblowing classes at Seattle Glassblowing Studio. I’ve never been much of an art person, but I do enjoy it quite a bit.

The actual class I too was 6 week, 4 hours a week. Now that sounds like a lot, but you really can’t have enough practice. Also, you work in teams. There were 3 students in the class, and 1 instructor. Sometimes there might be all 4 of us working together to complete a piece.

Week 1, started with some basics, pulling glass out shaping, cooling, heating. And I ended up with a paperweight. The second week, we still worked in solids, I moved on to a pineapple (paperweight, with leaves on top and spots on the side).

After that, we started actually using blow pipes to make bubbles. From there, you can make all kinds of things. We did ornaments, floats, bowls, cups, and my favorite, plates. (Image on the right).

Plates are complicated. After some practice, I can make one in about 30 minutes now. It turns out that speed is on your side, making it fast is a good thing. The basic process is this. I’m leaving out lots of heating steps, those are in there.

  1. Gather glass
  2. Color – For the yellow plate, I did 4 or 5 coats of yellow frit
  3. start the bubble – lesson learned – hot glass is your friend
  4. Gather on top of the bubble
  5. Continue to expand and shape the bubble, cooling the top and flattening it a bit (it becomes the bottom)
  6. Use an optimic mold to get the waves in the plate
  7. Add the foot onto the bottom of the plate, optionally make it mountable
  8. Transfer the plate to puntie
  9. This is where it gets fun. Open the hole on the opposite end a little more now (the end previously connected to the blow pipe)
  10. Add the lip wrap (the orange in this case). Someone else has been preparing and coloring this for about 2-3 minutes – teamwork and timing
  11. Open the hole a little more, so that this starts to look like a cup/funky bowl
  12. And the really fun part – keep the plate in the glory hole, and spin. The spinning opens up the bowl into a flat-ish plate
  13. Remove from the heat, but continue to spin the plate, this allows you to shape it further in to a flat or more bowl like structure
  14. Very very very very carefully break it off and transfer the anealer  We made 4 plates, only 1 survived with zero cracks. I know some tricks now though.

So, kind of a new hobby. Something you can’t really do at home. For now, I’ve signed up for the next class, and will be taking 4 more classes starting next month.

Here is a better selection of pictures I took during the class.

Full Album on Google+

LEANing Challenge

Dated, stuffed with walnuts, wrapped in bacon + some asparagus.

Dated, stuffed with walnuts, wrapped in bacon + some asparagus.

It has been way too long since I’ve written. The last time I did a series of posts, I was doing a cleansing diet, and logging it to make sure I followed. Well, my 14 day cleanse ended on day 10 when I just completely lost my appetite. Sure, I lost some weight, but it gradually came back. Lots of other things happened, like 2 promotions at work, that shifted my schedule (even more than having an infant, now toddler).

But, I stuck with the gym. I’ve been going to Level4 Crossfit in Seattle for over a year now. I’m hitting about 4 classes a week, and hope to be doing less traveling here in the coming weeks.

So, now I’m on another food thing, It’s more than just a food thing though. I’m participating in the LEANing Challenge at the gym. We’re 2 weeks in (out of 7), and things are going well. The picture on this post is what I made for dinner tonight. The dates were a bit of a splurge, but I love dates, and I love bacon. This works for me, I’m able to find plenty to eat, steering clear of gluten and dairy, and just cooking real food at home.

I don’t want to talk about results yet, yes the scale is lower than it was two weeks ago, but there is a long way to go. 2 and a half times as far as I’ve come already, that’s how long we have to go.