The 50 Mile Club

The gym is doing its usual summer 50 Mile Club.  You try to swim 50 miles between May 1 and August 31.  It’s a fairly challenging workout program, but I usually sign up.  (This translates to about a 1,500 yard swim every week day, so is no slouch of a workout)

This year, I need to get ear plugs, though.  I got some serious water in my ear last year that just wasn’t going away and messed with my hearing pretty badly.  I should probably break down and get new goggles, too.  Almost three years on a pair of goggles is not bad at all.  My latex cap and my bathing suit are both just fine, however.   The suit won’t be fine at the end of this summer, but that’s okay.

This is also going to mean I’m going to have to get into the gym a little earlier on days my family comes in with me.  Hopefully they won’t want to strangle me for this *grin*.

I wish I could find some decent waterproof earbuds, though.  60 lengths of the pool every weekday can get a wee bit tedious with no music or books to listen to.  I own a waterproof box for my iPod, but I’ve never found a pair of ear buds that could stand up to a serious swim.  Prolly why I never see such things in the pool.  It’s not like most of the gym patrons can’t afford ’em.

I’m also going to throw in some weights at home just to make sure I’m getting the bone-building stuff.  That’s the one area where swimming is weak.  It’s not a weight bearing exercise in any way, even if it is pretty good for strength.   But if I’m swimming 45 minutes or so every day, damn’f I’ll hit the gym for a weight training session, too!

Do you find the occasional physical challenge fun?  If you like them, what do you like to do?

My Disney Trip

I’m having a hard time settling down to write a good trip report on my trip to Disney World, so instead of talking about the rides and stuff, I’m going to make some recommendations for people who are going. (If you have questions about the rides and attractions or wanna talk about ’em, I’m delighted to do so in the comments.  It’s just that I’m having a terrible time organizing my thoughts.  Sorry about that).

Now, from the ages of 3-25, I went to Disney World about every two or three years. So I’ve been there a LOT. I didn’t do any real research on the trip. I know Disney and didn’t need to, right?   Well… if I’d thought, I’d remember that the parks are always a work in progress.  After fifteen years, yes there have been a lot of changes.  First would be that fifteen years ago, I was not using the Internet.

Some things that are useful to the Disney traveler:

1. Fastpass.  Many of the rides and attractions have an option to go to it, get a ticket to go through a fast lane at a later time so you don’t have to waste time waiting in a line longer than a half an hour or so.   Once you have the pass, you have about an hour’s window to use it.  You do kind of have to work this, as you can’t get a second Fastpass until the time for the one you have begins.  You also have to plan ahead with this, because there are a limited number of Fastpasses for each ride available, and they’re usually all gone by four in the afternoon or so.  But if you work it, you can get the pass for the big attraction, do the smaller stuff in the area and then are able to get on the big ride pretty quickly.   You can go online and create a map for yourself of any park with what you want to do marked.  I didn’t find this out until I had no printer available and downloading it to my Palm was too much of a pain in the butt.

2. Dinner Reservations.  Oh yeah, you can make reservations for on-Property restaurants up to two weeks in advance online.  I found that making them the night before worked out okay mostly.  EPCOT’s teppanyaki restaurant books sooner than that.  (But the Japan pavillion has another restaurant and the sushi there is excellent).  I didn’t figure this out until we’d already been to three of the parks.  I suppose I’m a bad geek and just don’t deserve another Disney trip. 🙁

I really recommend an hour or two online at the WDW site for each of the parks you want to visit.

Learning to Sew

Sewing is on my mind, what with doing a lot of it right now and all.

My mother taught me how to sew.  She sews quite well, but doesn’t do it often.  I don’t think she’s been much into it since she was out of her twenties.  But she did break down and make a prom dress for me for my senior prom.

I had lost my taste for ruffly, frilly numbers or metallic shades of bright pink and blue at a time when they were really fashionable.   I saw a pattern for this long, slinky Grecian-inspired dress that I just had to have for a prom dress (in black.  I had started a serious black phase), so Mom agreed to make it for me.

It was sooo cool.  Looking back, it was a fairly difficult dress to make, though the pattern itself wasn’t too appalling.  It was the fabric.  The fabric was a slinky knit that is the very devil to sew, especially if you don’t have a serger – which few but the most fanatic of home sewers/quasi-professionals did in the spring of 1987.   Mom didn’t have a serger.  I didn’t know at the time about this, and Mom has never mentioned it.  It’s only knowing what I do now that I can reconstruct this.

What I remember was how awesome it was to have something totally unique to my own tastes.

At a Doctor Who convention in the early 1990s with Sylvester McCoy and Sophie AldredIronically, one of the first things I made for myself some five or six years later was pink – a jumper.  Mom talked me through it, held my hand through the sewing process, and doing some of the hard parts.  Yes, there were parts that were difficult and confusing for me when I was learning to sew!  It was this wonderful soft corduroy.    The skirt was supposed to be gathered, but we pleated it instead.  I forget why, but I’m pretty sure it was a screw-up on me not following directions properly or something.  The mistake turned out okay, though.

I wore that jumper out, and kind of miss it.  Too bad they aren’t too fashionable right now.   Maybe I’ll make another one anyway.

Sir-Mix-a-Lot Musings

Sore today, most specifically mah butt.

Laugh all you want.  When you do Stiff-Legged Deadlifts with proper form, it works da bootay, which is more or less why I do them.

Believe it or not, this is not a vanity thing.  Women, listen up.  A significant discrepancy between your quad strength[1] and hamstring strength[2] can have a destabilizing effect on knee strength putting you at risk for knee injuries, such as an ACL[3] rupture[4].  This strength discrepancy is a bit more common in women.

Now, I don’t know that my own ACL injury was in any way exacerbated by a strength incompatibility.  I expect in my case it was considerably more of a Rule One issue.  If you’re 35, short and around 200 lbs, it might be that a flying side kick is not the best activity choice for knee health.  Just sayin’.

But be that as it may, if you’re considering strength building work, don’t neglect the butt[5].

[1] That’s the muscles in the front of the thighs.

[2] That’s the muscles in the butt to the knee.

[3] Anterior Cruciate Ligament.  It’s a twisty little ligament in the front of the knee that’s critical to knee stability.  You CAN rupture it and then compensate by working out to strengthen the muscles to stabilize, or you can get the surgery.  I’m not an athlete and could have gotten away with not getting the surgery, but I’m here to say I’m glad I did.

[4] B.-O. Lim, Y. S. Lee, J. G. Kim, K. O. An, J. Yoo, and Y. H. Kwon. Effects of Sports Injury Prevention Training on the Biomechanical Risk Factors of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury in High School Female Basketball Players. Am J Sports Med. September 1, 2009 37:1728-1734.

[5] Admirers of the female rear, you may give me tokens of gratitude for this wisdom in the form of chocolate, flowers, books, or very good vodka.

Sewing Wardrobes

I got a nice compliment this morning.  Someone mentioned how beautifully my clothes always match, and asked how in the world I can keep finding skirts, tops and jackets that match so well.

I mentioned that it was by specific design, as I sew my own clothes and make sure everything matches everything else.  I did not admit how difficult I find this when shopping for store bought clothing.  I’m sure there are people who can put together a proper wardrobe where everything matches from buying stuff in a store.  All I can say is that I’m just not that talented.

Speaking of talent, as is often the case, I got the “Oh, you’re so talented” routine.  Though she didn’t add, and I was grateful she didn’t, the “and I couldn’t do that” addendum I often get.

While of course I like it, it’s funny to me when people act impressed, as the pattern  I use for my clothes is actually a Simplicity Easy to Sew pattern.  Yes, I’ve made a few alternations1, but I wouldn’t hesitate to use this pattern to teach someone to sew.  It’s beginner stuff, and really about as complex as I would want to handle on a regular basis when sewing my own wardrobe.

I’m looking for some patterns for some long-sleeved tops I can add to the mix. Yes, I can draft my own patterns, but it’s a PITA to design something if I don’t have something specific in mind.  Sometimes I do want to take something that someone else has done, and just add one or two embellishments.  At that point, a store-bought pattern is easier.

1lengthened the pants, added waist darts to the top and re-drafted the armscye so that it doesn’t gap so much from being graded up instead of properly resized for fat lady