Tonight, Charlie and I attended our very first Team-in-Training event, where we both took a big step and signed up to run the San Diego Rock-N-Roll Marathon on May 31.
The meeting was at 6 PM and because this was a rather last minute event for us and we don't have many sitters available that we can call on in a pinch, we opted to bring all of the children with us. For 45 minutes, we talked to a lot of people.
We signed a lot of forms.
We paid the $50.00 registration fee.
And we committed to raising $3,500.00 over the next 16 weeks.
(That doesn't include the $4,100.00 that I told my cousin, Margaret, we'd help her raise for participating in the same event.)
And moments before we left, we realized that Charlie, who had been distracted by children when he was completing his paperwork, inadvertently signed up to run a back-to-back marathon in Washington and Alaska. (Oops.) (That would have been another $5,500.00.) (Good catch by the dude with the long ponytail.)
Honestly, I'm in a bit of disbelief that I'm doing this, because just last weekend, a mere nine days ago, I told someone that I would never, ever be interested in running a marathon.
Never, ever. Infact, no where on my list of 100 things I want to accomplish before I leave this life, do I have "Run A Marathon!"
I mean, why?
Why would I carve precious hours out of my busy day to train for something like a marathon?
Why would I intentionally put myself through such a grueling event?
Why would I spend the better part of a day outside running when I could be doing something like ... oh, I don't know ... not running for the better part of a day?
I guess what it comes down to for us, is that we really want to do something to lift the spirits of our friend, Deana. We want her to know that with each step we take, we're thinking of her. And, we're going to do our best to raise awareness and funds for the research that will eventually lead to the cure of a disease that effects so many people.
With each step I take, I'll also be thinking of my 14-year old cousin, Raymond, who lost his battle with Leukemia more than 30 years ago. And my cousin, Andrea, who lost her battle with ovarian cancer more than 10 years ago. And my mother-in-law who lost her battle to an inoperable brain tumor. And my Aunt Carolyn and dear friend, Julie, both of whom lost their battles to breast cancer. And my sister and my Uncle - who like Deana - are currently battling various forms of cancer and determined to win.
So, me and Charlie, we're in.
Of course there are the logistical issues of what we'll do with the kids when we both have to meet with our team for the Saturday morning training sessions. And currently, we're planning to bring them with us - loaded up with cups of Cheerios - and securely strapped in to our BOB jogging strollers. I figure it will be good resistance training to push 70 pounds worth of children while we stagger along. Or, if we get really tired, we'll just sit in the strollers and have them push us. Because I know that they'd love to do that.
Let's see ... what else to discuss... oh yes.
Have you mastered the art of casting?
Great! Because here's the next step in knitting.
The number of stitches that you cast on to a needle will dictate the width of the item you are making. The needle gauge and bulk of the yarn I typically use for baby blankets, will yield looser and yet "fuller" creations, so I don't need to cast on as many stitches as I would if I were using smaller needles and a less bulky yarn.
For the baby blanket that I am knitting for Kim, I have cast on 100 stitches. This blanket, when finished, will be approximately 40-inches wide. When I have knit scarfs, I generally cast on 15 stitches, because anything more than that, will result in something that resembles a shawl.
(Which is totally cool if you want a shawl. But not so cool if you are trying to make a scarf. For a man. Who is your boss. That rides a Harley. In my defense, I was just learning. That scarf was one of my first creations and I wasn't sure what I was doing, so I made it almost two-feet wide and seven-feet long. He had to wrap it around his neck three times so it wouldn't drag on the ground.)
Shown on the needle below is a scarf that I started a few years ago and have yet to finish. Note, there are 15 stitches, or loops, on the needle. This scarf is approximately 7-inches wide.
For demonstration purposes only, I cast 15 stitches on to a needle with the same bulk yarn I am using for Kim's baby blanket. Count 'em. Fifteen stitches.
If you are just starting out, I highly recommend that you start small. Fifteen stitches are a great number to begin practicing with until you master the knitting technique and line tension. Fifteen stitches are how many I have shown, below. (I think I already said that.)
Now once the stitches are cast on to the needle, you will take your right needle and stick it in to the bottom of the first stitch, on the left needle.
(In case you were wondering: I don't bite my nails. But whenever I get caught in deep thought, I pick at them.)
Here's a different angle of the same needle position.
(From the look of my poor nails, I clearly have a lot of deep thoughts.)
In your right hand, you will take yarn from your ball o' yarn, up and over the right needle.
(I've been picking at my nails for as long as I can remember. At least since I stopped sucking my left thumb at 14 years of age.)
Using the index finger of your left hand, you will push the tip of your right needle beneath your left needle, while making sure that the yarn that is on top of your right needle, stays on the needle, while it comes up and over the left needle.
(I was put in braces when I was 11 years old. And when I was 13, I fell asleep in the Orthodontist's chair while waiting for my braces to be inspected. When I was gently awoken by my Orthodontist, my thumb had found it's way to my mouth and he said, "Oh - so now I understand why it is taking so long for your teeth to straighten!")
Then, using your left thumb, you will gently push the stitch off the left needle and on to the right needle. Now, you have one stitch on your right needle, and fourteen (14) remaining on your left.
(It's really no mystery why I was in braces for five years.)
Now, you will place your right needle in to the base of the second stitch on the left needle.
(These days my teeth are great. But my brittle and soft nails need work. With the exception of an occasional manicure or buff, I've all but given up on them.)
And pushing the right needle beneath the left needle, you will wrap your yarn up and over the right needle, again.
(For a very short while in my life, I had acrylic tips. Or silk tips. Or who knows what. But they drove me nuts. They made typing extremely difficult and they were terribly uncomfortable.)
Then, using your index finger on your left hand, you will push the tip of your right needle beneath your left needle, while making sure that the yarn that is on top of your right needle, stays on the needle, while it comes up and over the left needle.
(Although my fingernails are soft and peel easily, my toenails are quite strong and generally contribute to an overall pretty foot that I am proud to stand upon.)
Then, using your left thumb, you will gently push the stitch off the left needle and on to the right needle. Now, you have two stitches on your right needle, and thirteen (13) remaining on your left.
(Although, a few years ago when I was wearing sandals, I was stunned when a friend of mine pointed out that my toes were very hairy.)
You will continue to repeat this process of transferring stitches from one needle to the next, until all 15 stitches from your left needle are moved to your right needle. And then, you will flip your needle over so that your right needle is your left needle (full of stitches) and your right needle is devoid of any stitches. Keeping the tail from your yarn to the right, you will begin the process, again > moving all of your stitches to the right needle.
("HAIRY TOES?! Doesn't everyone have hairy toes?!" I exclaimed.)
Needle goes in.
(My friend slipped off her shoes and revealed perfectly hairless toes. When I asked her how it was that she had hairless feet when I had beastly feet, she told me that she shaved them.)
Yarn comes up and around.
(I'd never heard of someone shaving their feet before.)
Right needle gets pulled under left needle.
(But this was just one more of those well guarded secrets from the vault of beauty hood I'd never been privy to.)
Third stitch is gently pushed with thumb from left needle on to right. Now there are three stitches on the right and twelve on the left.
(I suppose shaving your feet is better than waxing your feet.)
Here is a video depiction.
Now I really need to know if this is clear to anyone.
(And how do you combat hairy feet when it's sandal season?)