So long Janathon. Hello again Runner’s World.

Well, just when I’ve begun living with my decision to not renew my Runners World subscription, I stumbled on this offer to renew for $5.99 per year.  So what the heck, that’s pretty darn cheap.  I signed up for another two years.  This $5.99 offer is apparently good until midnight EST tonight, January 31, 2014.  To get the deal, click here, and then at checkout, enter the discount code “MAVIS“.  I don’t get anything out of this; I’m just passing along the discount for anyone interested.   Discount and link are courtesy of a very cool blog called  And a big thank you (or make that curse you), to the blog owner Mavis, for the discount.

I’ll miss Janathon.  It’s been a lot of fun this year, and I did pretty well until my 6-day travel odyssey.  Today and the next few days I’ll be wearing screw shoes and maybe even Neos again.  So Janathon may be over, but winter is still here.

Katniss cowl is complete

With 14+ days to spare, the Hunger Games-inspired cowl I was knitting for a Valentine’s gift for my Little Sis is complete.


The project was quick and fun.  The pattern was well-written and easy to follow.  However, I’m glad I tapered the body/wrap portion, because I think it more closely resembles the original from the movie.

Katniss cowl

To taper it, I cast on 40 stitches instead of the 85 prescribed in the pattern.  Then, I increased one stitch with every row.  I used the 3rd stitch in each row for the increase stitch.   By the end, I had 87 total stitches, which worked out great for the shape and size.  As an added bonus, that bit of tapering eliminated one entire skein of yarn from the project.  I have an unused skein to return to the store for exchange or refund.

I think I will order one of these Mockingjay pins to go with the gift.

Mockingjay pin-w


On the topic of running, with Janathon rapidly coming to a close, I’m trying to decide what kind of training program to begin.  I’m looking at a 3-runs-per-week program again, that I never really got off the ground last time.  I think it is the best option for my training level and working lifestyle.

Sneezing, shivering, head hurts when I cough.

After spending six consecutive days in enclosed classrooms, airplanes, crowded museums, restaurants and a trolley, wouldn’t you know, I’ve started feeling head cold symptoms.  What bothers me most is that I did not run for those six days.  I’ve long believed that my consistent running staves off the bad germs.  I rarely get colds and other illnesses.  I did do a 1.2 mile run tonight, bundled up more than the weather required.  I’ll try to do that each day to see if I can hold off the worst of the symptoms.

Meanwhile, I started this knitting project–a Katniss cowl for my teenage Little Sis for Valentine’s Day.

Katniss Cowl-600x286

She loves the Hunger Games books and movies.  I’ve followed the pattern exactly, except that I’m tapering the body segment to make it more fitted under the arm.  So far, the project has been easy and fun.  Finding the yarn color and the Size 35 circular needles for the cowl part wasn’t so easy.  The free-download pattern has been popular this year for Lion Brand, which may have led to shortages in that yarn color.  I found one skein of the Thick and Quick Grey Marble in town, but had to mail order the rest, along with the big needles.  Thankfully, Hancock’s was having a sale on the yarn, and had all of the skeins I needed.  *grin*

Katniss cowl-w

Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream

By Neil Young.  Here is one of his songs to play while reading on if you choose.

I’ve never known very much about Neil, and have always had the idea that not many other people do either, and that he’s wanted it that way.  So now he’s written this memoir; clearly his own words, and on his own terms; not according to any formula.  If you want a straight chronological story, this book may drive you crazy.  I didn’t mind it a bit.  He used a stream-of-consciousness writing style, where he mostly compartmentalized stories into short chapters, but jumped from then to now and back, and to future goals, with the change of a short chapter or sometimes only a paragraph break.

He wrote about his goals for his Pure Tone/Pono listening technology.  I’m dying to experience it.  My years of running with ear buds has given me some tinnitus that may impact the experience, but I still want to hear the sound he is describing.

He wrote about his cars and his love for cars.  I remember when his Lincvolt was a project being constructed near my home, which was very cool.  But sadly, he doesn’t have positive things to say about that part of the project.

He had a nice way of writing about his family.  Whether I was reading something positive or heartbreaking about his family, his way of telling it made me not afraid to read on.

He wrote a lot about his bands Crazy Horse, Buffalo Springfield, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, and his earliest days as a musician.  He wrote about bandmates, managers and producers.  He described writing several of his most well-known songs, and sometimes provided back stories to them.  He wrote about living and creating music in Laurel Canyon.  He included a photo of the Laurel Canyon cabin he lived in when he wrote “Expecting to Fly.”  That is the song of his that touches me the most.

My biggest and maybe my only beef…is with the book’s front cover photo.  But first, about the back cover photo:  It is real, and wonderful, and by Linda McCartney.  His eyes, expression and features are captivating.  When I think of Neil Young, that is the way I’ve always seen him in my mind.  Then there is the cover photo; taken recently, head looking down, and partially shielded with a hat; no eyes showing at all, let alone eye contact, and then there is a prop; a card tucked into the hat band, that says, “Hippie Dream.”  A little too contrived for me.  No, make that way too contrived.  Unless I missed the point, or the back story, which is certainly possible.

The book is almost 500 pages long.  I enjoyed it from start to finish.Waging Heavy Peace

Thanks very much to my runner friend and fellow CSNY fan, Gary, for passing the book along to me.  I’m passing it on to my twentysomething-musician-nephew, who didn’t realize Neil was the ‘Young’ in CSNY.  He’s very much looking forward to the read.

And the incredibly beautiful “Expecting to Fly.”


 Janathon Update


Yesterday’s run was short and meant to cover the Janathon requirement but not damage my tender ankle.   I went out after dark, wearing my reflector vest.  There was a bitter cold wind, and it was snowing those mean little dry flakes that don’t accumulate but swirl around in the streets and parking lots.  Windchill was 5F/-15C.  Ankle did okay, but was a little stiff and tender.  I think it will be mostly back to normal in another day or so.

Difficult Decision

It has taken me a long to time to reach this decision, but I’ve decided not to renew my Runner’s World subscription this time around.  [*sob*]  It’s not that they placed a renewal order with themselves in my name, months before my paid subscription expires.  But as I’ve pondered whether to renew this time around, I’ve gotten too many notices like this, via mail and email, that make me feel like a deadbeat when I’ve done nothing wrong.

RW notice

I’ll miss the “yay” moment of seeing the magazine in my mailbox every month or so, and then reading it cover-to-cover; the good articles and the mundane and repeated stuff, and yes, even the ads.  But I’ve been contemplating for some time, whether or not to renew, because I guess I’m looking for content geared more toward my running interests, and it seems that RW has been trying to go a different way lately.  Or maybe it’s me; I don’t know.  So now that I’ve made this decision, I’ll start my search in earnest for my RW replacement.  I know it’s out there somewhere.  But in the meantime, I feel like I’m severing an old friendship where the cold realities of business crept in and caused us to forget all of the good things we once had in common.   And it hurts.


Don’t be fooled by the cover.  It is a compelling story, with substance and depth.  It is an authentic description of life in London in the Swinging 60s, as two sisters grow up and leave home, at first setting out on dramatically different paths.  The story is set primarily near Notting Hill, Sloane Square, and King’s Road, among other iconic London locations.  Parts of the story also take place in Paris, Nice and St. Tropez.  The story spans the time frame from the 1920s to the 60s, with flashbacks to World War II.  I’m convinced that the cover was so wrong for the book that it suppressed sales.

The author is also the founder of Biba fashion boutique.  She published an autobiography in 1983, titled, “From A to Biba: The Autobiography of Barbara Hulanicki.”  I’m going to have to read that one, too.  It comes in Kindle format.

Disgrace book cover--fronta

Disgrace book cover--backa

“Disgrace,” by Barbara Hulanicki, published 1990.

I stumbled onto the book from a review at this website, and I’m glad I did.

Grocery hike

Today before it got too hot out, I walked to the grocery store and back,

using the trolley I bought in Amsterdam,


wearing my other new pair of Xeros barefoot sandals,


and listening to a library book on my Kindle.


The entire trip took 90 minutes, and was as enjoyable as an errand can be.


I’ve run under this cool trestle a gazillion times, but tonight was the first time a train was passing overhead.  It was a bit unsettling to run under a bridge with a train moving by just a few feet above.  The trestle floor is not solid; you can look up from underneath and see the underside of the cars passing overhead.


I also love the railroad bridge that crosses the river. 


It has a nostalgic feel. 


The artwork on the train cars is captivating.


Another perfect Juneathon evening, when I can run at almost 9pm and it is light out. 


Another 2 miles in the fitness log book.

I’m reading The Appeal, by John Grisham.  It’s a good one.

Infinite Snow

We are deep into Part II of the Blizzard of Oz of 2013.


So, what did I do on my latest Neos-wearing run-walk in the snow-slush?  I took pictures of snow forts and snow men I saw along the way.

SAM_2567a  SAM_2568b SAM_2569a SAM_2570a SAM_2571a SAM_2572a  SAM_2588a SAM_2611a SAM_2612a

The snow has also caused me to make more headway with Infinite Jest.  The book becomes more captivating the farther into it I read.  The various POVs used by the writer are fascinating.  Today’s reading was on how Marlon Brando’s slouches were meticulously calculated and practiced to appear totally casual in a disarming sort of way.  This was all explained by a father to a son, as to why his mother, a bit-part actress, was wrong to become entranced by Brando’s charm.