Saturday, May 30, 2015

I won!


Last night, I binged on snack food. This morning, I got out of bed, started but stopped fooling around on the internet, and ran 5 km in about 37 minutes. When I got home, the Pumpkin Princess was still asleep (the Pumpkin Prince stayed at the Pumpkin Granny's last night).

So I win, right? Or I lost one game but won another and the match?

Breakfast, some cleaning/ organizing, a Costco run and a library run are in the works.

Also, I am not quite sure how it happened, but I will have 30+ people at my house for lunch next weekend (the Costco run is to snag plates and cutlery for this event, in addition to the usual Evian, coffee, tomato sauce and maple syrup). I hope the neighbors don't call the police on me.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

It kind of happened that way

Tama tama sou narimashita.

I've run 5 k two Sundays in a row. (No, I didn't say I ran a 5 k race, I said I ran 5 k for the health benefits and to be able to say I did it.) Another thing I did two Sundays in a row was walk.  This Sunday, we went to a big park about an hour away, and walked through the many beautiful gardens featured there. Last Sunday, the Pumpkin Prince and Princess's school district had a fair. They said there was no parking space so we walked. And the Sunday before that, I didn't run, but we took a day trip to a theme park. So Sunday is my running/ walking day. I didn't plan it, but it just kind of worked out that day.

In other news, I now own a minivan. I didn't NEED it yet, but it seemed like a practical choice for the next car after the Pumpkin Prius. It just kind of worked out that way. Which is fine, but it's just that a minivan seems so…suburban mom. Which, come to think of it, is exactly what I am.

I keep telling myself that minivans are sexy. They are the only cars that prove beyond any reasonable doubt that you have…oh, never mind.

Sunday, May 17, 2015



A neighbor wanted me to come play amateur league volleyball with her on weekend evenings. I told her no. I told her I am awful at sports that involve coordinating my moves to a ball (this is true) and that I was a couch potato that never exercised (also true, although I was doing Jillian Michaels at the time).

Today, there was a fair of sorts at a local school (not Pumpkin Elemenary, but a different school about a mile away. The Pumpkin Prince and Princess wanted to go. I got up later than I planned this morning, but I figured I could still get a 5k run in before the kids woke up for breakfast, so I mustered up the discipline to get myself out of bed. The Pumpkin Daddy was on the committee running the whole show, so we left the house at about the same time.

At the end of my run, a car passed me…and the volleyball neighbor was in the passenger seat. I guess they were heading to the school to prepare for the fair. She bowed, I bowed in return.

Busted! Think she'll come after me with a renewed invitation for volleyball?

Friday, May 8, 2015

Altering jeans

Jeans no onaoshi

I ran 5km twice during Golden Week, and once again today. It gets easier every time. I'm impressed that my body can evolve and adapt, even at this age.

The other thing I wanted to do during Golden Week was alter my new, cheap jeans. I figure, the expensive ones are not going to fit, the cheap ones are not going to fit either, so it makes sense to go with the cheaper one. Then, you can beat the system by customizing them to fit you. Because it's not your fault the clothes don't fit you in the fitting room.

So here we have a pair of low end jeans, washed once.


For these jeans to fit, they need to be 5 cm narrower at the waist. 5 cm=2.5 cm on each side.

I blogged about taking in the waist of dress trousers about this time last year. The basic premise is the same: you remover the belt loop, rip out part of the waistband, slim the waist, shorten the waistband, and sew everything back together. However, there is one big difference. You can't slim jeans using the back center seam like you can with dress trousers, because of the double row of stitching there. Actually, you probably could, but most people would probably regret it. The double stitching is usually done on a specialized double stitching machine. The two rows are stitched at once. Amateur tailors don't have that kind of hardware or skill.

I decided to sew darts instead. Initially, I was going to do one 1.25 cm dart on each side, but I decided that was going to be too big. I opted for 2 darts on each side.

So here's the plan:

1. Rip out belt loop
2. Rip waistband from yoke panel, about 15 cm to each side of center seam
3. Sew 2 darts on each side
4. Shorten waistband
5. Sew everything back together again
6. Admire my bottom in the mirror :P


(No, I don't have an image for step 6. Did you want one??)


I ripped out the topstitching on the waistband. Of course, I pressed everything before any sewing.

One interesting thing I noticed was that the stitching on the waistband was normal machine stitching and not chain stitching.  Go check your nice jeans. Probably nearly all the stitches are chain stitched, that is, the stitches look like normal stitches on the outside, but on the other side, they look like a chain. My cheap jeans had chain stitching on the side seams and the crotch seams but not the waistband. Maybe this was one way they cut costs. Chain stitch machines are more expensive and more difficult to operate.


This is the sew line for shortening the waistband 5 cm. After stitching along this line, I cut open the loop, trimmed the seam, pressed it open and removed the interfacing, just like the dress trousers.

Oh, I almost forgot. Please remember to change your sewing machine needle to a denim weight needle. (Do not ask me how I know this. It has nothing to do with ruining a whole package of sewing machine needles the last time I altered jeans. Nope, not at all.)


Can you see the two darts? I stitched the darts and the waistband shortening seam with navy blue thread, and the topstitching was done in thread for denim I had lying around the house. The new topstitching doesn't match the old topstitching, but it'll do for now.


And there you have it! The stitching is slightly crooked, and the color doesn't exactly match the original stitches, but I think it looks better than when it didn't fit. Maybe someday I'll get around to finding thread that matches better and re-doing the stitching.


Monday, May 4, 2015

The fastest in history

Kako saisoku

OK, this is the 3rd of 5 days in a row that we have off. So far, I've altered the jeans (I'd post pictures, but I'm wearing them now and you'd get pictures of my rear), planted annuals in flower pots and the flower bed and basil and rosemary in the garden, planted cilantro seeds in empty yogurt containers, and this morning I ran 5km. 

The last one was interesting. Up until now, I'd only encountered runners who were much much faster than me, and older walkers who were slower than me (but not by much). This morning, there was a woman about my age, size and shape running ahead of me. Make no mistake about it, she was faster, but not terribly so. I felt that if I put in some more miles, I could probably be about that fast. So I tried to  see if I could keep her within my sight, which had me running a little faster than I'd been running before. She and I went different directions after about 10 minutes, but I tried to see if I could keep the same pace. I could't, but it was still much faster than I'd ever run my 5 km course. 

I am really surprised and pleased at what I did, but my body hates me right now, especially my right knee. I keep telling my body that it'll thank me later, but I don't think it understands...