Sunday, May 28, 2006

what i did on my weekend

Write ten pages of a midterm, five pages each on decentralization and knowledge gaps in rule of law practice.

Went to a new Indian restaurant, ordered with bravado ("Sure, spicy is fine!"), then paid the price. I'm very northern European; thus weak to the spicy, even though I fancy myself the gourmet.

Knit half a sock out of one of my new skeins. I'm using size 0 needles and 64 stitches to get it nice and tight. When it's the first humid weekend of the year and about 80 degrees, what's better than knitting wool socks?

Even scurried outside and took a picture of the sock next to the big lovely hostas in the front of our building.

Friday, May 26, 2006

i bought more yarn

When stressed, buying yarn is better than eating, right? Except that I do both.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Yes, it's been a tough week. So links it shall have to be.

I wish that I had written this to the admissions office folks, and just substituted at the end, "But yet I don't have a Masters' degree."

Frank totally stole Hubby and my idea! Except we were interested in barbeque joints. Hubby wants an RV for the trip, but after reading this I think that a convertible might be more appropriate (gets rid of that smoky aroma).

Appropriate for any office: demotivational posters.

And some slight knitting content. It actually made the front cover of Metro.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

my day wasn't as bad as hers

Today was pretty stinky. Rough stuff going on at work (how can some people not understand that when I say that something needs to happen immediately, that means that it can't wait until June 15th?), followed by stats class, then a train ride home during which I have to read about decentralization in all of its gory details (actually, sometimes pretty gory, which you might not expect).

Mid-afternoon I ran an errand that involved walking for about 30 minutes. That did a world of good. When I returned, I didn't feel the need to snap at people. Also, a co-worker brought over a big box of chocolates, which was a present from a woman in Russia whom I've never met, but email with frequently. The woman is very annoying, and evidently knows that about herself (self-awareness is grand), and is trying to buy me off with chocolate. Smart woman; it might even work! Stats turned out to be not terrible. The train ride home started out with a young woman sitting across the aisle from me, trying to memorize something, and she just kept repeating lines over and over and over again. Only person talking on that end of the train, mind you. I exchanged sympathic glances with a woman I recognized, as she was also trying to read (not decentralization papers). Finally the kid stopped, and the train inched closer home.

Three stops away. The day might finally end! My train acquaintance gets up to leave. Doors open, and then the guy sitting at the window says, "Oh my god - a woman just took a horrible spill." The conductor races off the train, then races back on to call for an ambulance. I take out my earplugs and ask what happened. Window Guy reports that the woman tripped getting off the train, stumbled and couldn't get her balance, and then fell face-first into the very hard metal railings on the platform.

Thankfully, the woman's husband was there to pick her up, and Window Guy turns out to be a doctor (it's handy living in the posh suburbs sometimes; if you need I-banking, medical, or legal help, there's always someone on board) and gets off to see if he can help.

Next, the ass sitting across the aisle says, "Great, now we'll be sitting here for half an hour."

Listen, jerk: a woman just had a serious accident. Get over yourself. You were asleep, and if the incident didn't happen at our end of the train, you wouldn't even know what was going on. Putz.

So the conductor is out on the platform, and asking if it's OK if the train leaves (as Central Dispatch was telling the conductor to do), and if she'd like any of the train staff to stay with her. She says no, that she doesn't want to hold everyone up. Doctor Window Guy stays with her, even though he's going to a station another 10 miles up the line. Sometimes there are decent people.

So, my day didn't end up being that terrible. I will probably see the woman who fell on Thursday; the conductor said that "she's going to have a huge shiner tomorrow." I hope she's ok. I'm going to celebrate the end of a not so grand day by continuing the Totally Impractical Scarf and waiting for Hubby to get home.

Monday, May 22, 2006

celebrity sighting at starbucks

This morning I saw a man that I've had my eye on since I was seven. That summer, my sitter Kelly introduced me to the world of the soap opera. Her show was Guiding Light. I think that her show was GL because it was on CBS, one of the three channels that we got up there in yonder mountains. I was, frankly, enthralled. Wowsers, that show had it all.

Now, it's been years since I've watched a soap opera. Also, in the NYC metro area, GL is broadcast at 9am (I think), which is waaaay too early for soap-viewing. David Rakoff wrote a very entertaining bit about working as an extra on soaps, in which he mentioned that soap actors are the most beautifulist people ever.

Well, after this morning I can confirm that Josh (Robert Newman) is really lovely to look at. (Also, soap actors seem to give really strange interviews to people on the internet. You can read all about actor's pets and why they love animals at some sites.)

But how many times can you see a person and realize that he or she looks exactly like you remember them from 22 years ago? That's freaky.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

big needle break

I need a bit of a respite from the teeny tiny sock needles. I'm a bulky needle kind of gal; generally tense, and therefore happy to have a needle in hand that probaby won't snap if I get particularly worked up by some gum-chewer on the train.

So what else should a girl work on for the beginning of June in New York? Why, a big wool scarf, of course. This is my souvenier skein from last year's Spring Break trip to New Orleans. I just wanted a little something, and this super-soft Malabrigo seemed like just the ticket. I hadn't heard of it at that point, and it was so much like the Morehouse Merino three-ply that I was taken in.

The colors are kinda crazy. It was really beautiful wrapped up in the skein, but I'll admit that I was kinda scared when I untwisted it this morning. I still think that it will look lurvely in one of the cabled scarves from One Skein. Haven't picked which one to use yet, but I'm leaning towards the Single or Triple.

The colors seemed to calm down again once I wound it up into a ball (phew). It'll be nice to have some #8s in my hands again!

Time to get to work. Any ideas on how creating sound institutions will effect governance and development? Me neither. I'm doing a midterm after one class meeting. Oy.

Friday, May 19, 2006

the second annual lavender gin

Last year, on the cusp of spring and summer, Sunday Styles had a piece on lavender in drinks. Being that I love lavender a whole lot, I was intrigued. One of my favorite desserts comes from Claudia Fleming's book, The Last Course. It's a lemon lavender pound cake, and so fragerent that it knocks your socks off (but in a really subtle wonderful way). The article mentioned that Gramercy Tavern had a lavender cocktail on their special summer drink menu. I took to Google looking for ways to combine another favorite thing with an existing favorite thing.

A lavender farm suggested a simple solution: take a couple of tablespoons of lavender, put in a bottle of gin, and let it steep in the freezer for about a week. Rotate it every once in a while, then enjoy in your favorite gin drink. Happy day! I immediately hit the cupboard, found a bottle of less-appealing gin, and dumped in a bunch of lavender. Into the freezer; wait, shake, wait, shake... then mix.

The results are simply marvelous. This afternoon, to celebrate the rain and the drizzle and the cool temperatures, I made this summer's bottle of lavender gin. I'll agree; it's the perfect gin. Bring on summer!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

a good news evening

Ching-Ming Wang had another good night, and the Yankees won.

BJ and Tyler won The Amazing Race 9.

I got to knit on Hubby's sock a lot, and the foot is starting to look long.

No school work was attempted.

The Frances Tannahill Pinot was super-tasty, and a real treat since there were only 65 cases of it made.

All in all, a most excellent evening. I needed it, after dealing with the dolts on the train ride home.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

reality check

First off: cocktail? Check. Yankees? Check. OK, we’re good to go.

Second: wake me when it’s July 27th. Stats II is going to be fairly unbearable.

Thirdly: I engaged in a little bit of inadvertent retail therapy today. Thing is, my laptop needs a home away from home. I know, I know that I talked about making a super-cool felted case… and I even had the yarn for it. But I just don’t have the time to make it. And the laptop is going to be doing a lot of traveling in the next month. I will admit that I had a couple of concerns about the port-holes and the residual fuzziness from the felting. What if they got clogged with lint?

So, while out buying a notebook for class tonight, I happened by a display of laptop cases. They were pretty affordable, and just so darn cute. So I got the purple. When I got back to the office, I had to show it off to my co-workers. Here’s an approximation of our conversation.

Me: Hey, look at my cute new laptop case!

Co-Worker 1: I want a laptop.

Me: Um…

Co-Worker 1: But this is great; the logo is fantastic. Where is it made? Spain?

[Co-Worker 2 wanders over.]

Co-Worker 2: Hey, that’s nice! You know, it’s the same purple as N…

Co-Worker 1: DON’T! [Co-Worker 1 has the look on his face that a parent gets when a childless aunt mentions to her nephew that chicken fingers are made out of the cute chickens we were all just playing with in the petting zoo.]

Co-Worker 2: …YU.

Me: Um… But I like purple; I wasn’t thinking about my school colors. Will everyone think that I got it to match? Oh God. I think I have to go exchange it.

So, I didn’t end up going to exchange it. It fits the computer really well, and I do like purple a whole lot. Who cares what people think? Me likey!

UPDATE: How much does Jorge Posado rock? More than can be contained on this little post.

Monday, May 15, 2006

so long, old pal

Last night, The West Wing ended its seven-year run on NBC. For four years, it was the best show on television. Then, in a very public way, Aaron Sorkin "left" the program and it essentially fell apart. The marvelous, snappy dialogue disappeared, as did the intriguing plot. It's limped along for three years, under the helm of John Wells. It was time to go.

The finale lived up to the expectations of the previous three seasons. The excitement of watching a peaceful transition of power was reduced to staff standing around watching the ceremonies and festivities on MSNBC.

I'll miss these characters a great deal. While I'm excited and ready for Sorkin's new show this fall, I'm concerned that I'll fall for them too, and then when the Troubles start I'll have to watch their slow death (again). Of course I'll watch. I'm excited to read reports from the up-fronts today, because the critics will probably get to watch the pilot! And I won't for months! But what are the suits at NBC thinking? Why is tonight different from all other nights?

Easy answer? They are insane: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Thanks, Mr. Einstein. You always have the answers.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

what a heel

I've found the secret to successful short-row heels.

1. Good light.
2. Total quiet.
3. One full hour without interruption.

That's what I had this morning, and managed to get through a short-row heel without having to rip back and start over a couple of times. I even woke up early to get started on it (it's going to be a busy day). Maybe short-rows aren't so bad after all. I think that I like the fit and feel of them better than the flap heels, but that might be due to the fact that commercial socks are built with short-rows and so we are more accustomed to them.

Only nine inches to go, and I get to do it all over again!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

oh, happy day!

I finished my Retro Rib socks, at long last! I think that they look pretty great, if I do say so myself.

Hubby helped to take the pictures, and I realized how hard it is to photograph this yarn. It seems almost sparkly in the daylight, but they aren't so bold as socks go. They seem to be very anti-sag, which is great. However, it's unlikely that I'll make another pair, because the knitting through the back loop thing was just too much.

I'm off to do a short-row heel on a pair for Hubby. Since we are going to Germany this summer, I'm trying to knit through as much of my sock yarn stash as possible. I want to make sure that there is plenty of room for new stuff that I find!

Friday, May 12, 2006

flowers, flowers everywhere

Some shots from last weekend to combat the downpour, then sun, then heavy fog and mist of today. But the Yankees won!

Thursday, May 11, 2006


After a not-so-successful Tuesday evening, Wednesday night was much better. I did laundry! I knit and didn't have to re-knit mistakes! The Yankees won! Great game, Moose.

(Does anyone remember the playoff game from a few years ago where Mussina came in as a relief pitcher for that good-for-nothing Clemens? Mussina was fabulous, and was so freaky intense that it was scary. It was his first ever relief appearance, and he shut down (I think) whomever they were playing. So good, the Moose.)

I think that the sock should be done before the end of the week. I've got less than 10 pattern repeats on the foot left to do, and then the toe! And that's it! That will leave the weekend for mustering up the courage to graft the toes. See, I'm left-handed, and all instructions for grafting are written for right-handed needle-ing. I'm really quite clumsy with the right hand, and so the process is extra complicated for me. What I really need is to make some swatches and just practice with a nice big yarn... but that's probably not going to happen.

The sock is going to be nice and stable on the ankle, which I like, but I am not a big fan of knitting through the back loop. It really slows me down, and just feels awkward. Given that most of this sock has TBLs and I'm still not accustomed to it, I don't think that it's gonna happen. Jaywalkers, next! (I know that I've said that before.)

The drink of the night was recommended by a friend, for whom I have the greatest respect as a Wine Guy. His contributions to meals are always spot-on, he knows the good dim sum places in Chinatown, and is helping us set up appointments at wineries for the summer trip to Germany. But the Ward 8 was not so exciting. Basically, it's a whiskey sour with a little bit more pink (some orange juice and grenadine). I think that I'll have to go with the Sud-Ouest this evening to restore my balance.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

spring cleaning

I am particularly troubled by this. Just make the food and drink, OK? Enough with the infused foam and deconstructed salads. I'm paying for YOU to make my meal, yo, and not for me to do the work.

Yesterday afternoon I had a grand plan. I was going to do the whole heel flap on the second Retro Rib sock during the commute home. I started it on the way into work, and so should be able to get it done lickety-split. Then, during the Yankees-Red Sox game, I would do the short-row heel on Hubby's new sock. The productivity was going to be fierce. Upon reaching my seat on the train for the trip home, I noticed that I'd done the morning piece of the heel flap on 32 stitches instead of 30. Trying to control the sobbing, I ripped it back... and then took a nap. So last night's progress was only finishing one heel. And watching the Yankees get slapped around by the Sox. It wasn't a good night. Henceforth, I wasn't up to taking pictures, but will try tonight.

After Hubby got home, I made mini sidecars with Cognac (instead of plain brandy). That helped to end the evening on a more positive note.

It's also Spring Cleaning time, and I'm finally getting rid of some yarn that I would probably never ever use. I don't think that I included this as part of my stash during Flash Your Stash day, because I was so ashamed by it! I accumulated most of it from my early knitting days, when I thought that yarn was hard to come by, so buying huge skeins of Red Heart seemed like a great idea. It's time to go. The Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services happily agreed to take it off my hands (and I confessed that a bunch of it was acrylic), so I'm hoping that I can drop it off this week. They are conveniently located near my office! Even better.

Monday, May 08, 2006

boy in the bubble

Some co-workers and I just took a little field trip to see the boy in the bubble, none other than David Blaine. After a week of being underwater he looked a little water-logged. The big culmination event is tonight, and I think that I'm going to be busy... But he was still waving to people, and posing for pictures, so I'll guess that he will be able to get out of the chains this evening. And then take a shower. Ha ha!

I really hope that Lincoln Center is making an obscene amount of money from ABC for hosting this crazy event.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

five down, three to go

The end of another semester, and only three more to go before I'm announced as a Master of Public Administration. Ha! I pretty much finished my final on Saturday, but needed Hubby to read it over before submitting the paper. But I sent it in, and we celebrated the end of semester five with a lurvly rose Cava and nibbles. It was fruity, and quite sweet. And there is some left over for a treat tomorrow, too!

Yesterday the mailman brought another cleaning-house present from Claire; a massive collection of knitting needles from Claire's mom's knitting days. Joltin' Joe is assessing the goods, and thinking that the Barry Bonds needles at the bottom weren't really worth the fuss. Damn things/people hopped up on steriods...

One question: did you send this in a box printed with "Opium" because of all the work I've been doing on Afghanistan? They do have other exports besides drugs, just so everyone knows. There's the... um... you know... ah... dried mulberries? Soaps? Yeah, something like that.

I have had dried mulberries from Afghanistan, and they were pretty interesting. We had some people come to talk about the projects they were doing in Kabul, and they brought a paper sack full of them. They found it pretty amusing that they flew the entire way from Afghanistan and were never asked what the hell those dried berry things actually were.

Friday, May 05, 2006

week in review

Last Saturday, we had the pleasure of spending the afternoon in Brooklyn. We hit the Cherry Blossom Festival at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and were completely overwhelmed by the sheer number of people in attendance. There were so many people that we didn’t even see any of the events to make this a “special event.” There were some people wandering around kimonos, so I guess that was “special” enough. See Baby #1 of 2006 made the visit worthwhile. We then wandered around the Slope and bought weird imported beers from a place called Bier Kraft. So far we are really pleased with them. The Mermaid Inn was a tasty choice for dinner, before hitting [Title of Show] at the Vineyard.

Sunday was dull and devoted writing papers and school reading.

Happily, Monday brought along the final day of classes. I said goodbye to a guy that I worked with on a project in my very first semester. He’s off to work in Southeast Asia for a year, so, good to know you, Joe. Will I ever see you again?

Tuesday brought the spectacle of David Blaine in a tank for the next week. Very crazy, and just a few blocks from my office, but I haven’t gone to visit yet. There are plans for my department to take a little field trip on Monday, so I must remember to bring the camera to work.

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday passed with work then writing in the evenings. I am a very slow writer. I think that I’d speed up if I took apart the wireless Internet in the apartment, and might do that in the morning. I am weak; if there is Internet available, I will waste time instead of doing my work.

Much like I’m doing now. Next entry, pictures of the bits of knitting I’ve done, but not before my final assignment is submitted.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I was really, really happy to see the first ads for the new season of Entourage appear this week. I wasn't an early watcher, but Hubby put it on the Replay from the beginning and was a fan from the start. I wasn't ready to buy in; it seemed too much like Sex and the City for guys, with Manolo talk removed to make way for new cellphone talk. I think the first episode I saw was the one with the party at the Playboy mansion. I claimed that I knew why it was so popular with guys after that. But I kept watching (gotta keep an eye on what Hubby is viewing), and started to like the show. At the end of last season I was sad to think that I wouldn't get to see the boys for months.

I'm still not sure why I like it so much, but I'm happy that June is right around the corner.

One paper is done; the other is due on Monday. With all the required writing of late, I haven't had the motivation to write for this here thingy. Ana Marie Cox (has anyone read her Time column?) said in a radio interview that bloggers should post every single day. I find that pretty exhausting. And it cuts down on the knitting and drinking time, though I'm sure Ana doesn't think that writing and drinking are mutually exclusive. But I'll try to keep the cocktails away from the paper on microfinance and poverty reduction in Afghanistan.