Friday, July 28, 2006

the month of fun commences

Last night was going to be fun fun fun. I was going to explore a used bookstore, pick up a New Yorker, then head to a nice Italian joint for drinks and a date with Hubby.

Things didn't work out exactly as planned. The bookstore was closed for a private event. As I headed to the B&N to get my New Yorker, I noticed lots and lots of lightning. Scary lightning. A relative of Hubby's just had a lightning-struck tree crash into their roof (everyone is fine; the roof was not and their three cars were totaled), so I was a little freaked to be walking around in a potential storm... with no umbrella. I did manage to get my New Yorker, and headed to the restaurant where Hubby and I were supposed to meet up. It was packed. Crazy crowded. What gives? The last time I was there it was quiet, and I had a great conversation with the bartender. When was I there last? Oh. December 21, 2005. Ring any bells? Lunchtime on the first day of the transit strike. That would explain the quietness. The music and the be-seen crowd drove me away.

I couldn't get Hubby on the phone, which caused ever-increasing levels of panic on my part. Of course, everything worked out fine. I gave a group of Spanish tourists directions. ("We were told to go to Greenwich Village. Where is it?" We were at the corner of 4th and Broadway; there's no charm there, for sure. I sent them on their way.)

So. Hubby and I meet up, I explain that we weren't going to Otto that night. It's sort of raining, we're standing on the street trying to figure out where to go. My mind is a complete blank. Hubby's palm pilot (with Zagat) crashes. Time Out is too overwhelming. Hubby asks if I remember the name of the wine bar that he emailed me earlier in the day. Of course not! I'm thinking that I just want to get in the car and go home. But. I'm hungry! I take a chance and say that I want a slice of pizza and we head east.

A block and a half later, we come across the wine bar Hubby had emailed about. It's quiet, has little tables protected from the rain, and has space for two slightly weary people who need food. Frankly, it's all we need. A bottle of bubbly rose makes things much better. The appetizer is amazing. A night that was full of promise, then crashed and burned, was redeemed.

It was pretty wonderful, because Hubby and I don't excel at being spontaneous. But it worked! An excellent start to the Month of Fun.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

countdown to FUN

Tomorrow night is my last class, and the countdown to a month of fun and socializing has already begun. Plans are being made all over the place, and at this rate, I'll be exhausted to start school after Labor Day. But I say: Bring. It. On. I need fun! I deserve fun.

Today, the baby avalanche continued. An absolutely beautiful picture of my now 6-month old friend (who received the mitered square blanket) started out the morning. It was so cute that I could do nothing but plotz for about an hour. After I started thinking that I really should get cracking on some work (since it was waaaay past time to do so), another picture arrived of a friend's new niece. Very cute as well, and caused more ohhing and ahhing. Finally, work commenced, and at the end of the day, Former Co-Worker that I saw on Monday emailed pictures of his new addition to the family... and then I basically gave up. What do you do in the face of so much hope and promise in a new generation?

I went to yoga, for the first time since September, I believe. (I will be crawling to work tomorrow.) It's pretty much the same crew from when I would go three times a week, and they were so welcoming. Lots of gentle inquiries about how things were going, etc. and made me realize that I really really really need to make it a priority to go.

To file under "Let's Go Yankees!": this morning I saw a guy with a t-shirt that said, "Maybe there wasn't a Curse after all," on the front. I made sure to take a quick glance after I passed him. The back said, "I guess they just sucked for 85 years." Me likey.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

i don't do surprises

There was nothing surprising in An Inconvenient Truth, but everyone should go see it anyway. I had to scold a teenager (sitting next to a related adult, for pete's sake) for playing with the velcro on his sandal for about five minutes. It was REALLY loud. There were lots of irritated turns-of-the-head being made around us, so I felt empowered to tell the kid to Knock It Off. I think that's exactly what I said, too.

(I'm no fun to be around. Goodness.)

But because I don't do surprises very well, I'm really happy that Slate has introduced a new podcast, the Spoiler Special. I rarely get around to seeing movies (clearly, I just saw AIT this weekend) and just want to know the essential bits. Now I don't have to see the Pirates movie! Yippee!

Countdown to summer vacation: 46 hours and I'm done.

Monday, July 24, 2006

another monday, another baby

Walking to work today, I ran into a former co-worker who left the office about a year ago. He's doing an MBA at night, and as of last Thursday, added Dad to his list of responsibilities. It was a boy, and I forgot to ask the name, because Dad followed up the "Yes, everyone's doing fine," answer with:

"And Mom is taking the Bar exam tomorrow and Wednesday."

I was so flummoxed by that that I forgot to ask the name of the little guy. Is this the 21st century equivalent of having a baby at the side of the field and then grabbing the reins to continue plowing? Yikes.

So, I need some knitting inspiration. I'm almost done with Southern Baby's blanket, and the blankie for Urban September Baby is near completion as well. (Can't discuss yet; Mom's a reader, and pregnant women love surprises, I hear.) So what do I do for this new little one? I have a pretty large stash of Cotton-Ease, if that helps. Any suggestions welcomed!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

oy oy oy

What a day. While normally school meetings after work fill me with dread, I was too strung-out to really care. But two good things happened at the meeting. First, I discovered that the stats tutor on whom I've relied so much recently went to my college. (She's much younger than me. Another Oy.) Second, my group and I got to watch a little mouse run around an adjacent conference room floor.

Clearly, someone needs a vacation when the highlight of a day involves watching a rodent run around the Puck Building.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

friday afternoon shopping spree

Seriously, this yarn buying thing has to stop. I don't knit. There's no time. I did a preliminary pull of books to take on vacation, and there are tons of contenders. I should read! But instead, I buy yarn. But there was a "moving" sale at Suss Designs, and it was right next to school, where I had to go anyway...

So, to start: since everyone is having babies, I got two wee little skeins of the lurveliest Lorna's Laces. They will make great booties. It's 70% alpaca, and 30% merino... I think. They are in the other room and the air conditioner is in here. I will stay here.

Who doesn't need some Lamb's Pride bulky, especially at 50% off? Excellent to have around, for felting projects, or since the colors I found point to it, Christmas stockings? That might be a lot of fun to make. Of course, I have some of the Valley Yarns line for a felted bag, and Lamb's Pride in blues and purples, too. As soon as it cools down I'll consider felting. The prospect of holding wool is scary.

Ah, mohair! What in the world am I going to do with that? I'm not certain myself. The red was so vibrant and just marvy. I adore the combo of light blue and brown, so I grabbed these two as well. Can one do a brioche stitch with mohair? No clue, but I like the idea of having something reversable. I just need to get a brown coat.

Finally, since it was so hot out, and cotton is the fiber of choice for the moment, I got some of Suss' cotton. Again, no specific project in mind, but I think I might have enough for a tank for me, or a dress for a little girl. It can percolate in the stash until the right project comes along. The listed gauge is 3.5 stitches per inch, which seems odd. It might be a touch obscene, actually, to wear a garment at that gague. I'll have to play around with it at some point.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

my fast food nation

Another Saturday, another trip to the farmer's market. I was really pleased to see these words of wisdom on my carton of eggs. Like the strawberries that are red all the way through (strawberry season is over, by the way... no more until next June!) these eggs have the yellowist yolks; so pretty and so yummy. And they only come in one size: egg size. There's none of this extra-large or jumbo malarky that you come across in the grocery store. Come November I'll have to go back to buying eggs from the supermarket, and it will be a sad day indeed.

Friday, July 14, 2006

blankie update

My cute little picot blankie continues apace... I'm very happy with how it is turning out. I'll be able to make a couple of more squares this weekend. I'm thinking that I'll toss what I've got into a hot wash at the end of the weekend and see how much they shrink in the hot water. Already a third of the way done!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

auntie em!

Yikes! Who knew that I lived in a tornado alley? Hubby confirmed that there were lots of uprooted trees in the Hawthorne area yesterday. And I thought that the driving rain in the city was bad!

The big scary test is over; my last class is two weeks away. I CAN'T WAIT! Knitting is taking place only occasionally. My new sock is still waiting for its heel, because I'm trying to get a blankie for my new little friend finished. It's cotton, which always makes my hands hurt, and generally slows me down. There will be significant progress this weekend, though!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

this week in knitting

A stats exam on Tuesday is cutting into my knitting time, but over the past week I've gotten some knitting time in. A new Koigu sock is half and inch short of needing a heel turned. I think that I'm going to try just using yarnovers and not purling through the back loops for this pair... unless it looks icky. I'm not totally happy with how the heels are currently turning out. Also on the needles is a start of a blanket for a new baby. We got the yarn during our stay in the city.

What is the deal with the Sassy Skein from the Key West Karibbean Kotton Kollection? (Usings the Ks in the names is so annoying. Roger Clemens named his children with names that don't normally start with Ks to signify strikeouts. In this instance, I have no idea why they did such a thing.) As far as I can tell, it's just Takhi Cotton Classic rewound into balls of greatly varying weight. I got 10 balls, and the weights range from 58 grams to 42 grams (thanks, kitchen scale!). It's fine for this project, but I should mention it to the yarn shop owner? It seems so strange. But if I bought just enough yarn for a project and got balls with almost 20% less per skein, that would be a problem. Of course, a bunch of them have more than 50 grams...

One other strange thing: the names of the yarns. The orange one is called Mango, and the yellow is Papaya. If I recall my fruits correctly those should be reversed. What's up this yarn?

Friday, July 07, 2006

a weekend in the city

It's not quite next weekend, right? I can still share these pictures?

We did lots of City things over the looong 4th of July weekend. We ate lots of great food, and discovered a fantastic new bakery called Tisserie. Thankfully it isn't in the most convenient location, because excellent and affordable little treats = very bad for healthy eating. We

took a walking tour of the Brooklyn Bridge and walked across the span. Since we were in Brooklyn, we headed to Coney Island

and admired the Cyclone. Hubby says, "That's a really tame roller coaster. Are you sure you don't want to go?" I respond, "Um, hell NO!"

The Boardwalk was nice, and I always love watching the ocean. The scent of fried dough/funnel cake in the air was really appealing too.

We saw them getting ready for the Hot Dog Eating Contest the next day. Takeru Kobayashi won again, and broke his world record by eating 53 and three-quarters hot dogs in 12 minutes. Impressive, and certainly worthy of ESPN coverage.

We had some of the best pizza in the world at Totonno's, where the seating queue is maintained by the customers on the sidewalk. The waitresses would just open the door and ask who was next in line. It reminded me of Restaurant Joel Roubechon in Paris, where there were no reservations and you waited outside (in a line; Coney Island is more free-form). There were no handles on the door in Paris, so you had to wait to be let in. I found it very amusing that women were in line behind us with handbags that cost more than our car. But back to Coney Island...

We caught a Brooklyn Cyclones game in their cute little ballpark. The oldest player on the team was born in 1982. Most were born in the late 80s. I found that somewhat distressing.

After the game there were fireworks over the water, and were much more pleasant than being crammed on the FDR Drive with millions of others on the 4th.

However, the next night we were treated to a nearly private fireworks show by a guy across the street from us. He had loads of fireworks that he was setting off in the street. The police came after a while, didn't confiscate his stash, and as soon as they turned the corner, the guy started up his show again. I'm glad the celebrating time is over.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

happy birthday

Today is my grandfather's birthday. He passed away last November, two days before Thanksgiving. Papa finished the 8th grade, and then left school to go to work. He lied about his age so he could enlist in the Navy, because it was a good job opportunity. He could fix anything, and made beautiful wooden toys in his retirement. He worked for the county highway department for 30 years or so, and every Christmas morning he would make the other snowplow drivers get going earlier than normal so they could get the roads plowed and I wouldn't have to wait so long to open presents.

While we were at the American Folk Art Museum this past weekend, I came across a quilt made by Dorothy Yaffe Frank in Syracuse, NY. The card next to the piece said (in part), "In her last years, Frank was a victim of Alzheimer's disease, but when she was shown the textile that holds details of her life in shimmering threads, she experienced a rare moment of recognition saying, 'I made it... I think it is beautiful.'"

Papa's battle with Alzheimer's was swift and brutal. Before we really knew what was happening, moments of lucidity were gone. I didn't see him in the months before he died; hearing the stories was difficult enough for me to handle. I want to remember and celebrate the hours he spent letting me comb his brush cut (I was easily amused as a child), pushing me in the swing he made in the basement, his pipe, and the last time I saw him, having him tell me that I shouldn't drink coffee while driving (it was too distracting) and certainly shouldn't take those highways. Country roads were much better.

I have so much that I want to say about him, and how he was always so proud of me, but what sums it up is simple: I miss him.