Thursday, December 22, 2005
Becca, Ryan and Eoin came into Manhattan today and walked all the way to my place from Grand Central to see me. Well, I think Eoin more rode than walked...but what a cute kid!
I finally finished Dave's hat! I made and re-made this thing about 10 times. It's alpaca (what else?) and matches the scarf I made him in May. It's the right size and he likes it, oh praise be to the Lord! I'll get a pic up later, when he models it. And I promise some pics of the Christmas presents I made/am making, once they get given.
I was getting together the yarn I would "need" for our trip to CT and MI for the holidays, when Kingston decided to take a nap on it. He's not ferocious at all, this is mid-yawn -- I thought it was a cute lucky shot. I'm so glad we're driving and not flying out to MI -- last year was a nightmare, and I would seriously have to cut down on the amount of yarn I'm bringing with me, which means making decisions and I just don't feel like doing any more of that today.
Happy Holidays to everyone!
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
And look! Claudine made an awesome seat cover for her step-dad -- she really is a yarn superstar! I actually felt kind of knit-smart last night, as some people asked for help and I was able to give it. And for my next project I'll be doing a provisional cast-on, and I'm not scared!
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Sitting on my butt in the warmth of my home office, the strike hasn't personally affected me yet, but Dave had to walk to work this morning and will walk home, too, unless something changes soon. I don't know if I fully support the striking transit workers, but I'm certainly not 100% against them. The MTA made a stupid move by announcing a huge budget surplus and giving refunds to riders just before the workers contracts were up. I can't see why they would do that -- have 2 fare raises, shout out about all this extra money, and then try to cut benefits to workers. It seems like the MTA is trying to alienate its riders and employees. However, I also know how much this is hurting the city and its residents, especially those less fortunate who can't afford to miss work and can't afford a $10 or more cab ride each way. I think binding mediation may have been a better solution than a strike, but both sides have to agree to that. And by the way, Bloomburg is PISSED!
On the people front, it seems like NY-ers are really pulling it together. The streets down here are not crowded at all, and cars seem to be full of riders instead of the usual 1 person per car that seems to be in the norm in NYC. I know a lot of people are car-pooling and picking up strangers. This is the third time since we've lived here that we've seen the subway system shut down, and I've always been impressed by how much people here help and reach out to each other in these times. I just wish it would happen more often when we aren't faced with hard times.
Monday, December 19, 2005
On Friday, we followed up Dave's little celebration with a semi-surprise birthday party for my little bro, Michael, who turned 30 (yikes! That really means I'm old...) Kerry took Mikey out to dinner, and in the meanwhile a bunch of friends and family came over to their house. Mikey says he knew about it, and he kept asking Kerry, "Are you sure you're not having a party for me? Anyway, it was a lot of fun, and I'm looking forward to seeing my family again next weekend for Christmas. And don't worry, that's non-alcoholic champagne that Sam is trying to grab from my mom...
I spent yesterday baking my brains out (NO, not what you're thinking). I made a whole bunch of cookies for Christmas, and just have a few more to make tonight. I finished a few Christmas presents, too, but can't post their pics until I give them as gifts. And, I got some mighty nice hand-spun wool from make workshop at the Bust Magazine Holiday Craftacular, where I also got to meet Debbie Stoller, Stitch 'n' Bitch author, and thank her for starting the SnB group, because I have made so many friends there and met so many great people (yes, Claudine, this includes you, my Central Park Knitting sub-group member!)
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Monday, December 12, 2005
In knitting news, I'm working on some Alpaca Christmas presents. I am so far behind. And I keep on getting shipments from Knitpicks of stuff I ordered a while ago when I was feeling more optimistic and ambitious about things and I can't remember what this stuff is all for! And there's still more that hasn't shipped yet! Hopefully I will get to complete the gifts before too much of the new year has passed...I really need to learn how to knit faster.
Last but not least, here's a pic of my guru's special friend, modelling an intricately designed hat she made and gave him for Christmas. What a lucky guy!
Friday, December 09, 2005
Thursday, December 08, 2005
I think today, 25 years after Lennon's murder, I just wanted to mention what a tremendous impact on music the Beatles had, and in turn, what a snowballing effect their music had on the world. Listening to their songs calls up strong emotions, and I can't imagine how many people have acted "under the influence" of "Here Comes the Sun," "Hey Jude," or even..."Why Don't We Do It in the Road"...!!!
In college, I randomly won a collection of all the Beatles CD's in a bookstore raffle I didn't even remember entering. And Red & I used to have a really cool Beatles poster on our wall in college, all psychedelic-like with big flowers and the band in pink ruffly suits. I wonder where that is, now? No matter, Dave would probably only let me put it up in the closet with my Sting posters...
Anyway, here's to remembering a great man, a great band and some great tunes.
Monday, December 05, 2005
One strange thing is that is it COLD here -- what the heck? It was so warm in HKG, and we didn't even have jackets with us. And when we woke up this morning it was SNOWING and the roads were icy! But when mom showed me an ad in her local paper that said, "Meet the Alpacas"...you can imagine that I couldn't say no, icy roads or not. I roped both parents and Dave into joining me in a visit to Southwind Farms in Watertown. I was talking to farm-owner Penny about her yarn while her husband Jim led my family out to see the alpacas. Soon I followed their snowy footsteps, in through the gate to the barn, and was shocked and delighted to find that my family was surrounded by snow-dusted alpacas, petting them and everything! All the other farms I'd been to had kept the alpacas separated from their human visitors by fences, but these animals were so friendly and so so so soft to touch. There were many babies, too. Jim was great at telling us all about the animals -- we found out that the average cost of buying one is $50K, and that recently someone (not Jim & Penny) sold an alpaca for $610K! But you can get a much cheaper animal if it has a genetic defect that is not considered desirable by breeders -- in case you want an alpaca just for a pet. What a good idea! Dave's absolutely agreeable...some day we'll be back to buy a blue-eyed beauty or two, and we'll love them and all their "defects".
Anyway, of course I bought some yarn -- my mom & dad picked some out for their Christmas presents, and I got some for myself (how could I not?) And I got to touch a baby alpaca! By the way, it turns out that "baby alpaca" yarn is not necessarily from the first shearing of an alpaca -- it just means that the micron content in the fleece is less than 20, and some adults have that, too. The lower the micron in the fleece, the softer it is.
We're back home in NYC now, and Mango and Kingston are happy to be back too. I'm looking forward to going to SnB on Tuesday, and to seeing some other friends this week as well.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
While I was working, Dave has been exploring HKG. Here's a pic of the big bronze Buddha on Lantau Island, where he went today. He also went to Ocean Park to see the 2 pandas there. I'm not a big fan of zoos, so I wasn't too disappointed to miss this. But don't worry, I did manage to have some fun too...for instance I went for a hot stone massage yesterday and tomorrow we will get foot massages before dinner with my friend. I promise I'm doing some work, though!
Sunday, November 27, 2005
Even though it's been drizzling on and off since we arrived yesterday, our moods were so relaxed in this little town that the weather didn't matter. We started this morning walking through the Central Market, where all the women wanted to touch my arms and my white skin, tell me I had a beautiful face, and then try to sell me silk post cards, cinnamon cups or tiger balm. I tried to find some local yarn to bring home, and a nice lady took me into the back of a shop and showed me a bunch of acrylic stuff that I didn't really like. She said that's all they had in the town. So I passed, but at least I tried.
The big thing to do here is get clothing custom-made -- and Dave and I got really caught up in the tailor craze at Yayla. Especially Dave...it started with a jacket and a shirt...then some pants...more shirts...another pair of pants to match the jacket...a skirt...almost (but not quite) $300 later and we need another suitcase. I couldn't believe how perfect Dave's jacket fit him when we went back to pick it up, so buoyed by his success, we had to buy more, and that's how we ran up such a bill. Plus, everyone of course wants you to buy more -- at one point I was surrounded by at least 5 women -- one measuring me, one writing down the numbers, 2 trying to find the exact skirt style I wanted in their big pile of JC Penny/Cosmo combo catalogues, and one alternately trying to give me a massage and demonstrate eyebrow threading on my leg. Our favorite shop was Yaly, where Sophie and Vicki gave us a lot of help and many, many suggestions for more things to buy...
Beyond the bustle of the tailor trade, this town is so peaceful and relaxing, with hardly any cars on the road, only motorbikes and bicycles. Most of the townspeople are involved with fishing in one way or another. We saw a baby buffalo along the river -- very cool!
There are also penty of laid back bars and restaurants with fantastic and cheap food line the river and the streets. Tonight it was kind of surreal to be sitting in one with Beatles music playing. It's weird to think about the war taking place here, only 30 years ago.
We spent a 1/2 day touring My Son, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is basically a complex of temples that were heavily bombed by the US during the Vietnam War. These once rivaled the Angkor Complex, but the VC used it as a staging ground and in return, so it was a big target. We were the first ones there to wake up the gods that morning, and the legend says that this is very lucky. Also, we missed most of the tourists, who arrived in busloads just as we were leaving. We got to ride in a US Army jeep from 1968 from the entrance to the complex, which was pretty cool.
A big contributor to our love of this place is the hotel we are staying at, Hoi An Life Resort. It is definitely fancy, but so well-integrated into the environment that it doesn't feel removed from the town or country like a lot of upscale hotels in SE Asia do. I think it is my favorite hotel ever. Maybe I'm a little biased because we got a free welcome 1 hour hand and sole massage.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
They grow the cutest kids in the world (besides Sam) here. Besides being incredibly beautiful, this is an extremley poor country with an unfortunate recent past, a point driven further home by our tour guide in the war museum, who had been shot so many times and stepped on more land mines than I can remember -- he literally let us feel the shrapnel in his arm, he was missing a leg, blind in an eye -- his wife, father, mother, sister, brother, etc. were killed during the Khmer Rouge reign...and yet he was so gracious to show us around the weapons that had inflicted these tragedies on him and his loved ones. I can't even imagine...this year alone, in the Siem Reap region, 29 people were injured or killed by mines. It's just crazy.
But I don't mean to be overly depressing, because there are so many beautiful things about this country, including its people. All the children must study a language in school, and many of them choose English -- so Dave and I were privileged to spend a bit of time climbing after some creative and imaginative mini tour guides slightly off the main path near the temples, as they gave us their own version of history. And it was delightful to share some chewing gum with these little kids at Angkor Wat.
Right now we're in Hoi An, Vietnam, in an incredibly cute town which we are looking foward to seeing in the daylight. Sorry for my lack of clarity and lucidity in reflection, but the Tiger Beer is embarrassingly cheap. More later...
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Tomorrow we leave for Siem Reap, Cambodia, and then after a few days onto Hoi An, Vietnam, before returning to Hong Kong again for some business. Dave, luckily, has 2 straight weeks off!
Before we left we had to of course visit Sam & her family, after we dropped off the kitties at my parents' place. Tell me this isn't the cutest baby you've ever seen!
I'll try to post on our adventures, but maybe not until next week.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Monday, November 14, 2005
On Saturday my freshly-married friends Cherisse & Steve had us over to their place in da Bronx for dinner and a raucous game of Beyond Balderdash with Jen and Joel. And the Irish defeated Navy for the 42nd straight time. I fear the winning streak is going to end when we least expect it, like next year...
Thursday, November 10, 2005
The Greta poncho is really growing, and I love working with the yarn. I was secretly pleased at SnB on Tuesday when some random customer at The Point wanted to know where she could get my yarn. I think it's lovely, too!
I finally got my labels from Heirloom Labels, aren't they cute? I can't wait to apply them to my handmade goods.
In other big news, I had a little Soap and Knit party on Monday night to watch the debut of our SnB friend Nicole Forester as Cassie on Guiding Light. It was pretty cool to see someone we knew on the soaps! And we also found out that the fabulous Heather got a book contract to write a knitting book. I'm so proud of her, because she is awesome!
And that's all for now, folks!
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Despite the fact that our flights got messed up and we ended up renting a car in Pittsburgh and driving home, arriving at 5AM, it was a grand old time. And don't worry, KNIT HAPPENED, but that update will come later as I'm running late for a meeting now. I will leave you with a cute pic of my guru wearing the Wavy Scarf birthday present. That's me with her and Renee, a guru of another sort -- she recently had an article and recipes published in Cooking Light, and I'm so proud of her!