Thursday, December 22, 2005

Christmas time!

Here's a nice shot of Grand Central from my walk last night -- it was a bit cold, but due to the strike there really wasn't an option besides paying for an over-priced cab. The gridlock looked pretty bad, so I felt a little glad I was on foot instead of stuck in traffic.

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

Happy/Merry Everything to Everyone!

Washington Square Park looked lovely as I walked home from SnB last night, so I took a few pictures to share. They came out a bit blurry b/c it was night, but you get the idea.

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


I really never thought they'd do it, but the TWU announced a transit strike around 3am this morning. At least it's not raining or snowing, but I feel badly for all the now-pedestrian commuters because it is COLD outside! Especially for those walking across the bridges...check out the photos on the BBC, where I got these pics. Those people on the right look like they are hugging each other through a tragedy (come on, it's not that bad), and I hope that guy on the tracks doesn't jump, but at least there's nothing to come along and squash him if he does.

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

Happy Birthday Dave & Mikey!

This past Friday was Dave's 32nd birthday, and we celebrated by going to see Wicked earlier in the week, a truly great musical. Dave is now addicted to the soundtrack, only he's modified it with his own words and goes around singing about how he is "So Popular" and has a "Wicked Wife"...on his actual birthday, we went to dinner at I Coppi (GREAT chickpea soup, I have to get the recipe) and to see Brokeback Mountain -- good film. I love Annie Proulx's writing, and the movie really felt like a world she had created. Plus, I don't think it is possible to go wrong with a movie starring both Heath and Jake (nice step up from Day after Tomorrow)...all they have to do is stand there and look pretty.

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

Signs of Christmas

Everyone should get one of these -- a watch cat! Don't even think about opening these gifts before Christmas...

Do you know who this is?

Here's a clue -- her dad built this bagpiping snowman..

Monday, December 12, 2005

Holiday Party

Saturday night we hosted a holiday festival, which turned out to be big fun (like we expected anything less???) A lot of people I hadn't seen in a while came, and even though there was a high turnout, the apartment didn't seem overly crowded. We actually had a sort of psuedo-hall party, as our friend and neighbor Cathryn across the way was also having a bash that night, so her place absorbed a lot of the overflow (and dished out some great food and beverage, too) I didn't take many pics, but here's one of me with my friends Yumi and Jill, and another of Claudine and Jill (different Jill!) Even my parents and our friends from home, Tom & Dianne, came to celebrate, and despite their intentions to leave on an early train after shopping all day, 3 bottles of wine and some hot spiced cider easily convinced them to stay past their bedtimes. I heard they all woke up in time to head to Foxwoods at 8am the next day -- gives me hope that the best years in life are still to come, if they can party like that and rally for more in the morning... (and by the way, three of the hotties in these pics -- Jill, Jill and Claudine -- are single if you're interested...)

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

Snow Day!

A view from our window this morning. Snow in NYC! Yay!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

"Why Lennon?"

I remember seeing this graffiti inscribed in one spot on the floodwall of the Naugatuck Riverbank in Ansonia when I was younger. Though I was too young to understand what the words really meant and how they affected so many people, I remember asking my mom about it. She told me that someone had killed one of the Beatles and that the author of the graffiti didn't know why. It's simple enough for a 6-year-old to grasp but so true.

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

Snowy alpacas!

After 2 weeks in Asia, we went straight to CT upon landing at LGA, to pick up Mango and Kingston and to see Sam. Oh, and my parents and brother and sis-in-law, too. Sam is adorable, but I was too tired to even take pictures, so you're just going to have to trust me when I say she gets cuter every time we see her. Jet lag hit me hard last night -- I fell asleep on Mike & Kerry's couch, then on my parents' couch, then again for about 9 hours in bed.

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" 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.