Wednesday, December 05, 2007

A title as creative as the post itself

To help get myself back in the habit* of blog writing, I'm going to fall back on my old reliable post format: The bullet-point list of how I spent my weekend. And without pictures! Try to contain your excitement.

  • With some assistance from E, I changed my bike's rear tire inner tube! It had been flat for about 2 weeks. Initially, I wasn't that anxious to change the tube because as the weather has gotten colder here, the bus has become more comfy. However, any non-bike commuting method I tried took me about 3 times as long to get to work (and sometimes longer to get home). Unacceptable! While I enjoyed getting to listen to NPR so much, I did not enjoy starting dinner at 7pm. Now all I need to do to make my bike safer is replace the brake pads, replace the broken rack, and apparently replace the seat pole that is currently set about 2 inches higher than it's max height line. This is what I get for buying a bike that's too small for me.
  • I went on a mission to a local yarn store in Alexandria to see if I could find some elusive yarn for a secret project. The woman there was pretty helpful and steered me in the right direction. I've knit about 25% of that project since Sat. night. And because of 1 person who reads this, I can't share any more details.
  • Had a lovely meal with a couple friends at Red Rocks Pizza - The Victory Golden Monkey beer and the mushroom pizza were such a treat.
  • I actually dusted furniture. I never do that. But we got up fairly early on Sunday and the cold, gray weather was just conducive to cleaning (and lots of cups of coffee of course). And after weeks of it bothering me, I also finally gave in to the desire to wash down all of the shelves in the fridge. I bet you're now regretting how lame your weekend was compared to mine.
  • Online gift shopping: I had trouble getting into the holiday spirit this year. So I was even less inclined to battle store crowds and subject myself to suburban strip-mall hopping. Plus, since we were supposed to fly to RI, ordering things online and getting them shipped north seemed like the best option once again. I took care of about 5-6 gifts that way over the weekend. And of course, about 2 days later, we decided to cancel our flights and drive instead. Is that irony? Probably not.

* Let's pretend that I actually ever WAS in the habit of regular posting.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Monkeys are Loud

But they are very comfy.
I finished them last night after the extremely satisfying Sox game :)
I wanted to finish them DURING the game, but halfway through grafting the toe, the people for whom we were babysitting came home and you know it's impossible to graft and be sociable. So I calmly noted where I left off, packed them into my bag, watched the last 2 innings at their house, and drove home. Erich fell asleep immediately (probably had something to do with the fact that it was almost 1 am and he had to get up at 4:30. But I was convinced I wouldn't be able to fall asleep until the toe was closed.

15 minutes later, sock #2 was done! I got up to go change the project's status in Ravelry (yes, I'm that bad) but a little voice inside me said that would be cheating since I hadn't woven in the ends yet. I was torn for a moment about whether to stay up even later to weave in the ends (thereby allowing me to declare it finished in Ravelry) or just go to bed. It was a quick moment. I got back down to business and was able to sleep soundly knowing I had a brand new pair of handknit socks to wear to work the next day.

So clearly, the answer to that question from earlier this summer is yes, I am keeping them. I still maintain that this colorway is way too loud for the monkey pattern. But I will not dwell on that anymore and will just enjoy the fact that I made them and the yarn is sproingy between my feet and my danskos.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Ingrid Michaelson tonight!

Last call for joining me tonight at the 9:30 club.
It's an early show and she's opening for Matt Nathanson who I don't know.
So I'm only planning on going at 5:30, watching Ingrid's set, then heading to stitch 'n bitch. I can't think of a better way to fill up my evening!

p.s. Both hubby and I are in love with her; she's totally on our respective "lists". I'm crossing my fingers that I get lucky tonight! ;)

Code Blue

Please bear with me as I fight with blogger over the customization of the blog. I spent way too many hours last night futzing with the html, only to end up overhauling the whole thing at the very end by upgrading to their new (and improved?) interface. This was probably a bad idea however since I think the new system uses xml and I only know how to work with html. So the fact that I have this nice saved word document with all the lovely html code I worked on doesn't help me too much - the new system won't accept all that as proper code.

The good news is that the new system does let you customize many things very easily. So at the end of the night I was able to sort of duplicate the look I was going for using blogger's new features. Now my only big task is to figure out how to get the header to fill the whole box at the top. The way its cut off right now on the right and left really bothers me. I've tried adjusting a bunch of the code in the new template page - haven't found the trigger yet.

Having said all that, I think I'm actually in the mood for a more dramatic change that would involve *gasp* NOT having a light blue background.

Monday, October 15, 2007

A scarf update

Thanks for all the input!!! I was so attached to clapotis that I couldn't judge the matter objectively.

After the overwhelming support for feather & fan, I ended up ripping out both swatches, cast on 2 needles sizes bigger so the lace would show up better with this yarn, and started in on a new & improved feather & fan scarf. I had only done about 3 rows when I saw the brilliant suggestion by Jenna to purl the odd rows.

As much I love reversibility, I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that most lace does. not. want. to. be. reversible. End of story. By knitting every row, I had compromised the lace too much and it wasn't worth it just so it'd be a reversible scarf.
See? I'm not hopeless. Thanks Jenna! (and Seal, who I think was on the same wavelength)

Doesn't this version show off the yarn's colors and texture so much better!?

*Edit* So now I'm wondering if I want to knit the 4th row such that it looks like this.
It would help w/ the curling, but I don't know if its necessarily an improvement.
Oh, and because I have so much of this yarn, I'm thinking of making a beret/tam to go with the scarf so Gram could have a set. It wouldn't be a regular hat of course, cuz that would mess up her 'do.

Friday, October 12, 2007

the Clap vs. Feather & Fan

I've been swatching for a scarf for my Gram* and I can't decide between the traditional Feather & Fan pattern and a mini Clapotis.

The yarn is Duet by Brooks Farm (drool) which is a wool/mohair blend. These 2 pictures make the voting a bit unfair because the clapotis swatch doesn't have dropped stitches yet (which is honestly the whole point behind wanting to knit that pattern).

Here's how I see the competition:

pros: nice and traditional; something I'm sure my Gram will think is pretty; very easy & quick to knit
cons: I personally don't love how it looks; maybe I need to swatch w/ larger needles, but the yarn's complexity seems to obscure the lace.

pros: fun for me to knit; I've done it before and liked the results; seems to mesh well with the semi-solidness of the yarn.
cons: Not sure it's Gram's thing - too modern?; I've done it before (should branch out?); and I've heard at least one person say it looks a little boring compared to feather & fan.

How do you see it?


* and so begins the Christmas knitting

Thursday, October 04, 2007

New Love

I have been in love with Ingrid Michaelson for a few weeks now. BEFORE the Old Navy commercial debuted. But not much before.
I have the podcast Cast-On to thank for exposing me to her music.

And she's coming to DC in a couple weeks! Sadly, I have no one to go with so I might miss this chance to see her.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Update on last episode in the Things That Annoy Me series

I believe my last installment in this series was about coffee orders at the Miami Beach Dunkin Donuts. Well, I'm back on the Beach this week and while yesterday's hazelnut iced coffee was excellent, they got neither yesterday's nor today's order 100% correct. But they did seem to be doing better. Today's wasn't actually incorrect; I just had to repeat everything - once to place the order and then again as she was making the drink and kept confirming the wrong things.
"So that's cream and sugar right?"
"No, milk and sweet & low on the side"
"Right. OK."

I also learned today that they don't actually brew hazelnut coffee (at least not for their iced versions) the way their counterparts in the North do. This means that the drink is already super sweet even without the added sugar (thank god I asked for that sweet & low on the side), since the hazelnut flavor shot they use is essentially a sweetener. So this was a small bummer because usually the only reason I get excited to see a DD anywhere is because they brew hazelnut coffee which is NOT a common practice in DC.

Anyway, now you can move on with your day since I've provided this critical update. Carry on.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Ravelry scratches the itch

I'd like to say it was worth the wait, but that would be cheating since I didn't actually have to suffer through an actual wait: a generous friend of mine let me see Ravelry through her eyes before my invite came.

Those of you who think the site sounds lame or that you don't need another thing to join in your life...stop it. Just sign up and wait til the invite comes before you judge the awesomeness site. You really can't judge it by the screenshots they put on the homepage.

I'll give a more full review later. Calling it a myspace for knitters isn't entirely wrong, but misses the boat in terms of its full value. I often think of it as myspace and wikipedia smushed together where 'myspace' = any of the social networking sites out there.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

2 quick updates

Things have been busy so I only have time for 2 quick updates.

1. I finished Harry Potter last night. I liked the ending and was thoroughly surprised. So clearly, I did not fall victim to any spoilers out there in the last few weeks.

2. I'm #243 on the Ravelry invite list! That means that I'll probably get my invite the next time the Masters O'Ravelry send out a batch of invites - they usually do at least 500 at a time, though lately they've been doing around 1000 at once. yay!!!

If I were to come up with 1 thought that unites these 2 updates it would be that knitters who are fans of Ravenclaw should form a group on Ravelry. It would of course be called: Ravelclaw.

Monday, August 06, 2007

They should have their own town

Except their town wouldn't have a school because these kids are all home-schooled.

I guess I dropped the ball for a few months cuz last time I checked, the Duggar family had 15 children. Now they're on #17. And the mom's only 40!! My fascination with this family has not diminished.
CNN article

Thursday, August 02, 2007


Whoa, Natalie Imgruglia's "Torn" just came on my Pandora station. This weird wave of high school nostalgia just washed over me. Isn't it cool how music can do that to you?

3 pieces of random

  1. I have this really weird desire to see Becoming Jane as soon as it comes out. It's just because of that girly preview with the Dido song. It got me.
  2. I've never been a bath person, but the tub at our new place is slowly converting me. I rewarded myself for cleaning last night with an awesome bath: some candles, lamp brought in for reading, Three Bags Full (a sheep murder-mystery seems to mesh very well with bathtime), lavender bath salts, Dido in the background (there she is again)...
  3. I often stir my coffee at work with the end of a ballpoint pen. That's ok right?

Monday, July 23, 2007

730 Days

Any guesses what that means?

Here's a hint: I do.

I love you E!

* Pretend this was posted yesterday

Monday, July 16, 2007


I feel like life has lately become a blur of staying late at work and playing with dirt, seeds, and weeds.
Some highlights of the last couple weeks:

Fried Green Tomatoes

I accidentally snipped the wrong branch off one of my tomato plants, leaving me with 2 very large, green tomatoes. Not one to throw food away, I figured I should try my hand at fried green tomatoes. I never would have really considered it if it weren't for some recent inspiration. I read online that you can either use breadcrumbs or cornmeal. I chose the latter and used it as a topper on an english muffin with fresh mozzarella. It was awesome. Now I sort of get what all the fuss was about - I'm converted.

Zucchini update: the whole thing went to zucchini bread. 4 loaves to be exact.

Knitting - no knitting update because I am sneaky and like secrets. But here is some crafty eye candy just because.

A friend of ours had a going away party before she left for law school in Chicago. I etched these glasses to help her remember where we all live, so there's no excuse for not coming back to visit. Well, I might accept the excuse that law school is sucking her soul and she needs to use all free time for catching up on weeks of lost sleep.
While we're on the subject, I'd like to declare a moratorium on friends signing up for law school. It's a little passé. And its making me feel like I'm missing out on some awesome sale or something.

More food-from-the-garden update:

(Wow, this post is really poorly organized.)

So, on Friday I was excited to get to the garden cuz a little birdie told me that she had noticed one of my tomatoes getting red. Yay! First tomatoes of the season. And even better - my first homegrown tomatoes ever!

Unfortunately, my plot had some unwelcome guests before I could get to the garden. The first red tomatoes - all 4 of them - had to be thrown on the compost pile because they were all half-eaten. I assumed it was the work of rats but several neighbors told me that the birds start attacking the tomatoes as soon as they turn red. My favorite neighbor-gardener, Juan, recommended I pick all the orange tomatoes and let them ripen at home. This is very anticlimactic after putting so much work into the plants. I want to just pick the fully ripened fruit off the stem and be able to eat it on the spot! But it may be the only solution to beating the birds because I just can't get to the garden every day to pick them as soon as they turn red. By the end of the evening I got over my disappointment and even managed to scrounge up a mostly-red tomato which we sliced up for burgers that night. Delish!

And in case you like this kind of detail: the varieties that are ready for picking are the Old Time Tasty and the Better Boy. I'm still waiting on the Big Boy, Golden Boy, and Beefmaster. What's up with all these male-centric names?

The End.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Zucchini update

He weighed in at 4 lbs. 1.5 oz.
He's tall for his age: 15"!
I don't really have a basis for comparison on this measurement, but he's 12.5" around the thickest part.

We didn't cut him open yet though. Giving him a little more time to enjoy this world in one piece.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

My Zucchini Monster is Bigger than Yours

Behold what my sneaky garden plot was up to while I was busy packing up the old apartment and moving to the new one.

What an impressive beast. In the picture below, it's hiding most of my right thigh. But truthfully, the zucchini is actually closer to the size of my calf in thickness.

A little bird told me that there was a giant zucchini sitting in my plot and that the neighbor gardeners were buzzing about it. I saw it for myself last night when I went to water and after taking the necessary photos, I snipped it from its mama. My hunch was that because of its size and firmness, it wouldn't taste very good. Also I figured it was probably eating its siblings to death - meaning, the plant was ignoring the other budding (now shriveled) fruits by putting all of its energy into this one star child. Imagine if human families actually did that? haha.
So I cut it loose in the hopes that the rest of the plant would recover enough to give me some edible squash a little later.

Today at work I found this helpful article that only confirms my suspicions:

"Because summer squash develop very rapidly after pollination, they are often picked when they are too large and overmature. They should be harvested when small and tender for best quality. Slightly larger fruit may be salvaged by hollowing out and using them for stuffing. These larger fruits may also be grated for baking in breads and other items. Do not allow summer squash to become large, hard and seedy because they sap strength from the plant that could better be used to produce more young fruit. Pick oversized squash with developed seeds and hard skin and throw them away. Go over the plants every 1 or 2 days. Squash grow rapidly; especially in hot weather and are usually ready to pick within 4 to 8 days after flowering."

Tonight's plan:
  • Weigh and measure the monster
  • Cut it open.
  • Decide if it will be reincarnated into zucchini bread.
  • Gloat some more to PrincessSara

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Not a master update

Most of you are pretty caught up on the blog-worthy things in my life right now. Let's say I try a new format where I DON'T try to cram everything into a master monthly post w/ bullet points and photos... I don't need that kind of pressure.

By far the biggest thing on our plate right now is moving to a new apartment. After a draining 3-week apt-hunting process, we found our new home in my old neighborhood. It's a few streets down from where I lived from 2004-2005, before Erich moved to DC. The new place is kind of a trade-off.
This is what we're gaining:

  • guaranteed private parking (we're currently in Kalorama. Some of you realize what that means in terms of parking)
  • a ginormous deck!
  • gas fireplace
  • huge new kitchen
  • jacuzzi tub
  • an extra room (they call it a bedroom, I call it a den*...)
  • sorry, I guess I couldn't quit the bullet points cold-turkey.
And the trade-off part:
The neighborhood. Right now we live in a beautiful oasis of a neighborhood, walking distance to a bunch of friends. The new neighborhood is a lot rougher (but probably more colorful and interesting) and will make it tough to have spontaneous meet-ups with friends.

While it's been bittersweet packing up our belongings in our first home, we're really excited about the new place - neighborhood and all. And I've grown an unhealthy attachment to the deck. Since the new bedroom is on the small side (put that under the trade-off category), I've decided I'm willing to camp out on the deck. Although, I don't think the alarm system covers the exterior so Erich may not like this idea.

I'm feeling very lazy so I won't be putting any pics into this post - you've seen them all already since most of you probably realize that I update flickr way more than blogger. Oh, but I will draw your attention to a fantastic example of how deep my dorkiness goes.

Thanks to Google Sketchup we've managed to waste an obscene amount of hours constructing this 3-D model of the new apartment, complete with our furniture arranged the way we think we want it. Why did we learn this free program from scratch, measure most of the dimensions in the new apt. as well as almost all of the furniture we own? Well, I imagine that, "because we wanted to make sure everything fit" wouldn't be a sufficient answer. I think a closer approximation of the truth would have to include the word "addiction". I should also add that there was even an excel spreadsheet to store all those measurements.
Yes, we both became hopelessly addicted to this program. Thank god I can't come up with many more uses for it other than playing around with furniture arrangements and apartment layouts.
I expect similar levels of dependency to develop once I get my invite to Ravelry.

We're picking up the moving truck on Monday, probably on the way home from the airport after we fly back from a weekend in Rhode Island. I miss the ocean!

* We also call this this room the brewery, study, craft room, and guest room

Friday, May 25, 2007

Another Installment in the Things That Annoy Me series

It's been awhile since I subjected you to one of my rants.
I'll start with the good news.
I was glad to see on my 3rd trip to Miami in March that a Dunkin Donuts-Baskin Robbins combo was about to open in the SAME building as the office I work in down there. They were open for business on my last trip a few weeks ago.
The other good news is that they're starting to get my drink orders right.

The bad news is that in the 6 times I've been there over two trips they haven't managed to get a single order fully correct. Last time, they used cream instead of milk, added sugar when I ordered equal on the side, made an iced latte instead of an iced coffee, used a bagel instead of an english muffin, and added cheese to every breakfast sandwich among other things. I think many of these errors stemmed from their system which seemed very inefficient. I'd place the order with the cashier. And then she would yell to someone in the back area (I think there's a slight language barrier between them too). And then she would move on to the next customer. So in every case I never knew who to talk to after my incorrect order had been left on the counter for me.

Anyway, this week they got the drink orders right! And the person who took my order also filled the order. I like that system. The medium iced hazelnut coffee with milk and equal on the side was great. However my breakfast sandwich was a creative interpretation of what I ordered.

It's not that I'm THAT picky. Even when they get the orders wrong, I'm still pretty happy and everything tastes fine. But having worked in several coffee shops over the years, it bothers me when I see so much sloppiness and it makes me want to teach them some tricks if only because they'd get more tips if customers could depend on accurate orders. Wow, that's sounds really arrogant!! That's ok, in this series I'm allowed to sound whiny and pretentious.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Lost sailors on my mind

My mom called yesterday to ask if I recognized the name of one of the sailors reported missing off the coast of North Carolina after their 54-ft. sailboat sent out a distress signal on May 7th.

I did recognize her name.

Christine Grinavic and I had all of the same classes in middle school when I lived in Cumberland and shared some of the same extracurricular activities. We were never best friends, but I remember working on a school project at her house and how she was one of the most intelligent people in every class. I haven't seen her since I was 12 so I'm a little surprised that the news of her disappearance is affecting me so much. The last time I heard what she was up to, she was involved in an archaeological dig in Israel. I didn't know that she graduated from URI or that she studied English. Articles about the missing sailboat and crew have mentioned that she's traveled to New Zealand, Peru, the Caribbean, and Israel. Coverage of the story by the Providence Journal seems particularly poignant since she has written for the paper several times. What an interesting life she's been leading.

I'm struggling with the realization that reports of tragedies like this don't seem to affect me very strongly unless I feel a personal connection to the people or circumstances involved. It's probably a very normal, human response that we find it hard to really empathize with complete strangers. The shootings at Virginia Tech seemed much more real and gut-wrenching once I heard that the first victim was an R.A. in a dorm.

The father of one of the other missing crewmembers said that he's holding out hope that everyone is safe and that the boat may just be drifting somewhere out of power. “That’s a huge ocean out there,” he said. I'm holding onto the same hope.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Where do I begin?

How bout somewhere warmer? Like Miami. The trip was full of productive worky things, a rally/protest/march through Fort Lauderdale, a nice morning stroll on the miami beach boardwalk, and a Portuguese Man o' War.

Seeing about 10 of them washed up on the beach made me suddenly a little gladder that I had forgotten to bring my bathing suit. Frankly I don't know how anyone could stand to swim in the same water that a school of men o' war (man o' wars?) are inhabiting. My brother had a nasty run-in with one when he was 7 in Melbourne Beach, FL. The thing stung his whole right leg, then he panicked and tried to wipe off the tentacles with his hands making it twice as bad.
I'm going back to Miami on Tuesday and I AM bringing my suit so those Iberian, war-mongering jellyfish* have 2 days to clear the area.

I'm going to skip ALL of the time between London and Miami and instead talk about this past weekend. I spent most of it in the garden! I was notified about a month ago that I had gotten a
plot in the community garden I signed up for in August.
Here is a 'before' picture. My garden-neighbor Juan told me that the plot hasn't really been used for 2-3 years.

I've had 3 intense weeding sessions in the last week and as such have discovered new muscles I didn't know I had. This is especially good cuz they seem to be in areas of the body that could use some more attention - generally speaking, the back-side. I don't really know when I can start planting things. Many of my garden neighbors have delighted in giving me advice on how to get things done since I'm a newbie. This is much appreciated because I really don't know what I'm doing, however, if I were to follow ALL of their nuggets of wisdom, I probably couldn't start planting until August. I guess they all have different ways of preparing their plots and I'm going to just have to pick a method and stick with it if we're to enjoy any home-grown veggies this year.
Here are the nominees for things I might grow this year:

  • tomatoes (a must)
  • peppers - green or red, I'm not particular. My stingy self is leaning towards red since they're much more expensive than greens at the store.
  • cucumbers
  • green beans
  • radishes: shout out to mika.
  • zucchini
  • basil
  • a leafy green: romaine? lettuce? spinach? I haven't decided yet.
  • cinnamon basil: the National Arboretum sale was out of regular basil so I got 1 cinnamon basil for kicks.
  • Annual Honesty/Money Plant: also purchased at the Arboretum. My mom grew this in her ginormous herb garden when I was little and I remember thinking the seed pods were cool.
  • Stevia/Sweetleaf: from the Arboretum as well. I've never heard of this herb but the tag said the can be used as a sweetener (it's 300 times sweeter than sugar) and is commonly used in Paraguay and Brazil. I'll be trying it in tea.
And finally, a reward for the knitters who are getting bored of this very unyarny post.
My needles were busy in March and April. First is a pair of armwarmers I started for myself sometime in winter. They had 3 purposes: use up stash yarn (free from a swap!), practice fairisle and pattern-making, trial run for a gifted pair of armwarmers in the spring. I like them and wore them throughout DC's last gasp of winter, so mission(s) accomplished.

These were followed by a baby cardigan I made for a former coworker who just had her baby last week! She knew she was having a girl so I was excited to use this purple/pink elann cotton that bought last year. Although there are better baby wrap-cardigans out there, few are free so I went with this pattern from Crystal Palace.

The mom lives in El Salvador so I was hoping this mercerized cotton would be cooler than most of the wooly things out there. And wouldn't you think a wrap cardigan would be more breathable? I'm not sure, but I went with it.

Finally, the gifted armwarmers - I used Fetching from Knitty.

My friend lives in Philly in a basement apartment. So even though her birthday was last week, I think she still might get some use out of these this season. Knit in the same yarn as the fairisle armwarmers above. Thanks to the SnB DC yarn swap!

Currently on the needles is sock #2 for Mr. Beta. I've never knit him socks and rarely knit him anything. Even though I've barely turned the heel for the 2nd sock, I think they'll be done in time for his birthday this week especially since I'll be spending time in a plane and a couple airports. I did get him other things (not giving away any surprises here though cuz he's nosey!) because knitted socks are really more fun for me than for him. They're my first experience with Lorna's Laces (Shepherd Sock) and I loves it. Colorway is camouflage to help boost the manly factor.

And once again I've created an obnoxiously long post and given myself blogger-burnout. Ugh. Luckily, I know someone will remind me when too much time passes before the next post so hopefully you won't have to wait too long to hear about my pathetically domestic spring endeavors. I wish I could stop feeling guilty that my list of leisure activities includes cooking, knitting, and (now) gardening. *sigh*

P.S. YES, I am STILL reading the same book. I'd like to lie and say I just haven't had time to change out the sidebar. Reading Lolita in Tehran is good - but my new job is closer to home so I ride my bike every day; I haven't figured out how to make up that lost reading time from bus rides. And now that I've added gardening to the list of things I try to squeeze in on weekday evenings, I'm afraid the libraries around here may start to feel the sting of my decreased patronage.

* The Portuguese Man O' War is not actually a jellyfish. It is (according to Wikipedia) a siphonophore - a colony of specialized polyps and medusoids. I learned something new :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


...a Miami.
And so begins part of the chorus of Will Smith's famous song "Miami". I'm going down to Miami Beach tomorrow for the 2nd work trip - this time for 4 days. And much like the last time, I can't get that stupid chorus out of my head.
...Welcome to Miami | Bienvenido a Miami...

This 1930's boutique hotel will be my pad for the next few days.

Yes, work trips to Miami are a good thing. Especially when they follow freak April snow in DC.

I still plan on giving updates on the following sectors of my life:
* knitting
* Londonium
* visitors

Unrelated Note: cubicle life is amusing. This is a new experience for me having always worked in smaller, cubicle-free, organizations. Today I heard a new sound effect wafting through the purple-padded cubes....nail clippers. I'm going to assume they were fingernail clippers rather than toenail. It went on for about 6-7 minutes. These kinds of things aren't bothersome really, but they're a funny distraction.

Friday, March 30, 2007

You probably won't believe it based on my track record here, but I used to write in my journal nearly every day. During a particularly strong period of OCD-ness, I actually did write in it every single day from May 1 to August 20th, 1995. I flipped through those pages recently and was shocked at what I thought was worthy of a written record at 14 years old.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

I think I would post more if I had a laptop.
or a portable desk.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007


I know you're all dying w/ anticipation.
And the winner of the previous vote was.....

The write-in candidate proposed by SealDaze!

I don't have a picture to show you what I'm talking about but it's basically the more complicated pattern (Little Leaf), but using garter stitch so the odd rows are knit across instead of purl across. It does lose something in the cuteness that Little Leaf had - but now it's reversible! And it's not that complicated after all. I memorized the 2 different patterns for the even rows and it's going pretty quickly.
Now my only complaint is that I HAVE NO TIME FOR KNITTING! But you guys can't really help me w/ that via voting.
Today is my last full week at work - I have 2 more days next week and then I start the new job on Wednesday. Wow. Normally, I'd have all these profound thoughts to share about this big transition, but with the back-to-back meetings we have tomorrow and Friday, I haven't had time to breathe, much less think profound thoughts.

I'll leave you with some shots of the antiwar protest from Saturday.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Indecision 2007

Since we don't actually get an election in '07, I'll give you all a chance to vote right now.
Some of you are already familiar with my search for the perfect pattern for my lovely Qiviut (musk ox) yarn, a Christmas present from PassionKNITly. I wanted something reversible, lacey, but not too complicated because I'm not that experience with lace. This hunt turned out be to be quite challenging. I can't even count how many times I googled variations of reversible lace pattern. A certain M-friend of mine said I was going about the whole thing like a scientist (in a good way i think). Thankfully, I was able to narrow down the myriad options to 2 choices.

  1. Little Leaf Lace Scarf and

  2. Feathery Lace Stole (from Exquisite Little Knits, but brought to my attention by SealDaze)

Here is the issue. I like both of them. Only the Feathery Lace Stole is reversible. It's also much easier to keep track of. But the Little Leaf pattern is so pretty! And some people have said that the purl side doesn't really look that bad. It's just more complicated because I have to count rows.
Do you have an opinion? Is the Little Leaf pattern pretty enough to be worth the extra thinking required? And should I care that it's not reversible?

Saturday, January 13, 2007

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words (so why did I write so much?)

This past Christmas might have been my craftiest yet. I didn't quite realize that until after we were back in DC after our exotic stay in rhode island. While I didn't knit nearly as much as some of my friends, I managed to make a good number of the gifts. Unfortunately, I'm a bad blogger and didn't photograph all of the items so this, and the subsequent post in this series might be a little lame for those of you who only want to see pictures and don't like all the 'reading'.

But you're in luck, because first up, we have the photographic gifts. Having had such success last April when I gave my gram a framed shot of her favorite cherry blossoms, I decided to try my luck again by giving my dad a trio of monument photos for his home office. Because that room is my former bedroom, it suffers from a lack of masculinity and so far, no amount of techy gadgets and action DVDs seems to butch it up enough. I woke up extra early the last weekday before we flew home and spent an hour with my camera, the sunrise, and some humbling monuments. I have never seen the Vietnam Memorial or the Lincoln Memorial so empty. I wasn't there to photograph the Lincoln, but I rode by it on my bike on my way to the Korean War Memorial.
Here are the results, arranged the way they were hung on the wall.

It was particularly cute when, on Christmas Eve as Erich and I were assembling his mother's homemade gift, my dad remarked how nice it was that we were making it and how he is always so touched by homemade gifts. Score. He was indeed touched the next day when he opened his gift. Especially a few minutes later when Erich astutely realized something about my dad's reaction and told him that I had taken the pictures myself. Apparently my dad originally thought I had just purchased some interesting shots of the monuments and framed those as a gift.

Speaking of the gift for Erich's mom...
One of the things we gave her was a small album of mostly architectural shots of DC for inspiration for her pottery. She has a kiln and potter's wheel right in her house and spends many evenings throwing gorgeous bowls and assorted dishes. She asked several months ago if we might take some pictures of interesting architectural motifs in the city that could bring some outside inspiration to her pottery. That's easier said than done however since we don't usually have our cameras on us during commutes to work and errand-running. I therefore started jotting down building names and addresses whenever something caught my eye and lucky for me, the weekend before we flew to RI was gorgeous, blue-sky weather. I did a little bike tour of the city starting by Trader Joes at Foggy Bottom and ending up in Adams Morgan at an entrance to Rock Creek Park.

Finally, I also gave Erich a gift involveing photography, but in this case, it was his own. He took HUNDREDS of photos in Peru and never got around to printing them out or putting them in an album. He loves the album he put together a couple years ago of his service trip to Nicaragua. So I secretly orderd prints of the ~200 best Peru photos and tracked down a brown leather & suede album (it's hard to find manly looking photo albums!) in which to mount them, scrapbook style. I didn't include any captions because I really have no idea what the names of any of the sacred trail points are. But most of the challenge lay in trying to keep the whole thing a secret from him. Apparently I was successful because he seemed very surprised on Christmas morning. It's still a bit of a work in progress because the 2nd set of insert sleeves for the cardstock don't quite match the 1st set even though they're from the same brand and had identical labels on the packaging. So the 2nd half of the album sticks out a little more. Also, it would look better if a handful of the best photos were enlarged to 5 x 7 so he's going to pick some out and insert those pages later.

Still to come in this 2-part series: Knitting and Co.
Also, here's a tip on how to get out of Federal Jury Duty: make sure you work for an organization that fights for the same rights that are being contested in the case you're called to be a juror for. The opposing side usually doesn't like that too much and will probably make sure you're not selected so you can't brainwash the other jurors.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Grounds for a Rant

Ho hum. So much time has passed and as more and more people remind me that it's been ages since I posted, I get more and more intimidated by the prospect of trying to lump all of last month's news into a succinct post. But I refuse to let blogger intimidate me. I am not its slave - it is supposed to serve ME!
- end rant -

I was also reminded recently that I've only posted one entry in the Things-That-Annoy-Me Series. So here's another for you...

Travel Coffee Mugs
My 3 main complaints are:
1. they're hard to find
2. when I find them, they often are too large to fit in the car cup-holder thing
3. and they ALL seem to have metal pieces that make them unsafe for the microwave.

WTF!? I mean, I am slowly learning that my family is a little non-traditional in their obsession with the plastic travel coffee mug. I grew up thinking that everyone had at least 4 of these at home, that they were all microwave safe, and that they were the natural vessel for having coffee on the go. Regarding that last point, I regret to admit that the Starbucks/Dunkin Donuts/styrafoam throw-away coffee cup is probably the vessel of choice for most people who drink Joe on the go. Grr. However, wouldn't you agree that IF you are the type of person that prefers to brew your own and store it in a travel coffee mug, that you would ALSO need to be able to reheat the coffee in a microwave? Next time you're in the kitchen section of Target, take a look at their selection of travel coffee mugs - 90% have metal pieces!!!! This drives me nuts and Erich is sick of hearing me bitch about the lack of suitable mugs on the market. So I'm making you all suffer instead.
ugh! these have metal AND their base is too large for a car cup-holder. Double trouble.

And I know some of you might want to point out such stupid things as "well they're metal so that they insulate the coffee and keep it warmer longer" or "they have large bases so they don't tip over" - shove it! This is my soapbox and there's only room for one of us.

Oh, and Happy New Year! I'll go back to being warm and fuzzy shortly - then you can read all about our fabulous Christmas-in-Rhode-Island adventures. Here's a teaser: it included a chick from France, duckpin bowling, and karaoke.