Saturday, March 31, 2007

Mitten

Here is my completed mitten:

I made it with Debbie Bliss alpaca silk yarn, which is the best yarn in the world!! Of the ones I've worked with so far, anyway.

Tomorrow will pass in a haze of cooking...I'm making roasted new potato salad (no mayonnaise!) and ratatouille for a gathering.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Drama cat

We visited the bookstore cat today. It was the first time I'd managed to see him since Miami. We went to Dumont Burger twice since coming back from vacation, but he was snoring really hard the first time, so I didn't wake him up. The second time, the bookstore was closed after we ate dinner. I could see Rainer sitting inside, but I couldn't pat him.

Today he was unusually glad to see me. He lumbered into my lap (he has gotten a little bit fatter, but he wears it well) and licked my thumb with his sandpaper tongue. Then he settled in for a nice nap. Only, it turns out he wasn't really asleep.

When I uncoiled one leg - the first part of the getting-up process - he let out a yowl. A girl who was browsing books nearby said, "He loves you!" I patted him and reassured him, but we did have to leave. So I tried unfolding the other leg, and he went, YOW! I was afraid he was going to bite me out of anger. He snuggled up even tighter on the leg he was still perched on.

It went on like this, with him saying RA and YOW every time I moved. Finally I got up and he slunk away. Do cats forgive?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The perfect man, and some pictures

D and I watched The Perfect Man from Netflix. You know, the one with Hillary Duff, Heather Locklear and Chris Noth in it. I really enjoyed it. Hillary is refreshingly un-anorexic and non-augmented, Heather was actually kind of wise (?) and Chris was fun as always. Plus, the whole thing was rated PG, so it was reassuringly fun and wholesome. Viewing pleasure for the entire family ;)

So my camera no longer shows an image on its screen, but if you peer through a tiny box (the viewfinder?) you can take a picture. If anyone has a fabulous camera that is (a) cheap, (b) reliable, (c) takes good pictures and (d) is available on Amazon, let me know. This camera's diva-ish ways keep life interesting, but I'm in the market for something a little bit steadier.

Here is a pic from my bike ride the other day. Can you picture Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester meeting here? It seems moor-like, somehow. Now all we need is his big, black dog.

And here is a pic of the mitten I'm making. The loose thread dangling from the top marks the thumb, so I can "work it" later. The tail on the bottom will be woven in. I haven't yet figured out how to pick up stitches for the thumb, but I'll learn on Saturday.

And finally, a super-chunky scarf I am making just for fun. It takes size 15 needles. It's like knitting with giant crayons.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

First bike ride of '07

So I was planning to go to the gym today. However, going to the gym would be a waste of a day like this. It was so warm, I couldn't even wear the homemade scarf and hat I've been stubbornly wearing every spring-like day out of pride. (By the way, I dropped the hat I made for Roxanne in the mail today...hopefully she will put up a picture!)

So I decided to bike for the first time in '07. I was secretly wishing I'd be the only one to think of it. Unfortunately, all the other path people came out. Some of them should stay in. I'm thinking of the guy who whizzed past me at 80 mph and yelled, "ON YOUR LEFT!" in my ear. I almost jumped out of my skin.

I took some pics of the river, but as I mentioned before, my camera is a diva. I couldn't see any image on the screen, but I took some snaps in blind faith anyway. If they come out, I'll post them.

And my dream last night. My goodness. I was in a kind of detention center in Japan with D. The center was very nice, along the lines of a hotel suite, with medium-pink walls and hardwood floors. It may sound heinous, but believe me, it was attractive. D was pretty calm about the whole thing. I was on edge, especially since people were telling me I might get my head chopped off.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Crocheting

So I've mentioned that I'm obsessive, right? Given my newfound fascination with knitting, it was only a matter of time before I tried my hand at crocheting.

Thanks to a helpful video on the Internet, I was able to figure it out. Yay! Here's a picture of my first few chain stitches:

Also, we went to K's birthday party tonight. K is the proud owner of a charming pug named Sampson. She described him as the "king of the apartment." He also likes to chew on her knitting wool. I might be able to put up some pictures of him eventually. Last time I tried, my camera was on the fritz.

Here's the scarf I gave K for her birthday (light blue), pictured next to the pink one I made for myself. They're both seed stitch, but the light blue is a cashmere blend, while the pink is merino.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Finished!



So I finished my hat today. Isn't it cute?

The pattern claimed that casting on 72 stitches would make the hat big enough to fit any adult. I was skeptical, because my head is large (23"). So I cast on 8 more stitches, and knit a little more than the recommended 9 inches before I started decreasing.

Well, guess what? It's a little big. It's not a problem, because I can roll up the brim and I've already gotten compliments on it. But now I know that 72 stitches would have been enough, and I can proceed with confidence when making hats from this pattern in the future.

I had a little trouble sewing up the seam. I tried to teach myself from a book, but I could tell I wasn't doing it right. So I went to my current favorite yarn shop. It's adorable. They have a dog who naps in the store. They also have cute knitting magazines lying around (I want a subscription to Rowan now). The owner was kind enough to teach me how to sew the seam, and she didn't just teach me and run, either. She waited till I was totally comfortable doing it myself. It struck me that she'd be a perfect bike-riding teacher; she would know just when to let go.

Also, in the store they were playing Dixie Chicks. I've never really followed country music. But I was thinking how nice the music was to knit to, and someone explained that it was them - Taking the Long Way.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Big love

So D and I watched 2 episodes of Big Love tonight (from Netflix). Episode 2 was called Viagra Blue, so I thought it would be terribly banal. Wrong! I really liked the show.

My favorite part of the show is the interaction among the three wives. They have shifting alliances and a fragile balance needs to be maintained. I think each one wants to maintain the illusion that she is the only one sleeping with Bill Paxton (the husband)...hence the scheduled places and times for "togetherness." I think Chloe Sevigny's role is like Omarosa's on Season One of The Apprentice...there has to be somebody people love to hate. I actually like her, though; she stirs things up and keeps them interesting. I think Bill Paxton's relationship with Jeanne Tripplehorn (the first wife) is the deepest, and the most like a conventional marriage. His relationship with the youngest wife (who is dating Chris Klein in real life) is almost father/daughter. Disturbing...but fascinating.

My obsession with knitting continues. I'll have pictures of a new project up in a few days. I also started a hat and taught myself how to cable. Whee!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Zodiac

So T and I saw Zodiac today, after some filling blue corn pancakes with bananas and orange honey butter. Unfortunately, the place where we eat them has been discovered...it was much busier today than it's ever been before at that hour.

Zodiac was 2 hours and 40 minutes long, but it felt shorter. I was thoroughly engaged. I thought all the main actors (Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo) did a good job, and there were a lot of fun actors in smaller roles (Chloe Sevigny, Ione Skye, Dermot Mulroney and Donal Logue, with his gingery hair toned down for the part).

There were a few inconsistencies that jumped out at me (skip this part if you're anti-spoiler, though I don't think it will give too much away).

1) One part of the movie was set in 1983, but a calendar in the auto repair shop said February 1980.

2) They got a warrant for the key suspect in 1990...22 years after the first murder. They were able to do this because they tracked down the only guy who saw the killer without a mask, and the guy identified the killer from a photo. The guy was living in Ontario, Canada...not that far away. Couldn't they have located him in 1968? They knew about him then, but they said, "He doesn't want to be involved. He skipped town."

Other than these little problems, I enjoyed the movie immensely. It was not too gory, either. And the killings were all near the beginning. Most of it was about the cat-and-mouse game and the suspense and high stakes involved.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Shower woes

When we got back from Miami, we discovered we had no hot water. So the building's maintenance man came today and fitted us out with new faucets in the shower and did some other things of a mysterious nature.

Good news: we now have hot water.

Bad news: the water pressure in the shower is perilously low.

I grew up with low water pressure. As my brother put it, "You stand under there and hope it hits you." Now I feel like I'm in that Steve Martin movie The Jerk...a rags-to-riches-to-rags story of water pressure.

I don't want to be like Sally in WHMS ("You're the worst kind. You're high maintenance, but you think you're low maintenance."), but a girl needs a shower worthy of the name. If you have a nice, powerful, jet-stream shower, please send over some strengthening vibes to my shower.

Also, I came out of the bathroom to find D bent over the sink, WASHING DISHES. He almost gave me a heart attack. He was able to answer my personal questions ("What's your middle name?" "What's your mother's maiden name?", etc.) satisfactorily. Guess the body snatchers didn't get him, after all.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Crime and punishment

So D and I got back from Miami last night. I always get a little thrill from seeing the New York skyline, especially at night. Like San Fran, New York is a city of bridges, and they always look so pretty, as if they have bright little necklaces strung across the tops. (I know, I'm sure that comparison has been made before, but the lights on the bridges really do look like cute jewelry.)

There was some drama on Wednesday, our last day at the beach. We checked out of our hotel at 1 pm. They agreed to keep our bags behind the desk, and we decided to spend the rest of the day at the beach, which closes at 5 pm. At that point, the "beach boys" put away the rented chairs and umbrellas, which are fairly expensive.

But on Wednesday, the beach boy came up at 4:20 and told us the beach was closing in 10 minutes. He claimed there was a beach-wide personnel meeting. He was insistent, so we got off the chairs.

The whole thing sounded fishy to me, especially since I saw him race off the beach with one of the other beach boys, but the rest of the beach boys stayed put. So D went up to one of the others, who called his supervisor. The ones who lied about the meeting ended up getting two days' suspension, and the beach boy who called his supervisor gave us 2 chairs till 5:00. They also offered to comp us the next day, but we were leaving that night, unfortunately.

At the time I was angry because the first guy was quite rude to us and used hardball tactics. Plus, he lied. Now I feel bad that he lost two days' pay. But D felt the punishment was appropriate for the "crime"...firing would have been too much, but two days' suspension was fine.

Maybe I am just too much of a softy.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Dinner with friends

So we went to dinner with A and R tonight, our friends in the area. Conversation ranged over a wide variety of topics, including whether A and I should attend our upcoming college reunion. Am not sure why I am angsting about this so much. I went to my fifth-year reunion without a second thought, and had a good time. A isn't sure she wants to go, either. I made an "I'll go if you go" offer and she laughed and said, "I'm not ready to commit." She said she got post-traumatic stress disorder from her high school reunion. I steer clear of those :) And I did like my college, so again, I'm not sure why I'm putting so much analysis into it. Moving on...

We ate at the Pelican, a fun, uber-trendy hotel with a sharp green awning and a pink padded door to the ladies' room. I got orrechiette with eggplant, cheese and tomato sauce, which was nothing less than splendid; and D and I split a key lime pie, my favorite Floridian dessert. R cracked us up with an earnest discussion of his type ("milky-skinned, dark-haired Jewish girls who are smarter than I am") and we discussed his List. A vets his list, allowing only those celebrities she believes he doesn't have a chance with. Audrey Hepburn at her prime, Sarah Silverman and Natalie Portman are not allowed because she thinks they might take a shine to R.

Pictures from the evening:

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The beach

So today we went to the beach again...pretty much the norm here. The antibiotics seem to be doing their job (knock on wood...I'm quite superstitious about these things). I finished my merino wool scarf:

It's a bit folded up...actually longer than it appears.

So thank you for all your thoughts on Barbie and her friend. I saw her AGAIN today...with a third guy. I thought guy #2 was the best choice, but apparently she didn't, because she kept going. Anyway, her friend was sleeping alone on her towel as Barbie and Guy #3 frolicked in the waves. But then...2 or 3 guys came over to talk with Barbie's friend. One of them stayed. And he seemed a lot smarter and more interesting than Barbie's boy :) He looked a bit like one of the Native American actors from Smoke Signals.

And speaking of actors, I left the beach to get us two panini for lunch. I went to the snack shop and asked for two caprese panini (tomato, mozzarella and basil). There was a corkboard covered with pictures of random beach people, posing with the owner of the cafe. And then a "familiar" face jumped out - George Clooney, standing next to the owner! The guy at the counter explained, "Yeah, you never know who's gonna walk in."

Saturday, March 10, 2007

An embarrassing but funny moment

So D and I are both sick, but starting to feel better. We had dinner last night with friends who live in the area. They are a fun, genial couple, and the husband is a doctor. He was able to diagnose me swiftly and efficiently after peering down my throat in the light from his cell phone ;)

For dinner tonight, D and I went to Nexxt (yup, they spell it that way). It's a crowded place with outdoor seating, and the tables are packed close together. As the meal drew to a close, a huge burp tore out of me. It came out of nowhere, like a force of nature. I looked furtively at the couple next to us, to see if they heard. They looked stunned, and then they laughed -- but in a nice way. For a couple of minutes we giggled together. I still can't believe I did that!

On the beach yesterday, a pair of girls settled on their towels near us. It was one of those situations where I feel bad for one of the friends. One girl looked like Barbie, with carefully dyed platinum hair and cute, tight-fitting clothes, while the other was dressed in a caftan, with frizzy hair of indeterminate color, a double chin, and a bloated, sad face. A guy came over to talk with Barbie and their conversation went like this:

Guy: My buddy and I are staying at the ___. Wanna sleep over?

Barbie: Hahaha!

Guy: Do you?

Barbie: I have a boyfriend.

Guy (quickly): Oh. I have a girlfriend. She's a dancer, not on a pole --

Barbie: Hehehe!

Guy: -- but on Broadway. She's in L.A. now.

[Conversation continues in this vein for 15 minutes. Then he deigns to notice the friend.]

Guy: Hi, how are you. [Turning back to Barbie.] As I was saying...

I would have forgotten all about them, but I saw the two friends again today...with a different guy talking to Barbie as they traveled across the beach. What is in it for the ignored girl?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Miami

Well, it must be said...bienvenido a Miami. (Calling to mind Will Smith's '99 hit, etc., etc.)

The plane ride was a little hairy. I did sit next to a father with a cute kid, though. The father saw my knitting and became quite animated. He told me how one of his favorite running backs, for Boise State, is an avid crocheter and sells his creations online. The running back makes beanies for his teammates. They used to mock him, calling him "Crochet Guy," but then he had a bunch of important wins or goals or something and they stopped making fun of him and started wearing his stuff ;)

After we got off the plane, our luggage was nowhere to be found. Newark 1623 appeared on *none* of the baggage claim charts. It was as if the flight had vanished into thin air. Even more puzzling, there was no large group of disgruntled travelers. It was like everyone got some memo except us. Then we found another girl who was confused, and we were directed to a random baggage chute. "That flight is all clear, but your stuff might come now," we were told. I was relieved because I had my computer in my checked luggage.

It's pretty relaxing here. I never want to leave New York, but once I get here, I enjoy it. That either makes me fickle or adaptable, I'm not sure which.

The view from our hotel window:

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Tuesday thoughts

So I took my second (and last) beginners' knitting class today. Per Liz's request, I took some snaps -- starting with the food and intending to move onto the yarn -- but the picture-taking made one of the staff people visibly uncomfortable, so I stopped. I felt bad. Once I put the camera away, he immediately relaxed and started chatting about how Staples is his favorite store and if he spends fifty dollars there, it's a tame trip.

Here are the cupcakes and brownies:



I started a new mauve scarf a couple of days ago, and also bought some merino wool at the knitting cafe for a seed-stitch scarf. (That's a new stitch we learned today - you cast on an odd number of stitches, and then you knit 1, purl 1 for each row.) Although I usually knit with acrylic because wool makes me itch, the merino is so smooth and beautiful. It is also a dream to work with. So hopefully it won't irritate my skin :)

The mauve scarf:


The seed stitch:


We saw Sherrybaby last night. If you like Maggie Gyllenhaal, I would recommend it. There is something very likeable about her, even when she's playing a hostile crackhead.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Finished!

So I finished my scarf. Here it is:

If you look closely, you can see a little brown dog in the background, wearing a red bandana. The dog looks very similar to my childhood dog, who used to wear that bandana. We call her Pepper II.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Friday in pictures

So today I got two packages! One was from Roxanne; she sent me a beautiful crocheted hat and scarf.

The other was from an author who wrote a book I put on my wish list. She sent me the book! It's about a psychic who finds herself accidentally engaged.

I also went to Old Navy and bought a bunch of light, springy clothes and a bathing suit so I can feel nice and floaty in Miami. Here's a dress and one of the shirts:

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Okay, I'm obsessed


But I admit it. Isn't that an important step? The scarf above is the darker pink one, which is my favorite so far.

We visited Rainer (my Brooklyn cat) at the bookstore recently. He really didn't want me to leave, so I promised I'd come back next week. We like going to Dumont Burger, anyway.

In other news, we're going to Miami in March for a week. I'm a little tired of the place, but D loves it so. A plus is that we have friends there now. A college friend and her husband, who is doing his residency in Florida, live nearby. So we're planning to get together with them.

Last night we watched Smoke Signals, a movie from Netflix. In the past, I spotted it in the video store and noted, "I'd like to watch that sometime." Based on the video cover, I thought it would be a light-hearted romantic comedy about Native Americans. Boy, was I wrong. It was a dark, depressing movie about Native Americans. Granted, it was an interesting perspective on life on the Coeur d'Alene reservation, and it's based on the writing on Sherman Alexie, whom I like. But I don't think it really worked as a movie. Or else I just like comedies, romantic and otherwise.