Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve thoughts

So D and I had dinner, avec bebe, at Otto (a Mario Batali pizza joint) which is somehow both trendy and kid-friendly. I had a bellini (Prosecco and blood orange juice, which sounds creepy, but is tasty) and a balsamic onion/goat cheese pizza. Plus some brussels sprouts with "vin cotto" as an appetizer. (I don't know what vin cotto is, but the sprouts were yummy.) Then we got home, D was reading E a story, and I started wondering which authors I have read all of. (I believe that ending a sentence with a preposition is OK.) Here are the writers:

Sara Faith Alterman (totally random)
Kate Atkinson
Jane Austen
Anjali Bannerjee
Melissa Banks
Emily Barr
Brunonia Barry
Christina Bartolomeo
Jennifer Belle
Elizabeth Berg
Sarah Bilston
Hester Browne
Lily Burana
Julie Buxbaum
Katherine Center
Jennifer Chiaverini
Megan Crane
Katie Crouch
Lynda Curnyn
Laura Dave
Robertson Davies
Jill A. Davis
Sarah Dessen
Sarah Dunn
Jeffrey Eugenides
Suzanne Finnamore
Emily Giffin
Jane Green
Ethan Hawke
Elin Hilderbrand
Kate Jacobs
Lisa Jewell
Jill Kargman
Kim Wong Keltner
Beth Kendrick
Marian Keyes
Sophie Kinsella
Claire LaZebnik
Lisa Lutz
Mameve Medwed
Clare O'Donohue
Ariella Papa
Louise Rennison
Laurie Viera Rigler
J.D. Salinger
Marjane Satrapi
Vikram Seth
Curtis Sittenfeld
Jonathan Tropper
Anne Tyler
Celestine Vaite
Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez
Jennifer Weiner
Allison Winn Scotch
Lolly Winston
Alex Witchel
Elizabeth Young

OK, that was a freakishly long list. To those of you who made it this far, HAPPY NEW YEAR! And the good news is:

1) The list was very easy to compile because LibraryThing has a list of every author I've read, and the ones I'd read all of jumped out.

2) Facebook is not killing Blogger. Facebook is the second most popular site, and Blogger is #8. Not too shabby. Courtesy of alexa.com.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The real purpose of this post is to let you know that salsa and mac and cheese really do go well together. I made some Annie's mac and cheese (from the box) and mixed in some Paul Newman salsa (my second favorite after Trader Joe's roasted garlic salsa). Really good.

Also, I can't wait to see The King's Speech. It's important to get your Colin Firth fix.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

So we arrived in Massachusetts today. My mother caught me up on the goings-on. Sadly, her ex-coworker's husband died of a heart attack in a motel room, and a cousin of mine (whom I didn't know very well) died of pancreatic cancer. So she gave me the bad news first, and then during dinner (an onion and cheese pie with salad), she tells me my sister has a new boyfriend! I think the good news should come first.

No one has met him yet; he's about my sister's age, an engineer, and has 3 children from a prior marriage. In other news, my oldest nephew (he's 18; he was born when I was a senior in high school) has got into all the colleges he has heard from. He is still waiting to hear from two. So, no one has rejected him yet. I am proud of him. Also, he played a football game in Gillette Stadium. Since I live in New York and am not a sports fan, my mother explained that the Patriots play there. So my nephew has played in the same place Tom Brady does, and it was televised. (They lost the game, but I guess it was still exciting for them.)

Monday, December 20, 2010

It's that time again...

So we're headed to New England on Wednesday, taking the wee one on the train. Coloring books are a wonderful invention. I was a shameless slacker with Christmas shopping this year. I made two gifts, bought some others, and have one remaining to buy! I'm planning to get it in Massachusetts.

Am reading An Irish Country Courtship by Patrick Taylor. One of those leisurely Irish sagas. I am enjoying it. It is set in northern Ireland, which is a little unusual, but in the 1960s (no unrest then, I think). The cool thing about discovering a series is that you then have a whole bunch of "new" books to read.

Also on my pile: Skippy Dies (I don't like the title, but it's been recommended), Matched (one of those dystopia books I keep reading despite myself, but this one seems gentle), The False Friend, and a nonfiction book about the "silk road" (an ancient trade route through Europe, Asia, Afghanistan, etc.; totally not something I would usually read, but it looks interesting and well-written).

What are you doing for the holidays?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Pink cardi



This is a pink cardigan I'm knitting. It's almost done. Usually, for better or worse, I'm a yarn snob and I insist on using wool instead of acrylic, but this time I broke my rules. I'm glad I did...this acrylic yarn is very soft and fluffy.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Wow, I can't believe it is almost the new year. I'm in that reflective mode that marks the end of an old year. 2010 had some ups and downs. I made some mistakes, but nothing too serious. I learned some things. Overall, I am optimistic about 2011. What are your thoughts as we approach a new year?

And...I'll throw it in this post because otherwise I might forget. The best books I read in 2010:

Noah's Compass by Anne Tyler. I love pretty much everything she writes.
The Epicure's Lament by Kate Christensen.
Brava, Valentine by Adriana Trigiani.
Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin. Disturbing but illuminating look at the life of Lewis Carroll.
Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin. Another favorite author of mine.
The Aloha Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini. I love this series.
The Last Time I Saw You by Elizabeth Berg.
Insignificant Others by Stephen McCauley.
The One That I Want by Allison Winn Scotch.
Hothouse Flower by Margot Berwin. About a woman's quest to collect exotic plants.
The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman. Curiously, I can't get into any of her other books. But I enjoyed this one. It also has a beautiful cover.
The Stuff That Never Happened by Maddie Dawson. A new author that I will keep an eye on.
Slow Love by Dominique Browning. A little depressing, but the writing was lovely.
The Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand. Perfect summer fiction, about a restaurant on Nantucket.
White Horses by Alice Hoffman. This one was very, um, memorable. I think there were a lot of true things in it, though the subject matter was shocking for some.

And (drumroll) the most depressing book I read in 2010:
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. About mistreated clones in a dystopian culture.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Black Swan

So I saw Black Swan today, and the theater was packed (at 2:30 pm on a Tuesday afternoon). It was really good. It was also not what I expected. I thought it would be a ridiculous, fun ballet movie, with a little catty rivalry thrown in for kicks. Wrong. It was very intense, one of the most gripping movies I've seen in a long time. There were a few campy moments, but I think they were thrown in for comic relief.

It reminded me a bit of Rosemary's Baby - the mounting sense of paranoia, are they ganging up on her, or is it really in her head? But it was really its own creation. One thing I thought was really cool about it was that there was no mundanity. In real life, the mundane is inevitable, but all these characters avoided it.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Crock pot apple crisp

I'm sharing this because I'm pretty sure it's going to be awesome. It's in my crock pot right now.

6 c sliced apples
1 1/2 c flour
1 c brown sugar
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
3/4 c butter
1/4 t ginger

Grease crock pot. Line bottom with apple slices. Combine the other ingredients in a bowl, and cover apples with mixture. Cover and cook on low until apples are tender.

(From Roxanne)

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

So I survived E's first preschool interview. It was very different from most interviews I've experienced. At first, the director just told us about the school at an exhaustive level of detail. She was clearly very passionate about it and very involved. When we toured the classrooms, the children knew her by name and came running up to her. They were all cute and spirited, yet well-behaved. The teachers seemed to have a lot of control over the class, but without yelling or losing their cool. No one was neglected and everyone seemed happy.

One thing was interesting. I think the director was very observant. At one point, she asked which hand E uses for various activities. She said, "You use your left, which one does he use?" That startled and impressed me. I'm not sure how she could tell I was a lefty, I didn't write anything in front of her. Anyway, I told her my mom thinks E is a righty, but when she asked me more questions, I realized he uses both hands for most things.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I seem to have blog block, but I don't want this little page to feel neglected. So, bits:

1) Went home for Thanksgiving. It was very nice aside from the allergy attack I always get around the family dogs. I love animals but am allergic to most of them. Fortunately, my mother doesn't have one (we stayed at her place). The food was delicious; we had vegetarian shepherd's pie, which I made, plus mac & cheese, roasted butternut squash, hummus pizza and sundry other goodies. My sister's peanut butter cookies are always a smash hit.

2) Books. I just finished the first two books in the Someday Quilts mystery series. They have almost tempted me to make a quilt, but it seems more complicated and time-consuming than knitting. Maybe someday. I like the series, the first book was stronger than the second, but I have a feeling the third one will be great (I picked it up accidentally when I was looking for the second one, and was impressed).

3) Knitting. Here is a picture of a scarf I finished recently.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's kind of scary. I've always prided myself on having a good memory, but it's starting to slip. A Facebook friend posted the video for Peter Gabriel's "Shock the Monkey." I used to like this song, but I had completely forgotten it.

And today, I was walking past a building with D and E and said, "That used to be an expensive grocery store, what was it called?" and D said, "Balducci's." In our relationship, I have always been the "memory one."

But after thinking about it, I decided not to worry. Who wants to remember everything, anyway? It's more relaxing this way.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I'm getting into the holiday spirit this year. I bought my niece's birthday presents (her birthday falls on Thanksgiving this year). It was funny, the cashier said, "I can tell your favorite color is purple," and I said, "Actually, it's for my niece." But it's true, purple is becoming my favorite color.

For once, I'm not too stressed about gifts. I made some, figured out what I will buy for others, and only have one question mark. I'll enlist D's help picking something out for that person.

I'm looking forward to the food, too...pumpkin pie, vegetarian shepherd's pie, and squash.

What are you looking forward to on Thanksgiving or Christmas?

Friday, November 19, 2010

You know, I think Facebook is killing Blogger. Most of the people who were blogging when I started have stopped. But I am going to try to hang in here. So, in honor of all you bloggers who may or may not be reading, here is a recipe:

Black Bean Chili (from Vegetarian Times)
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 bunch scallions
10-oz bag frozen sweet corn
salt to taste
roasted garlic salsa (I highly recommend Trader Joe's brand. It is good enough to eat out of the jar.)

Combine the beans, scallions and salsa in a large saucepan or wok over medium heat. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the cover, add the salt and corn, and cook until heated through.

You can sprinkle shredded Monterey Jack on top if you want.

Very easy and very good.

Right now I'm reading my first Aunt Dimity book. It's a mystery series, set in England, and quite cozy. I like it, although it is slightly slow-paced.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I'm going to talk a bit about food. I'm about to head out for lunch with D - MIL has the baby - and I love some of the offerings at this place. They have some sandwiches that are permanent; others are seasonal. One of the seasonal ones is called "Thanksgiving leftovers" (even though Thanksgiving hasn't happened yet). It consists of Brussels sprouts, sweet potato, cranberry sauce, and Tofurkey on bread. I never had Tofurkey before, but it's actually better than turkey. And I love Brussels sprouts. I know, that might be unusual. And this place also has excellent cupcakes. So I'm looking forward to that.

I'm reading Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. I thought it might be bleak and depressing, but I'm enjoying it. It's about a dystopian world, but he's not dwelling too heavily on that aspect. I like how he writes about seemingly small things and finds meaning in them.

And finally...I really hate gift-giving occasions, like the holidays. That is, I like other things about the holidays, like seeing your family, and food. But I'm not big on gifts. I get stressed out picking them. It's really hard to figure out what someone else will like, and chances are they have it already. Every once in a while something jumps out at me and makes me think of a particular person. That's when I have the most success buying a present. But you can't count on it happening, and sometimes it happens at the wrong time. I found the perfect present for D about a week after his birthday. Fortunately, I waited for it, and got it then.

Which leads me to...I know there's a book out there about the 5 languages of love. I read about it on a blog and then I skimmed it online. The basic idea is that every person needs one of these things in order to feel loved: gifts, acts of service, words of affirmation, quality time or physical touch. I'm "acts of service" with maybe a dash of "words of affirmation." It puzzles me when people are "gifts." A friend of ours, his girlfriend is like that...so he bought her diamond earrings. He said you could really tell that she liked them and they were meaningful to her. I don't know, diamond earrings would be pretty meaningless to me. It's more meaningful to me when someone is there for me, when I know I can rely on them.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

So I got word today that E has two preschool interviews - one is reassuringly called a "family meeting." Apparently, in the crazy world that is NYC preschool admissions, the children are admitted at least partially based on the parents.

He also has a play date scheduled, probably to see how well he plays with others. I was impressed at the playground recently - another child was playing with his favorite clock dial and E waited his turn. When it was his turn, he shared the dial with another toddler.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

So D and I had a "date night." I have always cringed at this phrase, but in practice it's a nice break from the routine, though I always miss E when we have one. This time we tried a restaurant we had never been to before. The interior space was huge, including an indoor garden with a skylight, trees draped with fairy lights, and a random deer that a guy was using as an armrest. (It was standing right behind him.)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I'm reading One Day by David Nicholls. I put off reading it for a while because I thought it might be trite and annoying. But it's actually quite good. There are just a couple of questions plaguing me:

1) When are they going to get together? (Don't tell me.)

2) Who is going to play them in the film version? (I heard there's going to be one.)

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

So I'm finishing up The Farmer's Daughter (Jim Harrison) and enjoying it quite a bit. He writes equally well from a male or female point of view, which is pretty rare if you ask me. He's a somewhat random author for me to like, since all of his books seem to be set in Montana, Canada, North Dakota or the upper peninsula of Michigan, but I just like the way he writes. If you are looking for a book, I recommend it.

At Whole Foods, I saw a display of yams mixed with marshmallows and it made me think of Thanksgiving. I think sweet potatoes are sweet enough by themselves.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Things I am grateful for...

Cat Power
Iron & Wine
Belle & Sebastian
the possibility of snow
pumpkin cupcakes from Billy's Bakery
pumpkin pancake mix from Trader Joe's
snowflakes
little E
D
my friends
men who name their dog "Judy" after Judy Garland
and many more...

Saturday, November 06, 2010

So we went to Philly today for a gathering of D's father's relatives. It's funny, I didn't feel much of a pull toward Philadelphia back in the day, but now I'm kind of curious about it. I wouldn't mind spending a weekend there sometime and getting to know it better. Whenever we go, we meet D's relatives at a restaurant in the suburbs, so the city itself is still kind of a mystery to me.

I do like 30th Street station. The Amtrak agent who waited on me (we had to exchange our tickets because we missed our train back to New York) seemed not to get the Philly friendliness memo. But the station is pretty and their newsstand/bookstore had surprisingly good books. I bought The Farmer's Daughter by Jim Harrison. I read The English Major by him and liked it.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Well, it started out as a dismal rainy day, but a few good things happened. I picked up 3 books, 1 from the library, 2 from B&N: How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly (Connie May Fowler), Russian Winter (Daphne Kaloty), and The Tenth Song (Naomi Ragen).

I stopped at Think Coffee, a funky coffee place where I never actually get coffee, to buy an apple crumb square. The cashier said, "We have apple crumb squares?" and I said yes, and showed him. When he saw them, recognition dawned and he yelled, "Oh yeah!"

Sunday, October 31, 2010

It's finished!


Happy Halloween, everyone.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

My little pumpkin

Here is a picture of little E, heading to the toddler Halloween party:

I also got him a slice of pizza as a costume, but he refused to wear it. Fortunately, both outfits were cheap (and cute!) We got to the Halloween party, which was fun but chaotic. There was a single mom there with two kids whose problems seem to be piled deep and high. Her older daughter's tooth got knocked out the other day and the mother saved it in a plastic bag (which she had with her). She was hoping to find a pediatric dentist to re-attach it so her daughter wouldn't have a gap. But then she lost the bag with the tooth inside. I hope she finds it.

I finished Traveling with Pomegranates and have that feeling of mourning that accompanies the end of a good book. I started The Likeness by Tana French, which is a little dark, but good.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Just a note to say I am really enjoying Traveling with Pomegranates. I've read Sue Monk Kidd before - The Secret Life of Bees and The Mermaid Chair - but this one is my favorite. It's a dual memoir written by her and her daughter, Ann, about a time when they went to Greece, Turkey and France to visit "sacred places," but it's also an exploration of the psychology of each woman, and the different struggles in their lives. I'm currently in the Greek section and it's reminding me how much I like Greek mythology. As a child, I took Edith Hamilton's Mythology out of the library and devoured it.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Parsnip

I'm reading Bitter in the Mouth by Monique Truong, a novel about a woman who tastes flavors when she hears certain words. Her description of a parsnip's flavor:

"A celery and a potato meet and have a love child. The celery departs soon thereafter, and the potato thinks of their fleeting time together with fondness and longing. Skating around the edges of their unlikely love affair is a McIntosh apple, contributing to the tableau all of its faint spiciness but none of its obvious sweet or sour."

Fairly accurate, isn't it? I always forget how much I like parsnips.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sweater progress

My sweater is coming along nicely. I'm almost done with the torso, and then I'll knit the sleeves. Here's a picture:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

So a new Trader Joe's opened up within walking distance. I went to check it out yesterday and was pleasantly surprised (their other space in New York is not great). This location was large, airy and filled with yummy, inexpensive goodies. So I bought some pumpkin pancake mix, stood in line and approached the cashier. She asked me if I'd ever tried it before. I said I hadn't, and asked, "Is it good?" She said yes, and then another woman working nearby asked what we were talking about. My cashier told her, and they giggled.

Walking home, I got paranoid. Maybe the mix was really terrible, and that was why they giggled. But I made the pancakes this morning, with sliced fresh strawberries and a drizzle of maple syrup, and they were really good.

Monday, October 11, 2010

My sweater, so far:

Monday meme

1. Do your pants get hung on a hanger or folded?
Folded.

2. If you were stranded on an island, what three things would you need to have with you (not including humans or electronic devices)?
Books, knitting, food.

3. Where is the farthest you have traveled to?
Venice, Italy.

4. Do you live in a house, trailer or apartment?
Apartment.

5. What is your most hated household chore?
I actually don't hate household chores that much anymore. But laundry is the most cumbersome because you have to take all the clothes downstairs to the laundry room.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Getting some culture

I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art today. I can't believe I've never been there before. Part of it is, it's not close to me at all. To get there, I have to walk to the east side, then take a fairly long subway ride. But it was worth it. The building itself was enormous and beautiful. Inside, there were many, many lovely pieces of art. I kept getting lost and ending up in the Greek/Roman and French Impressionist sections...but maybe those are just the ones I liked best.

Then I came home and popped a white bean gratin in the oven.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Not too much going on. Today was a very cold, raw day, so I'm making green split pea soup with barley for supper. I also happen to be knitting a green sweater. The pattern is here, though I'm making it in a different shade with a smoother-textured yarn.

My Nantucket reading continues with Summer House by Nancy Thayer. I like it.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Lately I have only been reading books that are set on Nantucket. This is by accident, not design. Although...I haven't been there in 9 years. I wouldn't mind going again someday. I think E would enjoy the beaches. We did take him to the beach once this summer, but it was frightfully hot. At one point he fell asleep against my leg.

D is trying to eat healthier (this is quite a turnaround for someone who used to avoid vegetables, despite being vegetarian). So when I made capellini with tomato pesto tonight, I used whole-wheat pasta instead. And you know what? It actually tasted better.

Tomorrow night I am planning to make black bean burgers with salsa mayonnaise. I know it sounds gross, but I am looking forward to it. I love both salsa and mayonnaise. And guacamole (though I won't mix that in).

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Having trouble sleeping. I'm reading Winter Solstice by Rosamund Pilcher and Plum Pudding Murder by Joanne Fluke. 110 pages into the former and about 4 pages into the latter, at which point I got restless and wandered into the kitchen for grapes.

I'm in the midst of a spell of gift knitting. I'm on my third pair of mittens, and that will be it for a while. One can only make so many mittens.

I had a peak food experience today. I took E to this elevated park. There's a little stand serving apple cider doughnuts and little crackly bags of pumpkin spice doughnut holes with a small container of icing for dipping. I told the girl behind the counter that I usually got the apple cider doughnuts, and asked how the pumpkin spice doughnut holes were. "Those are delicious," she said with conviction, "and they just got out of the oven." So of course I got them.

They were unspeakably fabulous, warm and melty, and the icing was equally delicious. I may have scraped the excess icing out of the container with my finger.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The pile


All from the library :)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Here's the mitten I just finished. I really like this pattern. When you make mittens with bulky wool, instead of worsted weight, it's much faster, and the finished product is cuter and cozier as well...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

I am making some mittens that I love. I broke the yarn fast today, buying some bulky Madeline Tosh in a colorway called "Molly Ringwald." The shade is pale pink. I don't know why I resisted this pattern for so long. I guess the strange gauge (2 1/4 stitches per inch) and the woven cuff scared me off. I shouldn't have been afraid. The pattern is in Speed Knitting by Kris Percival. She has never led me wrong yet.

I finished The Blue Bistro and am a little bit in mourning for it. I added a bunch of Elin Hilderbrand books to my library hold list. Now I'm reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which doesn't grip me as much as a novel would, but is quite interesting. Bear in mind I almost never read nonfiction.

Friday, September 17, 2010

All good things are possible

I'm in a good mood right now :) The exterminator came, our kitchen is clean (though we still have to move everything back into the kitchen - I've made a dent, but there are still many trash bags filled with cookware, plates and spices in our living room). I'm reading The Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand, which I love...I read Barefoot by her before, thought it was OK, and couldn't get into The Island. This one is about the restaurant business and I'm eating up the descriptions. Hand-cut potato chips with creme fraiche and caviar...yum! (Well, except for the caviar.) And banana French toast with chocolate syrup...

I also thought you should all know that I haven't bought yarn since late August, and can't remember the last time I bought clothes. The book fast didn't last, of course...but I *am* using the library more.

Monday, September 13, 2010

So I read that Lady Gaga wore a dress made out of meat to the Video Music Awards...truly disturbing. And yet, I think she might have some staying power. She doesn't seem to care what others think about her and is willing to shake up her image.

I went to MA for the weekend. While it was nice to visit family and get in touch with my roots, I also came down with a serious cold. Or maybe just turbo-allergies. Either way, it's unpleasant. I poured some boiling water into a stainless steel bowl and let the steam waft up...I think that may have helped as much as anything. Hopefully things will be better tomorrow.

On the reading front, I'm slightly past the middle of Healer by Carol Cassella...she's a doctor who majored in English undergrad...so she has an English major sensibility, but lots of medical knowledge. It's kind of a cool mix. I also read Oxygen by her (nothing to do with the network), but I like this one better.

A bunch of books are also waiting for me at the library...The House at Riverton, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Sarah's Key, The Forgotten Garden...

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Insomnia again

Hello. For some reason, I'm having trouble sleeping again. Which is the very reason I started this blog back in 2005.

Anyway...I made it through 500+ pages of Outlander and then had to drop it in the library bin after all the grotesque violence Jamie had to endure in prison. I couldn't deal with the description of his mangled right hand. Or the nefarious Captain Randall, who was just too thoroughly evil to be believable. So...bye-bye, Outlander. I am now reading No One You Know by Michelle Redmond and enjoying it quite a bit. It feels like my type of book.

Finally...an exterminator came today. He surveyed the kitchen cabinets and said, "This is serious. I'll come back next Wednesday with a bomb." Yes, he really did say that. So our kitchen will be bombed a week hence, and no one can be in the house for 3-4 hours afterward. Then we can go in and sweep up the dead bodies, he told us.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Insomnia

So I'm reading Outlander, a long but interesting time-travel tome...I have about 200 pages left. I've checked out the rest of the series on Amazon, and each entry got solid reviews except #5 and #7. So perhaps I will read #2, #3, #4 and #6...However, they are all at least 600 pages long (one is almost 1000) and thus represent a major time suck...So I may read other books in between.

I went to the hairdresser today. It is funny how a cut and color can make you feel like a new woman.

My favorite season is here. It may not be officially fall until September 21st or whatever, but I've always felt autumn begins on Labor Day. This was the grossest, sweatiest summer in history and I'm glad it is over.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Well...I ended up caving with the books. I know. That was fast. In my defense, the only branch library in easy walking distance is tiny, so I have to use interlibrary loan, and it takes forever. It used to be faster; I think there were budget cuts. So anyway. We took a family trip to Borders. I got:

Outlander, Diana Gabaldon
No One You Know, Michelle Redmond
The Tale of Halcyon Crane, Wendy Webb

I've started Outlander.

I'm still going strong with the clothes and yarn. I have 3 projects on the needles: this, this and this.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

So...no idea if I'll follow through with this or not...I was thinking about seeing how long I could go without buying clothes, yarn or books. I'm going to give it a try.

Today I watched The Last Days of Disco, directed by Walt Stillman. I think Chloe Sevigny is always good (although she definitely has an edge) and the director had a good feel for the ups/downs of female friendships, and their competitiveness, particularly in the early 20s. I also liked Metropolitan from the same director. So I added Barcelona (his third film) to my Netflix queue.

The baby question? I am kind of leaning toward yes. But I'm giving myself a number of months to think about it.

Friday, August 27, 2010

So today I got together with a friend I hadn't seen in 10 years. She helped me move to New York. I remember I moved on Memorial Day weekend in 1999...so I got one of the last U-Haul trucks available. We had to take a train to a remote field to pick it up, and it seemed to be hanging together on a spit and a prayer. And then I drove that thing over the Triborough Bridge through the Bronx and into Manhattan. The beginning of an era.

My friend was refreshingly the same...though in some respects, we are both older and wiser. We've been in contact for a while, and during some of those lost years, she lived in Colombia and China. We went to Veselka, everyone's favorite Ukrainian diner (apparently not Polish, as I had thought) where I noshed on a veggie burger with sweet potato fries and avocado-wasabi mayonnaise and she got a turkey Cobb salad. (I am still adjusting to the fact that she is no longer vegetarian.)

She met E for the first time, and I think it was safe to say she was enchanted...both with his curly hair and the way he leaned against her as he sipped from his bottle. I have (sshh!! very tentative, people!) been thinking about having another child. No time soon. Maybe a year from now. Maybe not. I love children but....I would like a better sleeper this time. Maybe one of those little bundles who sleeps through the night at 7 weeks with no parental intervention. Because they're out there, I've heard of them.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A great song:



I have 3 books in my pile: Last Night at Chateau Marmont by Lauren Weisberger; The Good Daughters by Joyce Maynard; and Up from the Blue by Susan Henderson. They all look enjoyable in different ways. I have a couple more advance reviewer copies coming my way, including Juliet by Anne Fortier. I sampled it in the bookstore and it looks like fun.

And this weekend, an old friend from college is coming to visit. *happy dance*

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Anthologist, and a new lullaby

I'm reading The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker. For a book with such a dry title, it's excellent. It's also different from any other book I've read. For some reason, his writing style makes me think he is British, but nope, he lives in Maine.

A friend of mine put up a link to a song on Facebook - "Take This Job and Shove It." I played it out of idle curiosity. I thought it would be a bit punk, like The Police's early song, "Dead End Job." But no, it's kind of a laid-back country twang of a song. E loved it. Every time it ended, he chirped, "Again," and he actually fell asleep to it, a bit early because he had no nap today. As I was carrying him to his crib, he started crying and said, "Again!" so I grabbed my laptop, pressed Play, and stationed it in front of his crib. He dozed off in no time.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Grr. I just read a book I really didn't like. Ever read a book you want to erase? This one was called You Lost Me There, by Rosecrans Baldwin.

A while back I had been thinking of getting a tarot reading. Finally, I went. I actually did think the reading was accurate and I got a lot out of it. I doubt she was psychic or anything, I think she was just good at reading people and able to give common-sense advice. So it was helpful. Among other things, she advised me to get back into writing. So I've been doing some, and enjoying it.

I've been thinking a bit about various Internet time-wasters. I don't count this blog among them. But I think, other than blogging, I'll be cutting back on my Internet time.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

So I just saw Eat Pray Love with my friend T. First we had a delicious lunch. They bring you a basket of small corn muffins, which were the nice crumbly yet moist kind, and then I had a salad with apples, walnuts, gorgonzola melted on little toasts, and honey-Dijon dressing. It was as good as it sounds.

In the movie, Julia Roberts first goes to Indonesia to see Ketut (a "wise man"), then back to New York, then to Italy, India and finally Bali. I thought Bali was fantastically beautiful. I kind of want to go there, but it is probably a 14-hour flight.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hello! I just wanted to let you know that I am reading Slow Love by Dominique Browning. She's a former editor of House & Garden who lost her job and then wrote this memoir. I'm really enjoying it. She's sly and witty and has interesting observations about eavesdropping (e.g., that at a restaurant, someone is always listening to your conversation, just as you're listening to theirs). I may have to monitor myself :)

Also, there are little snippets in this book that I love, including this one: "I get to the point where I am looking for muffin recipes in obscure corners of the web late at night, and forgetting to take note of where I've been, so that by morning, the muffins are gone, like a dream, eloquent about my desires, but never to be recovered."

On Saturday, I'm going to see Eat Pray Love with a friend. I'm hoping it will be good.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

So I went out on my customary after-dinner walk and two amusing things happened. First, I spotted Philip Seymour Hoffman. He was eating at an outdoor cafe right near Hudson and Gansevoort, and I believe he was eating with two children. He smirked when I recognized him. I've noticed this is a pattern among celebrities - the men are flattered, while the women run away (including Susan Sarandon, my very first celebrity in 1999, and Patricia Clarkson, who was terrified when I recognized her in B&N once. But of course I followed the New York code of not saying anything). The one exception to the running-away rule was Tyra Banks, who smiled and said, "Hi!" when I recognized her at a restaurant. She was eating at the table next to ours, in fact. (This was long before E...it was not a restaurant where you would bring your kids.)

The second amusing thing was that I went to a liquor store to buy a bottle of Riesling. The cashier gave me a suspicious look and I knew what was coming. Folks, this is the 3rd time I've been carded since my 35th birthday...which was not even a month ago. Absurd, yet flattering.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Addicted

So I'm usually not into TV...we haven't even had TV service since E was born. We just weren't watching. Our TV isn't even hooked up. (I watch DVDs on my computer.) Then I saw Thomas Jane on the side of a bus and decided to rent Hung from Netflix. I am well and truly addicted...but the bad news is, I just finished watching Season 1. Season 2 is still in progress, on HBO, and not available from Netflix yet.

I went to hbo.com/hung, believing I could watch the episodes there...but no. They just have recaps. No luck at hulu.com, either.

(Someone solved the problem for me. Thanks!)

Monday, August 02, 2010

I wrote a post earlier, asking for book suggestions, but E and I went to the library and took care of it:

Sunday, August 01, 2010

So I just got back from Connecticut. All kinds of traveling snafu, and Connecticut is confirmed as my least favorite New England state, but it was a fun time all the same. I enjoyed seeing my friend - an old friend from work who now lives in Maine. He also brought his sister, whom I hadn't met before, and his ex, whom I met 14 years ago. They were both very excited to gamble. I held back - I'm always afraid I'll lose money - but my friend's sister won $71.75! His ex was very excited and insisted on using that machine the rest of the night. I went to bed after the concert, so I don't know yet if the machine brought them more luck.

The concert itself was good. They played a lot of their 70s music, but did play "Alone" and "Never," two of my 80s favorites, as well as "These Dreams." I can't help but remember when I was 12, in 1987, and "Alone" was at the top of the charts - and now their concert tickets cost less than the taxi ride from Foxwoods to the train station. Yet they both seemed happy, even if they are not currently making hits.

Foxwoods is enormous and surrounded by a primeval forest (yes, in the middle of Connecticut!) The trees were stunning to look at. Inside the casino, they had many shops. I got two cute T-shirts for E at the M&M store:

Saturday, July 31, 2010

So...first off, thanks for all your underwear advice. I have tried several of your suggestions and so far Hanes is the clear winner. I recommend them :)

The two books I've read most recently: Talking to Girls About Duran Duran by Rob Sheffield and Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner.

Duran Duran: Sheffield is a rock journalist for Rolling Stone and writes about music in a fun, engaging manner.

Fly Away Home: I thought this was Weiner's best book since Little Earthquakes. I loved all the characters.

And today...I am going to Connecticut to see Heart with a friend. And then I am done traveling for a while...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bearette's first highlights

So I went all crazy!! and got highlights at the salon today. My hairdresser said, "No way...you're getting highlights?!?" She has been waiting for this day. Anyway, here are the results:



Monday, July 26, 2010

Monday meme

Haven't done one of these in a while.

Questions:

1. What one food could you eat every single day?
Watermelon.

2. Do you wear glasses or contacts?
Nope.

3. What kind of cell phone do you have?
A Blackberry!! I actually don't like talking on the phone, but I love it for texting and emailing.

4. What did you have for dinner last night?
Baked ziti. I make it with Muenster and Parmesan instead of ricotta. Everyone loves it, even my choosy-eater son.

5. What is your favorite candy?
I don't eat candy very often, but I do like Snickers.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Heart cowl

Here is a heart cowl I made - the pattern is over at Ravelry:


Cowls are the new black, if you ask me. I've never truly loved scarves, making or wearing them. Cowls are a nice substitute, easy to make, yet fertile ground for fun patterns.

I saw The Kids Are All Right today - nothing to do with The Who song. I'm still mulling it over. I like Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo - and yet they put him in a role where he is kind of, in his own words, "a tool."

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The pile

I'm currently reading Kaaterskill Falls by Allegra Goodman. I enjoyed The Cookbook Collector so much that I decided to delve into her previous works. I've tried Intuition several times (always from the library) and I just can't get into it. This time I got as far as the lab mice they are using to study tumors in vivo. I just can't read that stuff.

Coincidentally, Allegra Goodman is reading at a park near me on July 29th. I am thinking about going, though honestly, it is stinking hot here and sometimes it is better to be indoors with the A/C and fan.

I got Election from the library because I've read everything else by Tom Perrotta, but he doesn't seem to want to write anything new. I delayed reading this one because I've already seen the movie.

Linger is the sequel to Shiver, which I liked...kind of a benign rip-off of Twilight, starring werewolves. Also with better writing.

Jennifer Weiner is an old favorite. I met her at a bookstore reading years ago and took a picture of us with a crappy cell phone camera. I still have it somewhere.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A forbidden topic

Today, we are going to talk about underwear.

I had some old underwear that I love. It wasn't in the best shape, though. I tried getting some new panties at Old Navy, but they changed the cut (on all styles, apparently), so that they ride high on your bottom, and it's not very comfortable. Anyway.

So: I'm looking to you, blog friends, to tell me about your favorite underwear. A few guidelines: I don't like thongs or grammy panties (I find both uncomfortable in different ways). I like bikini panties that cover my bottom, don't ride up and are comfortable. It just occurred to me: maybe Target is a good place to get them? There isn't one in New York, not in Manhattan anyway, but there is always good old Target.com.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

So, in case you didn't notice, I got a new blog template. I like the rosy color, but I'm a little put off by the chunky thing at the bottom of each post that lets you share the post with Facebook, Twitter, etc. I don't want to share - I like to keep my online worlds separate! (Kind of.) So if anyone knows how to get rid of that awkward thing, it would be much appreciated. (I went through the settings tab, but no clues.)

Just finished The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Her writing style is prosaic, but her discoveries are worth reading. I liked this quote:

The least strained and most natural ways of the soul are the most beautiful; the best occupations are the least forced. -Michel de Montaigne

I tried to read Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name by Vendela Vida, but it was just too depressing. On to better books.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I'm reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin - a study of what makes people happy - and came across the following quote:

"Both men and women find relationships with women to be more intimate and enjoyable than those with men. For both men and women, the most reliable predictor of not being lonely is the amount of contact with women. Time spent with men doesn't make a difference."

I thought that was interesting. I wonder if little boys fall in the same category as women, though. E is quite cozy...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I saw this question over at Caro's blog and liked it. If you could pick a decade to live in, which would it be? I would choose the 70s. I like the avocado and orange color scheme, the shaggy hair, the disco, the relaxed spirit, and I think the level of "conveniences" was not yet high enough to be inconvenient. Of course, I might just be nostalgic for this decade because I was born in 1975 :)

I saw DMB last night. I thought they were inconsistent. I loved some of the older songs, and he really did improvise and change them around live, often for the better. But unfortunately most of the songs were from this new album, something about a whiskey king, and were just not my style. Plus, I am a mother now, and started to yawn around 10:30. So I slipped out then. Amazingly, the train from Citifield (where the Mets play, and the concert was held) to Penn Station is only 17 minutes.

Friday, July 16, 2010

So a friend of mine, on Facebook, announced that she has an extra ticket to see Dave Matthews on Saturday night. I'm going! I'm very excited. I wanted to see him in 1998, but was unable to get tickets.

In other news, I'll be seeing Heart in a couple of weeks, in Connecticut. I was invited by an old friend from work, who has been dying to see Heart his whole life. I am looking forward to hearing their 80s hits.

Funny how life works, isn't it? I can't even remember the last concert I went to - sometime before giving birth, I'm sure - maybe Madonna in 2006? and here I am going to two concerts in a month.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

So my 35th birthday is coming up. I am not viewing it with total dread. I made a point of scheduling a party for that night. So I'll be at a yummy Indian restaurant with friends, and I plan to have at least one Indian Rose (a cocktail with a rose petal floating on top). Years ago, my sister-in-law ate the petal, just to see if it was edible. Her words: "You can eat it, but I wouldn't recommend it."

My book pile is quite huge. I picked up two extra books at Books-a-Million in Chicago, and also hit the library. Here are the titles:

29 by Adena Halpern: About a seventy-something woman who time-travels back to age 29. She has several pearls of wisdom, such as: "Don't pluck your eyebrows completely off! They *won't* grow back." I don't pluck mine at all.

The Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives by Josie Brown: Looks completely trashy, but maybe fun.

What I Thought I Knew by Alice Eve Cohen: Memoir of a woman who finds herself divorced and pregnant in her 40s.

Beachcombers by Nancy Thayer: Summer trash.

The Island by Elin Hilderbrand: See above.

The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O'Farrell: Currently reading this one. It's written by the author of The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox. This one has a similar surreal feeling.

Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name and The Lovers, both by Vendela Vida (Dave Eggers' girlfriend/wife?).

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

So I just got back from Chicago, it was very nice (kind of a combination of St. Louis and New York), but I think it will be my last plane trip for a while. I am just kind of planed out.

While there, I finished The Cookbook Collector, which I loved. Except...they had to work in this whole 9/11 thing at the end. I hate it when they do that.

Currently reading Olive Kitteridge. Which is well written but very, very depressing. They are actually short stories (I hadn't realized, because it looks like a novel), with a few characters in common.

Got an ARC of The Good Psychologist to review. So yeah, all set with books for a while.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

The pile


Here is this week's pile. I am currently finishing The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, which I am loving. When we were at Barnes & Noble yesterday, E snagged a sticker book. His favorite place to put the stickers is his chest :)

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Here's a hat I finished today:


I'm thinking of knitting a yellow cable scarf next.

It's too hot to exert myself much. I had a piece of apple pie with (subtle) crunchy topping and just a hint of vanilla ice cream at lunch. It was delicious.

I watched a movie on Netflix called Cashback. It was not for everyone - too much nudity, for one thing - but I liked the quirky British narrator and how the actors all looked like real people. The idea of freezing time was also interesting.

Monday, July 05, 2010

So we took E to the beach yesterday with two friends. I slathered on sunscreen and then I romped in the ocean, assuming the sunscreen was waterproof. Um, it wasn't. Fortunately my skin has always been a bit olive, so I didn't burn, or at least too seriously; I do have one red patch. But I put a bunch of lotion on today and it feels much better.

One of my friends recently had a baby, and another is about to. Neither woman is married. It's interesting to me how there are so many ways to come into the world - planned, unplanned, parents married, parents not married. I saw a 3-D ultrasound of the growing baby. She looked peaceful.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Cable shrug and Chicago

So here is the shrug I finished, from the back. The back is more interesting than the front. I'm not going to bother with the brooch; it looks perfectly fine left open.

I'm going to Chicago not this weekend, but next. Whee! Hopefully it will be different enough from New York to be an adventure. While there, I will meet up with a friend I haven't seen in 13 years. So that will be fun.

Tomorrow we are taking E to the beach. D bought him some sand toys in preparation. And we have a little yellow beach chair for him with a sun umbrella attached.

All about Eclipse

So I saw Eclipse today with a friend of mine from college. It's funny, when I saw the first two movies, I was firmly pro-Edward. This time, I was drawn to Team Jacob. He was just so sweet to Bella, and kept her warm at night in the tent! Edward is too cold (literally) to do that. And she has to die to be with him! That is too much to give up for a guy, if you ask me.

Afterward, T and I went to a restaurant for wine and dessert. She wanted her own dessert, though (not that I blame her), so I ended up having a whole pecan brownie with ice cream. And, um, two small muffins that they brought over in a basket. And, uh, a glass of Riesling. So, in other words, more than I eat in a week. I have food guilt.

Also, I've been having some trouble sleeping. D actually has a hypnosis thingy on his iPod Touch that is supposed to help you get to sleep. I'm going to try it tonight, if I remember.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

A perfect (gustatory) day

I think life is seldom perfect, but right now...I do have a perfect feeling in my belly. For lunch, D and I took E to an outdoor cafe, where we had veggie burgers with greens on the side. This dish is good, but never quite filling. So then I couldn't decide between a glass of Riesling or a slice of key lime pie...and decadently opted for both. It was delicious.

Later, when I got home with the baby, I ate a bit of cheese from the fridge. I may actually be a Frenchwoman deep down...I think there are few things more lovely than wine and cheese.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

It's so hot! I just got an inch of hair cut off and I feel much lighter. My hairdresser wrote down her last name for me so I could friend her on Facebook. It's the first time I've had a friendship with my hairdresser. Truth be told, the hairdresser before her was very rude. Also very inexpensive. But I realized it wasn't worth it. This one is six months younger than me, has a daughter, and is very nice. I've been going to her for a while.

Currently reading Father of the Rain by Lily King. It's more serious than the books I usually read, but I'm enjoying it.

I'm knitting a cable shrug. The construction of the shrug is a little unusual, but I wrapped my head around it, and the cable pattern itself is surprisingly simple. For some reason I thought the pattern would be harder than it was. I need to figure out where I can buy a brooch, preferably online. Any ideas? I like the one in the picture.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The pile

Here are my newest books. Out of last week's pile, I liked The One That I Want (about a woman who can see the future after visiting a gypsy. In the title, "the one" means "the life that I want", although honestly she isn't given much choice in the matter; she just sees what will happen) and Hothouse Flower (a really fun, original book about the "nine plants of desire" and a woman's journey to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, to find them).

The top book in this week's pile has a story associated with it. I was at Barnes & Noble, browsing, when a man who worked there asked, "Can I help you?" with more zeal than usual. I said, "No, thanks," and he said, "Come on." Then suddenly he pressed the book into my hands, saying, "This book was nominated for the Booker Prize, and since when does that happen with a comedy? It's pure joy," so decisively that I had to crack the cover. And what do you know, it did look good.

And then the cashier said, "You met ___." Apparently he recommends this book to everybody; and some people come back to get more recommendations from him.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Pile

The newest books! The top one is written by Allison Winn Scotch, whose previous novel had a Sliding Doors premise: she was able to go back and do it over again, try it differently, and see the results. So that was intriguing. So far, her new book is good, though I can't really tell what it's about yet.

The Girl on the Fridge is a short story collection. I usually prefer novels, but the stories are spiky and interesting.

Yoga for People Who Can't Be Bothered to Do It looks funny. It's apparently a travelogue of sorts, though the write-up says it is "unclassifiable." I got it at Spoonbill and Sugartown, a bookstore in Brooklyn that is a bit unclassifiable in its own right. I always see books I have never heard of before when I am there. They also have two cats, though one was in hiding.

Hothouse Flower looks like another travelogue, though fictional.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Yellow hat

So here is the hat I just finished. It's the first time I've knitted something yellow.


I'm also reading a book by Jane Green, called Promises to Keep. Her books are always like a warm bath.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Ethan Hawke sighting

So I saw Ethan Hawke today. I haven't seen him in a long time, but I'm pretty sure he lives in my neighborhood. Longtime readers of this blog may remember that I used to see him all the time. Anyway, it looks like he put on a little weight, which is a good look for him, and his hair was NOT greasy. Poor fellow, he was also on crutches. So, now you know. He actually looked the best of any time I've seen him. He was with a blonde chick I didn't recognize (not Uma or the light brown-haired nanny that he married).
Sometimes it's fun to knit with BIG yarn:

This is the Twilight Cowl, in raspberry.

Speaking of Twilight: I only read the first book in the series, I couldn't get into the second, but I like the movies. And the next one comes out June 30th. Yay!

I'm reading Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson. I think it's her best book yet. I've already read Gods in Alabama by her, and I have The Girl Who Stopped Swimming on hold at the library.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

It's done

So I finished my sweater:



It was fairly painless as sweaters go, and it took less than 3 skeins of worsted Malabrigo yarn. So it was inexpensive, too.

Good books I've read lately:

All Over the Map,
a memoir by Laura Fraser about traveling the world and rebuilding her life after 40. This was good enough that I placed her previous memoir, An Italian Affair, on hold despite its being told in the second person.

Seven Year Switch by Claire Cook. I think I must feel a bond with her because she is also from Massachusetts, but she is also a good writer. Fun, light, snappy with some hidden depths.

First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria by Eve Brown-Waite. Another memoir, this time about her stint in the Peace Corps (Ecuador) and subsequent trip to Uganda to help out with AIDS relief. I'm still reading this one. It has the unexpected effect of making me want to go to Uganda, though I probably won't.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

The Pile

I hope you all have a good weekend. I will be going to Massachusetts, where it will be 10 degrees cooler :)

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

So I finished the first sleeve of my sweater...woot! I've about had it with complex lace patterns, though. The next thing I knit is gonna be a cowl. The Twilight Cowl. This will come in handy for the Manhattan winter.

This weekend my baby is going to turn two. Two! Can't believe I have successfully guided him through two years. I must be a pretty awesome mother :)

I finished The Lace Reader from the library. It's set in Salem, about ten minutes from my childhood home. My mother worked there for many years. So the places in the book were very familiar to me. There was also an unreliable narrator. I always love those. Now I'm reading the next book by the same author - The Map of True Places. I guess I avoided these books for a while, fearing they would be sappy. But they're not. They're kind of punchy and surprising.

E is a true New York City baby - when we stepped outside the building to go to a wedding on Sunday, he said, "Taxi."

Saturday, May 29, 2010

I just saw SATC 2 with my friend T and loved it! It was so fun. The audience was all women and gay men. Knowing this, the movie played to both audiences...Liza Minnelli's performance of "All the Single Ladies" was worth the admission price.

It didn't make me want to go to Abu Dhabi any time soon, but I did enjoy it. If anything, I think it was better than the first. And does anyone else prefer Aidan to Big?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cherie Amour

So I finished the body of the Cherie Amour sweater...now I just have to do the sleeves! Pardon the unbrushed hair, etc., I just had the urge to try it on and take a picture for Ravelry.


I'm currently reading Five Days Apart by Chris Binchy (Maeve's nephew) - it's an advance reviewer copy from Amazon - and The Lace Reader from the library.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The library pile


I think I have enough books for a while. I'm currently reading Molly Fox's Birthday, having finished So Many Books, So Little Time (a sort of reading memoir).

The library only had The Broken Teaglass in large print. I hope this won't be too weird/distracting as I am reading.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Promises, Promises


So D and I went to see Promises, Promises on Broadway today. It was amazing. It was based on The Apartment (old black and white movie with Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine). For this showing, Kristin Chenoweth's role was played by an understudy, who was kind of lacking in charisma; but Sean Hayes, playing the Jack Lemmon role, was excellent. I really loved it, and would like to see it again. The play included the songs "I Say A Little Prayer For You" and "I'll Never Fall in Love Again."

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Here's a knitting picture for you:


This is my Cherie Amour sweater from Knitty, a few issues back. I stayed up way too late last night watching Same Time, Next Year. I really enjoyed it. It traced the lives of an unorthodox couple (Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn) from 1951 to 1976. Unorthodox because they were both married with 6 kids "between us," as Alda put it. They would meet once a year at an inn in California, and the movie included footage from famous news events between each meeting so the audience would be immersed in the times.

It was interesting to see how Ellen and Alan changed yet stayed fundamentally the same. My only complaint was how they played a song in the beginning for about 10 minutes instead of showing their first interaction with each other. You could see their mouths moving, but not hear what they were saying, because of the song.

Oh! And Ellen Burstyn always, always reminds me of my mother. I'm not sure why. If you're reading, I hope that doesn't bother you :)

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Pile

Here are some books I bought tonight:


The first book, Hotel Iris, is written by a woman who is better known for The Housekeeper and the Professor, which was a spare, elegant, Japanese book. This one looks a little more twisted, but interesting.

The second book is one of those books about reading. Sometimes I avoid these, but I liked Shelf Discovery, from the same genre, very much.

The third book is an Orange Prize finalist and looked interesting, in a slightly rambly, random, Molly Bloom-ish way.

The fourth book is told from the point of view of a woman whose children have put her in some kind of a home. She writes her recollections of her youth in Missouri, interspersed with modern-day goings-on in the nursing home (romances, etc.) I have a kind of fascination with this. I think assisted living and nursing homes have some very interesting communities.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

So I'm knitting a sweater and a tank top. They are both going to take a while - the sweater is, well, a sweater, and the tank top has TWELVE INCHES OF RIBBING on SIZE FIVE NEEDLES. So, yeah. When I am finished, or closer to finished, I'll put up some pictures.

Books. I know you like them. I just finished Arm Candy by Jill Kargman. I enjoyed it a lot. She's a really fun author who describes herself as a "trashy novelist" on Facebook, but she's smart too. Went to Yale, blah blah. Anyway, she's one of those people who writes books that are more meaningful than they seem. She's also funny, with lots of snappy dialogue and New York moments. So if you're looking for a light book that also has a Message (kind of), I recommend it.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Pile

Here it is:



I'm a little grumpy because E has a cold, which made him wake up, quite unhappy, a little before 5 am. He went back to sleep, but I didn't. And now I am coming down with said cold. But this, too, shall pass. I hope :)

Monday, May 10, 2010

I finished a shrug this morning. I'm very satisfied with it. Sometimes, like writing, a piece of knitting doesn't turn out exactly like you imagined...but this one did.


If you're interested in making it, the pattern is here.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Foliage


Here's a hat I finished today. The beginning was really hard, but I'm glad I persevered because I like the way it came out. The alpaca/silk yarn is very soft.

The pattern is called Foliage, and you can find it here.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Yogurt

I'm eating some yogurt that is just so good, I was moved to blog about it. It's Stonyfield Pomegranate Berry yogurt (and no, I'm not being paid to do this). I bought it because I was intrigued by the pomegranate. But I assumed it would be the standard-issue, lumps-of-fruit kind of deal. No! It's smooth and delicious. So, I'm recommending it to all of you.

I thought Stonyfield was kind of workmanlike before - nothing fancy, but does the job. However, this flavor is actively good.

What's your favorite yogurt?

Saturday, May 01, 2010



Here are some pics from my time in Memphis. I'm particularly pleased with the one of the Mississippi River. I think my cell phone camera might be better than my regular one.

Above is a pic of Priscilla Presley and Lisa Marie as a baby. It's hanging in the halls of Graceland. And the first picture is of the Peacock Room in Graceland.

I like it down here. It has a totally different flavor than the north. I like experiencing new things and places.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

More knitting, hipsters and books

Here is the first Alice's Mitt I finished. I actually liked it better than the Fetching pattern from Ravelry. I thought it was simple and elegant. Best of all, no thumb! You just slip the first stitch of each row to create the gap that your thumb fits through.


I don't remember when in the movies Alice wore these mitts...I remember a scene from New Moon where she and Bella are driving to meet the Volturi. Maybe it was then.

My book drought has ended. I started The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall. It has all the intrigue of Big Love, without getting bogged down in cult politics. This book is just focusing on the family. I can see the appeal of having sister wives...they would pick up the slack in a number of areas, including housework and child care.

Also, I was mulling over hipsters while having lunch with Poppy yesterday. I am intrigued by how they wear vintage shirts, play vinyl records and actually use Polaroid cameras...everything old is new again. I think nostalgia is at the root of their movement.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Wristwarmers/fingerless gloves



I always thought fingerless gloves were rather silly, but these ones (that I just finished making) are very cozy. I'm wearing them just because they feel nice.

I might make another pair next. They actually have a pair on Ravelry called Alice's Mitts, based on the mitts Alice Cullen wore in Twilight or New Moon. I know. But they're cute.

My reading life is a little unsatisfying these days. Right now I'm finishing up The Double Comfort Safari Club by Alexander McCall Smith. It's the eleventh entry in The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, and it's just starting to go downhill. I might skip the next one. His Isabel Dalhousie series is still good, though.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

So here is my newest project, Cleaves:


As you can see, it's a kind of combo of sweater and shrug - big puffy sleeves connected with a cowl. It's deliciously soft and warm, but hard to wear - the cowl keeps slipping down. I made it with Malabrigo yarn, which I always come back to. The yarn stores here don't seem to know it's the best and only yarn...they stock others, and not always enough of the Malabrigo. But what can you do?

I'm psyched to go to Memphis, mainly because it's like going to a foreign country without leaving the country. At an old friend's urging, I am going to (probably) take a riverboat cruise down the Mississippi (only 90 minutes, not one of those dinner/dance thingies) and I already have my ticket to tour Graceland and see Elvis's jets. Hehe. I am expecting it to be quite campy. I do tend to enjoy these things; I liked seeing Hearst's mansion in San Simeon.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

So I was feeling a bit stressed out, and decided to have a Mike's Hard Cranberry Lemonade. It's my drink of choice, not that I drink often, because it usually disrupts my sleep. But I was just in the mood to have it. E was intrigued by the bottle, kept looking at it and saying "bus" (for reasons known only to him).

I'm unveiling my mystery trip: Memphis! Should be fun. I think it will be campy and fun to see Graceland. I'm also looking forward to seeing the Mississippi River again and maybe taking a boat ride down it. I saw it years ago, in St. Louis. I would love to swim in it, though of course I won't.

My next random U.S. trip will probably be South Dakota. I've wanted to see Mount Rushmore ever since I saw North by Northwest.

Where do you want to go?

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Amanda Hat

So here's "The Amanda Hat" I just made from a pattern on Ravelry.





I really like it. It's quite soft; I made it with Madeline Tosh merino yarn. Some people on Ravelry complained that it was too big, but it fits my head perfectly. It may be my new favorite hat.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Here it is, folks. I screwed up the sewing part a bit (I hate sewing), but I think the knitting came out well.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The new pile

So I finished the second sleeve of the cardigan:



And here's the book I'm reading. Pretty cover, yes? The scarf, the mittens, the peach:



The full pile:



*And* I'm taking an exciting trip in a couple of weeks. I'm not going to tell you where, just yet. Suspense is good for you :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cardigan progress

So I'd say I'm 80% done with the cardigan. I have to do one more sleeve, then pick up and knit some stitches around the neckband, and seam the sleeves onto the body. Here are some pics of the body and the sleeve I've already done, while being blocked on the bed:




I've never blocked a garment before, but now I can say I'm a fan. It really helped open up the lace pattern and show off the yarn-overs to their best advantage :)