Saturday, December 15, 2007

I heart Doris Day movies

Sweater Progress

I finished the first sleeve last night. This is a really great pattern if you are looking for a
cardigan. It is easy to follow and you can alter the length and width pretty easily to fit you. And trying it on as I go is great for getting the right fit and the right sleeve length.

Movies
I watched "A Touch of Mink" last night, starring Doris Day and Cary Grant. I love Doris Day movies. She's plays the innocent young single woman from the midwest trying to make it in New York City so well. The blantant sexism is this Doris Day movie in particular was both funny and disturbing. In 2007 we look at this type of movie very differently than men and women did when the movie was made in 1962. One big shocker for me was Cathy (Day) and Mr. Shayne (Grant) going on vacation together and they weren't married. This movie straddles a lot of social mores and was probably racy when it came out. There are a lot of things that made me scratch my head, but the biggest one was the fact that she called him Mr. Shayne!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

What's the point, really

Ok, fair warning, my snark is continuing today.

In today's mail I got a Christmas card from my older brother. Nice gesture, his way of reaching out (we don't really talk), it's all fine. But it wasn't in his handwriting! What's the point of sending cards if you aren't even going to sign them yourself?

As crazy as it sounds, I hope that he hired someone to sign and mail them. Because the only thing worse than that would be if his icky girlfriend did them for him.

Oh, sweetness, we need to talk...

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Knitting and snark

Here's the progress on the Top Down Raglan.



This sweater is customizable: buttonholes, shaping, sleeve length, body length. I bought this yarn (Queensland Collection, Katmandu DK) when I was in Nags Head this summer, $7 a ball, and I love the color and feel. It is wool, cashmere, and silk and feels perfect for this cardigan. I am breezing along. The pattern is really easy. This is my first foray into buttonholes and they aren't nearly as scary as I thought they would be. I bind off 2 stitches and then cast them back on the next row.

I took a drive to Frederick, Md., today to poke around and do some Christmas shopping. There are some really nice stores in the downtown, art galleries, restaurants, coffee shops. Its fun to browse.

One present for me was "I Bitch, Therefore I Am." Have you seen this new theme of books and cards? The writers use images from old advertising from the 50s and 60s, mostly of women coiffed, pearled, and high-heeled, in the kitchen beeming with joy over the fact that they are cooking and cleaning for their families. They are paired with snarky, sarcastic, histerical captions. They are the funniest things EVER. And they don't get old, no matter how many times you read them. Another really funny line is by Anne Taintor. Here's one example of the snark:


It reads the tree wouldn't be the only one getting lit this year

When I was with my college friends this summer, Becky introduced us to these books. We were laughing so hard, tears rolling down our faces. The husbands didn't really get it, and the kids were perplexed at what was making all the ladies so hysterical.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Do I really need another scarf?

I have finished my open wave lace scarf, and I love it. The pattern is unique, which I always look for in a scarf, although I would not call it lace necessarily. And the colors in the yarn look pretty cool. I think I might try this pattern with a solid color yarn, it will probably look very different.

I am also working on a couple of buttonhole bags for Christmas gifts. I started the second one watching “Ugly Betty” last night and should be able to finish it by the end of the weekend.

Movies
I saw "American Gangster" last weekend to celebrate my friend's birthday. We tried to go to bowling at Lucky Strike but there was a 2 hour wait for a lane. Whatever! The movie was very good, great characters and storyline. A little violent, though. "The Kingdom" was the same: great story but pretty violent. Is it me, or are the movies getting violent again?

I always wonder where the movie producers get the cars and other paraphernalia, like office equipment, clothes, shoes, from the period of the movie. Like the late-60s and early-70s depicted in "AG." It is so important to the telling of the story.



Saturday, October 06, 2007

On the sticks

This is a fun scarf I have been working on here and there. I bought this yarn (Koigu Kersti Merino Crepe) in Asheville over the summer knowing I wanted to make a scarf. I thought that would have been something along the lines of this Zig-Zag scarf, minus the color change, or something similarly diagonal. I did not really like the way the color of this yarn was working, but I did want something more daring than a straight rib because I really like this yarn and wanted to do it justice.

This pattern is called open wave lace, from The Complete Book of Knitting by Barbara Abbey. I found this book a few years ago at a used bookstore for $2.00 and it is such a great resource.

On a completely different note, I was downtown shopping today after my volunteering gig at the American Art Museum and saw a shockingly ugly cross dresser. It was like your father put on a pretty turquoise flouncy skirt, matching sleeveless blouse, the sneakers he wears when he mows the grass, your mother's ugliest pink lipstick, his handbag, and he's ready for a day downtown. If you want to dress like a woman put some effort into it please! Besides my freight, I had a very good shopping day.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

NYC Weekend

I tried out the newest cheap bus to NYC, DC2NY this weekend. It was comfortable, only $40 round trip, the stop is a block from my office parking garage, so it all worked out beautifully.

My friend Del moved to Conn. for a new job so I went to go see him for about 24 hours. We had a blast tooling around the city. I think I finally figured out the subway which is such a bonus. We hit the Metropolitan Museum and the roof deck where there is some art and drinks! And a great view. We had dinner at an African restaurant in Harlem that night. He was thrilled to see so many Africans around, being from Nigeria and all.

On Sunday we did not get a very early start so it was a little rushed. We stumbled upon Artie's Delicatessen in the upper West Side for some breakfast and then rushed around the Natural History Museum for about an hour before having to get back down to Penn Station so I could catch the bus back.

New York is such a wonderful place. Activity abounds, and the culture of the people who live there is amazing. So much fun. We are already planning my next trip when we will explore Soho, Tribeca, and Greenwich Village.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Why do I get such pleasure from throwing away his toothbrush?


I broke up with Doug this week. We weren’t going in the same direction so I had to end it. He wanted a casual relationship dressed in a serious relationship’s clothing. Kind of strange, actually, that was a first for me. Nice guy, he just needs a little time to get his new life formed. I told him pretty much right off that I am looking to get married. Not to him necessarily, but that is the goal. Casual if fun, but I am done with it. No hard feelings.


But I get such pleasure in throwing away the toothbrush. Wonder why?

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Gift knitting

I am planning on making some felted bags for Christmas gifts this year. My experiment with the French Market bag was a success this summer so I will continue felting. There are so many neat things out there including these flower embellishments. People are so clever. I am always amazed and inspired.

This time I am going to try the Buttonhole Bag from Mason Dixon Knitting. Here is some yarn I bought when I was in vacation in the Outer Banks a few weeks ago. I like the heathered colors, I think that will give the solid felted fabric some depth and interest.

Friday, August 24, 2007

K-Mart ad sends the wrong message

Have you seen the back-to-school ad from K-Mart? The little girl is going to do well in the new school year because her clothes look so good. The little boy is going to do well because he has a backpack for all of his books.

What’s up with that? These messages of materialism and girls needing to look the right way to do well in life start so early. It is very discouraging.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

It is still summer, people

Why is it that the first time the temperature drops below 70 degrees in this city everyone pulls out their winter clothes? It makes me laugh, every summer. I saw dark jackets, sweaters over long sleeve shirts, and what could have been wool pants on the bus this morning. Don’t worry people, was have a lot of 90 degree days ahead of us!

I am back from my vacation to Asheville and the Outer Banks (N.C). I had a wonderful time, saw so much great fine art and crafts, bought pottery and jewelry and a quirky painting in Asheville. Relaxed on the beach and saw some beautiful scenery on the Outer Banks. The 1,863 miles of driving was worth it. But you won’t see me behind the wheel for a little while. I love my car, but we have had enough together time.

I also did some yarn shopping, at Yarn Paradise in the Biltmore Village in Asheville, and I stumbled across this neat little yarn shop in Manteo, in the Outer Banks, called Kimbeeba. I found some nice (read: cheap) felting yarn there for some Christmas presents I am going to make.

My test of the mini clapotis is a success I think. So successful that I am considering making the full size version. Is it too much red, though, at full-size?



Monday, August 06, 2007

Summer Vacation 2007

My solo adventure to North Carolina starts Thursday morning. I will be on the road by 6 AM to reach Asheville by mid-afternoon. Part of the trip will be on the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway which starts in northern Virginia and goes all the way to the Great Smoky Mountains. I will have plenty of music to listen to and David Sedaris’s books on CD to keep me entertained. I do not do well on long car trips so I think this will be my biggest challenge. I get bored and antsy holed up in a car for too long.

I am keeping myself free most of the time to explore the city of Asheville but I have booked a half-day whitewater rafting trip on the Nantahala River and I found a couple of yoga studios. My first stop Friday is a massage to unkink after the long drive, I expect it to take 8+ hours. Asheville is home to the Biltmore Estate, home of the Vanderbilts, and I am feeling more of an obligation to visit than any desire so that will be Plan B on Sunday. It looks interesting for a couple of hours which does not justify the $40 admission fee. I think I am going to have the most fun wandering around visiting the shops and art galleries and trying all of the different restaurants I have been reading about in downtown.

After 3 full days in Asheville I jump back in the car for another 8 hour drive, due east, to Nags Head in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Ahhh, the beach. To me nothing is more relaxing than a chair and an umbrella on the sandy shore. Everyone in this area (Washington, DC) goes to the Outer Banks but I have never been.

My biggest angst last night after finishing all of my laundry and burning some CDs was what knitting projects to bring. I am still plodding along with the ballerina wrap sweater, I am mid-sleeve-#2, so I am definitely bringing that. But I want to bring something else. I swatched some sock yarn I bought last year for a possible go at the mini-Clapotis reworked by Yarn Dreams. It’s a possibility. I like the colors, vibrant for a winter scarf.


Friday, July 27, 2007

When it rains it pours

This week has been a whirlwind of social activities. When it rains it pours! Does that happen to you? I met Kani, from IntellectConnect, on Monday at the Four Courts; dinner at David Greggory with my friend Linda who was here from Florida for a few days; Wed. I bailed on MeetUp; Thurs. is yoga night. Tomorrow I volunteer and then go to the Walters with Christina. Sunday I am meeting Young Dave, finally, for a beer.

The Highlight

The trip to Gettysburg last Saturday with the Capital Hiking Club was so much fun. Our guide, Larry, was a wealth of information. And there were other Civil War buffs/experts on the hike who added even more information.

All of the people in our group were so pleasant and easy to talk to. Ages ranged from 10 to 70-ish, men, woman, singles, couples. In the end I am so glad I went alone. I had invited the Craiglist girls but no one ended up signing up. That group is getting on my nerves, but more about that later. If I had been with people I knew, I don’t think I would have mingled. So alone can be better.

And I even got a date out of it! Bonus. I was totally not expecting that.

Tonight I am off to Sears to buy a new garbage disposal. My glamorous life!

Knitting

I posted the before and after dimensions and pictures of the French Market Bag to Flickr (see the box in the right column). I would say it shrunk about 25% in the felting process in the washing machine. I have a feeling it won’t shrink so much when hand-felted. But I need to do some experimenting.

Friday, July 20, 2007

First Felted Bag

Knitting

Here’s my finished French Market Bag. Isn’t is cool? I am really excited about this felting thang. I am thinking Christmas presents.

Here’s the before picture so you can see how much is shrunk. Pretty dramatic.


When I was in RI last week I used my mother’s washing machine to perform my first felting experiment. I would say it was a success. I feared that the two purples that I chose were too subtle next to each other but they aren’t at all in the finished piece.

While this whole thing was easy to knit and the felting is cool, the shape of this bag is not going to be that useful for me I don’t think. The sides aren’t really that high and the straps aren’t long enough.

But next time I will know how to alter the pattern. I also think the next time I will hand felt which will give me more control. The washing machine was pretty rough and I left it in about 8 minutes, a little longer than I had wanted, but I got distracted watching “What Not to Wear.”

Love that show. And the few episodes I caught when I was getting my fill of cable TV at my parents house featured very willing and cooperative participants. Sometimes they are awful, kicking and screaming through every step, from new clothes, to hair, to makeup. Jeez, they are making you over, have fun with it.


Dating

Well, I think I am inadvertently online dating again.

In my daily scouring I regularly saw a post on Craigslist for Seeking Intellectually Curious Who Love Fine Arts? Have you seen it?

So I click on the above mentioned post to find intellectconnect.com, a new free online dating and friending site. I questioned whether I was smart enough for these potential dates. But I jumped in (I think the FREE was the hook I needed), created a profile, and then kind of forgot about it. Until I got a response a couple of weeks ago from a man who seems charming, nice, looking for friends, likes cultural pursuits, lives nearby in Woodley Park. So we are meeting next week for a beer.

I say inadvertently because this past spring when Gabriel just simply stopped calling and returning my calls, after a year of dating, I decided to take a break. So my focus has been on meeting people to do things with, like hiking, museums, going out to dinner, all the things you do with a boyfriend but without the complications of actually having to consider another person. (Yikes that sounds selfish. But you get my point.)

So I met that group of women on Craigslist and I have become involved in MeetInDC and meetup.com, and a few other things. And it’s all coming together, the work is paying off and I am meeting some new people and have some fun things on my calendar.

Like tomorrow I am going to Gettysburg with the Capital Hiking Club. I have never been to a Civil War site – shame on me, living in the South and all. I don’t know anyone on the trip, but that’s part of the adventure. I have an introverted personality so I have to force myself to do social things by myself. This will be a good exercise for me.

Just for laughs, I recently trolled around match.com, the old stompin’ ground, and all I saw were the same old faces, reading the same old profiles (“I am comfortable in a jean and a tux,” “I SCUBA dive and climb mountains, all in the same day,” “Looking for my soul mate as long as she looks like a super model”) so I give up on the online dating scene.

I had fun over the many years on match, met tons of men, went out on tons of dates, but I am done with that.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Speed Dating Virgin

My friend Corey tried speed dating for the first time last night and he is hooked. He is already setting up the next venue, insisting that I go with him.

Have you tried it? Was it worth it? Did you meet interesting people?

Tell me what you think. I am actually considering it. I really have nothing to lose.

And Rob Brezsny keeps telling me to reinvent myself every week this year.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Bookmark review

Every once in a while I check in with my lengthy knitting blogs bookmarks. If there hasn’t been an activity in a couple of months I delete it, knowing that is will be replaced by something equally as entertaining.

So here are some of the highlights of this evening’s tour:

A quilt made out of leftover sock yarn at Mya Finari Posts

SaunShine has moved to NYC to follow her dream of fashion design


I always enjoy seeing what the Knit Smiths are up to


Ysolda is so eloquent,

I’m still in love with the fabric that the Rowan Bamboo Soft makes, even if the splitting is a total pain in the arse. But it feels like a much loved, well worn t-shirt.


Sweaters for Squirrels – this is good for a guffaw


I am disappointed with the Daily Knitter, the new site from Interweave. There isn’t anything there, really, that I have not already found somewhere else. And the free patterns are weak. I will give it a little time, but if there’s no improvement in the depth of content .


This finished Sunrise Circle Jacket is gorgeous, such attention to detail, such a great fit.


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy 4th and a day off in the middle of the week

A day off in the middle of the week is weird. Last night I kept thinking it was Friday.

I got my fill of George, Brad, and the crew last night when I went to see Oceans 13 in Georgetown. And the added bonus was Julian Sands! I remember falling in love with him watching “A Room With a View” at the Copley Place movie theater in Boston when I was in college. The strong silent type gets me every time. Throw in an English accent and I am putty.

I had heard that O-13 wasn’t very good, the story was flat, the acting was OK. But I really liked it. Granted, if the actors were all average looking I probably would not have liked it so much. There is something about a well-dressed man, you know? Even an OK looking guy can ratchet it up a notch by wearing clothes that fit and are stylish.

I am headed down the The Mall this evening to see the fireworks. In the 12 years I have lived here I have never been. Crowds are not my favorite thing. But I also feel like I need to do it once in my life. I will just do my yoga breathing and I should be fine.

I can actually see the fireworks across the street from the St. Alban’s church property. There is usually a pretty good crowd over there every July 4th at 9 o’clock. But it’s so far away, it is nothing like being there. And I love fireworks.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Vida is muerta.

Or at least crooked. The needle layed across the front shows how crooked it is. Yikes!

How did this happen? Could it be the reverse stockinette? I am scratching my head. I rinsed it in water and blocked it but I am not convinced that will solve my problem. I am going to query the KnitList. They know just about everything about knitting. (Amazing wealth of knowledge on that listserv.) And I really don’t want to start the front if I have to change something dramatic to make it symmetrical.

I bought some sale yarn from elann.com this week. This Highland Peruvian Wool (in Dusky Purple and Wisteria) is for my first French Market Bag (free pattern here). I have been wanting to try felting for a long time now, but I think my block has been a lack of a washing machine that I can control (I use the machines in my condo).


I know I can hand-felt but the machine looks a lot easier. So in a couple of weeks I am going to R.I. to see my parents, and celebrate my mother’s 70th b’day, so I am going to try it out on her machine. Now the pressure to get the back knit in time. I also hope the colors aren't too subtle. I didn't want to the obnoxious color-scheme route because this bag is kind of large.


There is a nice gallery of finished bags here. Too bad the blog owner isn't still posting finished pics.


I also bought Berocco “Hip Hop” on sale for $5.25 a skein. I love the colorway of this yarn, my pictures don’t do it justice. I might try felting a swatch of this to see what happens to the colors, if they melt together in an interesting way, or not.





Fun in D.C.

Yesterday was Smithsonian day. It’s Folklife Festival time here in D.C. and I had more fun than I thought I would. I did my regular volunteering gig in the morning at the Freer Gallery and stuck around, got some lunch – ugh, 30 minutes in the Mekong Delta food line – which took the edge off the maddening food line, and hung around to listen to some live folk music.

I heard some great bluegrass (Whitetop Mountain Band) and got my fill of all types of Irish music including my favorite Highland pipes. Robert Watt was great and very dramatic with his bald head and funky glasses. Four Guys and a Dog were great, too, go see them if you can. Fun, lively, toe-tapping, people out on the dance floor, they had the tent rocking.




Monday, June 25, 2007

Out of 50 million single women


These “find your perfect match in one week or less” shows infuriate me. I couldn’t watch more than 27 minutes of “Science of Love” on NBC tonight before shutting it off. The producers make women look like weak, squeaky, I-need-a-man-to-have-a-fulfilling-life creatures. (And let’s not leave “The Bachelor,” “The Bachelorette,” or “The Age of Love” out. Are there anymore shows on the networks that I am missing?) Are they so desperate for a date that they have to go on national television, and, often times, drag there cookie-cutter families along for the ride?

For drama, there is always the element of woman versus woman where the competing women putting each other down, criticize, and make judgments about people they don’t even know. And the men think they can find The One on the first (blind) date. They all come off looking so sad and pathetic.

Where does Kelly Ripa’s husband and host of the show get off saying that out of 50 million single women in the United States, the scientists found the perfect match for football player guy? I was not in that pool of possible winners. Were you?

These shows simply perpetuate the myth of Prince Charming will sweep me off my feet and everything will be perfect. But worse than that, these few women that appear on these shows make us all look ridiculous.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

One of DC's hidden treasures

I have found one of DC’s hidden treasures, the tower at the Old Post Office Pavilion at 11th and Pennsylvania NW.

Corey and I were eating lunch there today after visiting the National Gallery. Corey noticed a sign for a Tower Tour so we checked it out.

First of all, and most importantly, it’s FREE.

And the view is amazing. You can see so much of the city. I bet it rivals the Washington Monument. We saw the Shrine, the new baseball stadium, the airport, Roslyn, a gorgeous view of the Lincoln Memorial, all along The Mall. It was awesome, you must visit.

In other news

A man after my own heart, the Mayor of San Francisco is cracking down on single-serve water bottles:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19378595/site/newsweek/

Friday, June 22, 2007

Welcome Summer



It was a beautiful night to welcome summer at Alliance Française La Fete de la Musique. Can you get over this weather? Three of the C-list girls and I went to sip wine and listen to a wide range of music. It was fun, mixing with French-speaking people from around the world. Two of the acts played outside which was lovely.

Knitting

I am still ripping out the Tivoli top. All of the decreases are now causing me to pull all of the ripped out yarn through on stitch. It’s maddening so I only do a few inches a night.

Elann.com is having a sale on some wool, $2.25 a ball, so I am going to knit up a French Market Bag (free pattern from Knitty) and bring it to R.I. when I go in July to felt in my mother’s washing machine. I don’t have control over the cycles on the machines in my building. Amanda’s squatty sidekick is another cute (free pattern) bag I might try - and I am also thinking Christmas gifts. I am dieing to felt! And the color selection of this sale yarn is huge.

Young Dave Follow up

When you last read, Ellen McCarthy, writer for the Post, responded to my request for Dave’s email, after I saw him in last week’s Weekend Section. She did not have his email address so she called him, above and beyond the call of duty, and told him I had gotten in touch with her and she gave him my email. As the days drifted by I thought I would not hear from him. Et viola, yesterday he send me a sweet message. So it was good to hear from him and my goal was completed, simply to say hello, glad you are doing well.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I love making my own pizza



with my garden-share plum tomatoes, all red and ripe





and the oregano and basil, fresh from the window-sill, all green and fragrant









But pounding out the dough sucks. Is there an easier way?



Young Dave cont'd

On Saturday I told you about my finding an old flame in a story in the Post Weekend section. I wrote the writer, Ellen McCarthy, to see if she could put me in touch with Dave. She sent me a delightful response on Sunday, explaining that she did not have his email address but she called him to get it. Apparently he was excited to hear about me after all these years and took down my email address. And Ellen wants the scoop!

This is all so funny. I truely just want to say hello, glad you're doing well. And I so appreciate Ellen's kind response. I am too quick to assume people don't care.



Sunday, June 17, 2007

That’s right, garden tomatoes

Again this year I am participating in Community Supported Agriculture, which is organic, locally grown produce. I pick up my weekly share from Stoney Lonesome Farm on Thursdays in upper NW. It usually goes for 18 to 20 weeks.

This is week two and the share has included spring mix lettuce, turnips, radishes, red and green peppers, sugar snap and snow peas, garlic scapes, braising greens, and tomatoes. That’s right, tomatoes. There is a neighboring farm that grew them in the greenhouse this winter.

Last year we were inundated with Swiss chard and I was bracing myself for it again this year. But luckily so far no chard, hip hip hooray. There is nothing worse than giving away a chunk of your vegetables every week. I scoured my cookbooks and Internet last year, looking for interesting ways to disguise, errr prepare, the chard. But every time I ate it, it tasted like dirt. DC Food Blog is now wondering what to do with all of the greens in the share, too.

I wasn’t sure what to do the turnips, but then I remembered this dish I have made before with carrots, potatoes, red onions, turnips, some spices and lemon juice. It is so good, I am glad I had a reason to make it. Love me some root vegetables.


Saturday, June 16, 2007

Young Dave?!?

So I was flipping through the Weekend section of the Post a few minutes ago and I came to the feature story about all the ways to meet people in D.C. when you are feeling at a loss for friends or people to do stuff with. I can relate, that is how I met the Craigslist girls (we have our second date tomorrow, btw). I glance at the picture of the two outdoorsy looking guys and read the caption, “A few years ago, Dave Connolly, left…”

What?

Young Dave!?! Yup, that’s him alright. In all of his youth and cuteness.

I got back up off the floor, caught my breath, wiped the tears from by eyes and dove into the story about Dave’s quest to meet people in D.C. I could tell the story myself. He had these two friends that recently had married and moved to Seattle and he talked about them all the time. He really missed them – I wish I could remember their names. I think they started w/the same letter.

A while back I met Dave on Craigslist and we dated for a little while. He was much younger than me, about 10 years, so I dubbed him Young Dave so my friends could remember who I was talking about. I remember watching “The Ring” with him. That is the last horror flick I have watched. He was so sweet, but the age difference was pretty evident. He was probably 25 at the time.

But I would love to say hi to him, see how he is doing. I emailed the Post reporter who wrote the story and asked for his email address. What do I have to lose?

Another small-world DC story.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Pain in the lily pad

Knitting


I have spent a good amount of time this week frogging my Tivoli (free pattern from Grumperina) that I finished 2 years ago. Unfortunately it loosened up a bit after I wore it a couple of times and became way to big, gapping under the arms, the cap sleeves falling over. The funny thing is that I get many hits to this blog from the picture posted on Grumperina’s site (sheesh, look at all those tops). So I feel like I am misleading the people who look at my creation. And now it is half-ripped out. But I do plan to reknit the top because I really like this yarn. The frogging is a pain in the lily pad though, because of all of the decreases and binding off. I am almost past the neckline and sleeves. Then it will be smooth sailing on the ball winder.


Movies

I watched a great movie this weekend, "Don't Move." Only a foreign film could have a woman (Penelope Cruz) fall in love and have a long-term relationship with the man who rapes her. It sounds horrible, but the story is compelling. The characters - the guy, the woman, his wife, a daughter - are great, all sympathetic in their own way. And Penelope Cruz really shows her talent as an actress in this role. She sheds her beauty which I think gets in her way in her roles.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

The Postmortem

The first date went really well, thank you. There were 5 of us so the group size was perfect for talking. We met at Lebanese Taverna in Pentagon City, and sat outside. Alexis, Melissa, Carol, and Kristanne were great, low-key, interesting, friendly, and smart so we had plenty to talk about. I can't wait to get together again.

I think timing and karma play a role in these things, but I would recommend posting or responding to a "meet some new people" ad on Craigslist. I think there are a lot of people out there looking to make some new friends but aren't quite sure how to do it. Carol, who posted the ad, told us she had gotten many responses to the ad, more than she had expecteda. And when I told my 50-something friend at work, she was all over the idea.

Friday, June 08, 2007

I have a first date tonight

with a bunch of new women I met on Craigslist. I answered a post seeking women in my age range who are looking for people to do stuff with. “No whiners or attention mongers.”

That would be me! So about half of the group is meeting tonight at Lebanese Taverna at Pentagon Row for some hummus and chit chat. (The irony is I was there on Monday for lunch with a vendor. So my annual trips to Pentagon Row has doubled to two. My world is so small sometimes.)

I am looking forward to it, actually. My group of friends has dwindled as people have moved away, gotten married, and/or had kids. While I don’t mind doing things alone, it’s just not as fun a lot of the time.

Maybe my friend-life will be more successful than my love-life is right now.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

You know DC is a small town when

you see the same tourist-family at the Millennium Stage that was getting on your bus the evening before, most likely headed to the National Cathedral.

We were at the Kennedy Center last night enjoying

Melody Gardot
Part of the VSA arts 2007 Start with the Arts Family Festival
This 23-year-old award-winning singer and guitarist—whose multifaceted musical talent has drawn comparisons to Cole Porter, Billie Holiday, and Nina Simone—performs music with her quartet from her debut album Worrisome Heart.

Click here to watch the video archive.

She and her band are so talented. I would call it lounge jazz, moody, soulful, melancholy. Unfortunately all of those you-will-never-understand-or-deserve-me love songs got me thinking about Gabriel. Shake it off, girl!

They got a standing ovation, something I have never seen before at Millennium Stage.

Knitting

World Wide Knit in Public Day is June 9th. The Creative Knitters Guild will be at Glen Echo Park, in Maryland, from 10:30AM to 3:30PM, celebrating. Sounds like fun, I will try to get over there.

I was in NH and Maine this past weekend of the annual Simmons Girl Reunion Weekend. It is always so much fun to get together with my college chicas. We have been friends since our first week at Simmons. We all lived on the same floor and have maintained this bond for more than 20 years now. It was like God had a plan to bring us all together.

So I made a stop at Charlotte’s Web in Exeter, NH, and bought this yarn (Tahki Stacy Charles “Bunny Print,” merino, alpaca, acrylic). The shop was so nice, and completely overwhelming. It happens to me all the time! I bring some ideas of what I want to knit and the gauges of the projects and my head starts spinning. So many options! I never know if I should pick the yarn for the project or a project for the yarn.

My plan was to knit Clapotis using this yarn, but I think it is going to be to heavy. We'll see how that works out.


Sunday, June 03, 2007

Miss the Cicadas?

Now starring in the Chicago area!

http://dailynightly.msnbc.com/2007/06/chicagos_cicada.html

I was equally grossed out and amazed by these things when they were in DC a few years ago. I have an homage to them at work. I have started covering my office door with origami cicadas. Some people see it immediately and others look at me like I am a little odd.

Here's a video on how to make origami cicadas:

Origami cicada

I was startled when I saw this video. This woman is my twin! Freaky.

Monday, May 28, 2007

FO

Why I got a bug to finally finish the Sunrise Circle Jacket when it is humid and in the upper 80s I will never know. You can see all about it here.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Are you SURE it’s not July?

It feels more like Fourth of July than Memorial Day in Washington, DC today. What’s with this heat and humidity??

I went down to see Rolling Thunder before meeting my friend Del this afternoon to hit a couple of museums. I was pretty amazed by the number of motorcycles, and all the leather and American flags. I watched for about 45 minutes, went into the African Art Museum and then over to Natural History to get some lunch, and they were still running up Constitution. (I was hoping to see a bike like the ones on American Chopper. I love that show.)

One of my favorite spots down on the Mall is the Ripley Garden, on Independence Ave. between the Hirshhorn Museum and the Arts and Industries building. It is really gorgeous, lots of flowers and plants, and it’s shady and there are places to sit. It is like a little oasis.

I found another really cool place to hang out today, too, the Portico CafĂ© at the American Art Museum . It’s on the second floor, outdoors, overlooking G Street. There was a lovely breeze and great people watching. They have light food, like sandwiches, sodas, coffee, beer, wine, and even hard liquor. Next time I will bring a date – the museum is open until 7 pm.

Del and sat for more than an hour, cooling off, nursing my Sierra Nevada, talking about him having kids, my desire not to have kids, his next job, the obstacles people blame for their lot in life, the new girls he met this weekend. We cover all of the bases when we get together. So it was a great day all around.

And I have another day off tomorrow. Awesome.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Will pie be the next big thing?


I went to see "The Waitress" yesterday afternoon – our office closed at 3 o’clock for the long weekend. After getting past Felicity (Keri Russell) playing a troubled, depressed woman, and Jeremy Sisto as an abusive husband, I ended up really liking this movie.


It’s not the Southern chick flick that you might think. But it was moving and honest and the characters were interesting. Including Andy Griffith who was great.

I wonder if this movie is going to make pie the next big thing?


And I watched "Roman Holiday" last night, too. Such a cute movie. And Gregory Peck is the sexiest man ever.




Knitting progress

So here is the progress of Ballerina Top and Vida. Could these projects look any more different? Cool, subdued purple in wool and bright and brash turquoise in cotton.

My left wrist is remembering how cotton can be hard to knit in that it does not give like the wool yarn does. But Vida is interesting because it is a reverse stockinette, giving the fabric a really nice pattern to a solid color.


I am altering the pattern a bit on Vida. I am making the knit side the RS, although the pattern shows the purl stitches as the right side. Why go to all the trouble of reversing the knits and purls only to hide the way the twisted knit stitches look? I did learn that the twisted, or reverse stockinette, is often used w/ribbon yarn, which makes a lot of sense. I have found that ribbon yarn can look messy when knit. I think using a reverse stitch makes if lie flatter and it looks neater and more defined.

It is taking me longer to knit, though, because knitting and purling backwards is awkward. And the cotton is so stiff. But I would like to wear it this summer so I better get cracking!

I am making the sleeves for the Ballerina Top longer than the pattern is calling for. And now I am wondering if the sleeves will be too wide because I did not spread out the increases for the prescribed 13 inch sleeve that will be a 20+ inch sleeve now. So I will see how that works out. I have frogged this yarn about 4 times now, what’s one more trip around the yarn winder! (I am soooo glad I bought that thing last year.)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Austin Stories

I just returned from my annual business trip to Austin, Texas. If I am counting right, this is my seventh time visiting and the city gets better and better every year. One of my colleagues who was on the trip w/me had lived there for a few years, and she had a car, so she played tour guide one evening which was fun. We visited the Whole Foods mother ship, and she pointed out the original store which is now a store called Cheapo. How ironic.


BBQ and Mexican were also on the itinerary. Ironworks and Gueros and fit that bill very nicely. I also got to visit my fave Middle Eastern restaurant, Marakesh, and get my fill of their wonderful hummous.


And to top off all of the great food, weather, and fun we had, my wish for a button-bag came true.


Three years ago I was coveting these handbags made out of buttons, found at Tesoros, a funky store that sells crafts from developing countries. But the $58 price tag scared me off. Last year, I visited again, hoping they might be marked down for some crazy reason. Nope, not a chance.


Monday afternoon I made the annual pilgrimage, because I always find cool stuff, and admired the bags, wondering “How hard could it be to make one?” Then I wandered to the back room warehouse sale. Lo and behold, button bags, marked down! They all were damaged in some way, but still totally useable. So here she is! Not the color scheme I would have chosen, but for $19, I will take it. I am so happy.


See, patience pays off.


There are great restaurants in Austin, and thankfully not many chains. Cute shops too. Does anyone remember the show “Austin Stories” on MTV?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Great Show!

A few friends and I went to see Angelique Kidjo on Thursday night, what a blast! She has so much energy, and the crowd was really pumped to see her. Everyone was on their feet, at their seats and in the aisles, by the end of the evening. Even the middle aged white guy sitting in front of me. The bonus was that Oladele was able to get tickets for $15 because he is a student at GW.

I stumbled across her music one day a few months ago when I was trying to figure out I Tunes. (I need a 13 year-old in my life to help w/these things.) And then a few days later I saw an ad in the City Paper that she was coming to Lisner.

The Washington Post gave a good review and a well-written description of the performance. She is going to be at Strathmore Hall (Rockville, MD) in the spring if you are interested.

Oladele and I will be there!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Evil Plastic Grocery Bags

Quite a few years ago I happened to catch a short film on PBS about ways to create less waste. It really stuck with me because it is so easy to do and over the course of a life-time we can all effect how much waste is created and even cut down on the production of plastic bottles, bags, and other containers.

Two of the consumer products that annoy me the most are water bottles, especially those little ones – are they a pint? – and plastic grocery bags. They are prolific in our society, and most likely used once and tossed into the landfill for all eternity. I go out of my way to bring my repurposed convention tote bags to the grocery store (and I like the 5 cent refund). But I often get caught w/o a bag if I drop in on the way home from work or if I happen to be walking by. I grit my teeth as the cashier double-bags my two items, knowing the bags will soon be at my house looking for a new use. I have grappled w/keeping a plastic bag or two with me but they are not easily stuffed in my bag along with my wallet, bus pass, knitting needles, umbrella, and other assorted items.

But I had a brainstorm the other day. I thought, I need a small container to stuff a bag into, something I can reuse. Et viola, I found two perfect containers. On the left is a mint container and on the right, a pill container.

I also prefer this to recycling because I don’t really trust that the grocery store is recycling the plastic bags that get returned and by reusing them, the store is using fewer and will then in turn buy fewer so the manufacturer will produce fewer bags. This is also in accordance with the waste hierarchy, something I did not know existed until about 10 minutes ago.

One other tip the film gave, that I use every day, is to use less. For example, the next time you are squeezing shampoo into your hand, use half the amount you normally use. If that was enough suds, use half the amount of shampoo the next time, and the next time, until it was not enough and go back to the amount you used the day before. Over the course of your life you will throw away fewer bottles and also purchase fewer bottles, saving money and creating less waste. This can be applied to soap, conditioner, cleaning products, toothpaste, hair styling products, and so many more things that we use every day.

Monday, May 14, 2007

I gave up, onto something new

After really struggling w/reading the Ivy pattern, and ripping it out, twice, I gave up. I was so frustrated that I stopped knitting, which made me even more unhappy. I will go back to the KAL and longingly admire the finished sweaters. It is a beautiful pattern, and maybe one day I will have the skills to complete it.

Meanwhile, I found a similar wrap sweater, w/a pattern that I can handle. This is the ballerina top from Debbie Bliss's Cashmere Collection. I have gotten some serious knitting time in yesterday and today because my back is strained and I am practically immobile. It is so frustrating! The weather is gorgeous and I am stuck inside. I have taken a couple of short walks which are painful but will help me feel better in the long run.
After really struggling w/reading the Ivy pattern, and ripping it out, twice, I gave up. I was so frustrated that I stopped knitting, which made me even more unhappy. I will go back to the KAL and longingly admire the finished sweaters. It is a beautiful pattern, and maybe one day I will have the skills to complete it.

Meanwhile, I found a similar wrap sweater, w/a pattern that I can handle. This is the ballerina top from Debbie Bliss's "Cashmere Collection." I have gotten some serious knitting time in the past couple of days because my back is out. I can't imagine what I did.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Ivy but not rashes



Ivy is coming along nicely

I am concerned that the lumpy looking section of the back of the sweater will not smooth out when I wash and shape the piece when I am finished. When I frogged Sorbet, the yarn was all crimped from the stitches in that piece. I did not wash and straighten it out the yarn before starting Ivy.


Now that I have started a second ball, it looks so much smoother and neater. This will be a lesson learned. I am not going to stop now. If I have to pull it all out at the end, so be it.

V Day

Valentine's Day was really nice. I haven’t had a Valentine in a long time so it was fun to be able to participate this year. ;)

Gabriel came over for dinner. I cooked Cornish game hens for the first time and they came out great. Here is the recipe from Epicurious.com. I also made garlic mashed (Yukon gold) potatoes, green beans, and kale w/apples and curry.

It was very low key, fun evening.

Until the topic of my rash came up. Again.

I have pityriasis rosea, a gross-looking but not contagious (or itchy or anything) rash on my torso, stomach, neck, and arms. It is nothing to be concerned about and will go away in a couple of months or so. Well, Gabe is convinced I need to go on a fast to stop eating carbs because they are contributing to my candida. Since when do carbohydrates have anything to do w/a yeast infection? Where does he come up w/this crap?

Old German wives tales I think. His grandmother's cure for everything when he was growing up was an anema. I guess that explains a lot.

The doctor also gave me an RX for a topical cortisone cream which he is pleading with me not to use. I appreciate his concern for my well-being but he has gone way over the top. I have read up on my rash and feel very comfortable with my doctor's prognosis. He doesn't believe her, because he says she is a lacky for the drug companies and the only reason she prescribed the cortisone is because she ultimately gets a cut. Paranoid much?

Friday, February 09, 2007

In all of his beauty

I am back after a long absence. What have I been up to?

I knit three scarves for the Orphan Project. They sat around waiting to be mailing for weeks and then I was racing out of town and remembered I had to mail them. Therefore no pictures. I am so glad to work on that project, this is my second year.

· My current project is Ivy from the fall 2006 Knitty. I have had Cashsoft sitting around for more than a year and this is the perfect yarn for the project. The cables threw me at first, but they seemed to come together as I knit each row. I am pretty psyched, actually. Last year’s knitting resolution completed.

· Reunited with Gabriel in October and things are going well. I am really happy. Last fall I was thinking about him a lot so I got up the nerve, after much angst and hand-wringing, to email him. Just to say hi and to apologize for just walking off that day he broke up with me in the middle of my sailing class. And he responded almost immediately, to my surprise. Two weeks later, it’s Saturday afternoon, I am home, talking on the phone to my brother in Maine, and out of the blue there is someone is calling me from the front door of my building (the buzzer rings to my cell phone). To my shock it’s Gabriel. I race around, change my shirt, brush my teeth, and go down to see him, trying to catch my breath as I casually walk out the front door.

And there he is, in all of his beauty. Wow. Shock.

We have been seeing each other regularly, but not constantly, ever since. He threw me a lovely birthday of hiking at Great Falls, Mexican food, a soft-kiss (finally), an emergency Red Cross crank radio, and amazing sex (we move fast).

· Cranked up the yoga to two classes a week. Tranquil Space is about two blocks from my office so I have no excuse. My colleague was going on Mondays at lunch time so I started going with her (thanks Charisse). It was just the push I needed. I appreciate the discipline of Iyengar yoga that I have been practicing at Unity Woods because it makes my flow classes at TS that much more enjoyable. I know most of the poses and it is empowering to understand how to get into them. And I am learning more from the different teachers I see weekly. It’s great, I so recommend yoga to everyone. It is so much more than stretching. That is a difficult message to get across to people. But if I can get one person to try it for 6 months, they too will see.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year

To pickup where I left off a few weeks ago, that blue scarf was looking great, but I ran out of yarn. I really thought I had bought 2 balls, but I guess not. Or maybe I will find it buried somewhere one day. Ugh, so much time wasted!

So that scarf turned into this one, which is part of the my charity knitting for the Orphan Foundation of America’s Red Scarf Project. I had originally thought I would have time to knit this scarf for my office secret santa to replace the blue scarf, but when it came down to the wire I did not have the 3 hours I estimated I needed to finish it in time.



I love this pattern, though, so I am using it for the third scarf I am knitting for Red Scarf here:

Remember that scarves are accepted throughout the month of January ONLY.







Happy New Year everybody. My holidays were great and I celebrated whole heartedly. With the office parties, my birthday, traveling to Rhode Island for Christmas, spending time with my parents, and then a few days off to recover from it all, I am ready to get back to my normal routine.

Living across the street from the National Cathedral brings an interesting viewpoint to now my second presidential funeral. After the obscure and rather limiting security during Reagan’s funeral and seeing the ugliness that reigns in some people in my building, I have decided to stay inside and watch is all on TV. I have the day off, maybe I will try to figure out the MP3 player I got for Christmas.