Monday, May 28, 2007


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.