• amusement,  art,  culture,  family,  friends

    Visiting Time

    When I went to your town on the wide open shore,
    Oh I must confess, I was drawn, I was drawn to the ocean

    It is summer and we live by the ocean, which means that we’ve had a steady stream of visitors for the last month, which is an excellent thing indeed.  I’ve also been doing my share of visiting, having popped down to Virginia in the beginning of June to meet one very excellent baby.  I’m afraid I have fallen rather in love and have been compelled to knit and buy small things.

    This was followed with a far too short but excellent visit with a very old friend and a new friend, where we spent most of our time on the beach in both bad weather and good.  There are some friends that you can just pick up with after any amount of time away and the time spent together is so restful.  Too short, but incredibly wonderful.

    Last weekend, my aunt came for a visit, where we went to see lots and lots of art in jewelry format.  The jewels were so scintillating that after two rooms, I actually had eyestrain.  I found the exhibit really inspiring from a knitting design perspective; I have some ideas in my head that will be hitting paper soon.  Then we took a day to wander up to Boston, taking the Port Jefferson ferry over to Connecticut, then stopping for lunch in Mystic.  I got to tourist Boston for the first time – despite morning thunderboomers and storms, we made it to Fenway Park (and I sat on the Green Monster) and walked quite a lot of the historic trail and waved at Sam Adams’ grave (why yes, that is my beer of choice) and went shopping at Quincy Market (where I proceeded to get overwhelmed by a cosmetic purchase, which you’d think I’d have gotten down pat by the age of thirty-one).  Dinner was excellent Vietnamese, which sent us off to sleep, only to awaken to a day at the Science Museum, which is pretty much the coolest thing I’ve seen in a long time.  Lightning bolts and amazing ship models?  In one place?  Awesome.

    The social life continue this weekend with some more very dear friends coming up for a visit and barbeque and FIREWORKS IN THE BACKYARD.  We’re not all that patriotic, but we sure do like setting things on fire.  Just hopefully not ourselves.

  • amusement,  feminism,  music

    Schumann: First Loss

    In this week of uncertainty, where the impossible keeps happening (I mean, not only is Osama bin Laden assassinated, but Newt Gingrich is actually running for President), I thought I might bring you a little music.

    So, without further ado, here is an 8 year old playing the piece of music that I’m struggling with for my piano lesson this week:

    I think…I’d better get back to practicing. For my own dignity.

  • amusement,  nature,  new york,  wedding

    The No Good Real Bad Messed Up Day

    I should have known when the day started out with plunging a clogged toilet.  I woke up in the middle of an ice storm that blanketed most of the country; and my country is large.  It was not the foot of snow that we’d been promised on top of the several other feet of snow we’ve had this year, so some small mercies.  But not really, because snow does not make you slip over and over as you walk to the train….the train which is now running on a weekend schedule due to the weather, which translates to once per hour.  During rush hour to Manhattan.  And they had the nerve to charge peak prices.

    So, needless to say, the train was a little congested.  By the time we’d gotten three stops ahead of mine (which is, fortunately for me, only three stops from the end of the line, so I had a seat), there were so many people jammed into the aisle and cubbies of the train that one of the conductors announced to the other conductors that she was stuck into a cubbyhole and could not open the doors to her cars.  She advised that no further stops be made, which would have been just as effective as continuing to stop.  But we did continue to stop, which was good, because another stop down, it was announced that there was a passenger on the train with a medical emergency.

    If you don’t commute by train in a big city, you might react to this news with some sympathy.  The rest of us are made of harder stuff, because inevitably the ambulance and passenger removal will require at least a half an hour of sitting on the track, which also means no trains behind you getting through either.  By being so rude as to have your heart attack/stroke/baby on a rush hour train, you have just made thousands of people late for work.  And they’re mad at you.

    But I wasn’t mad at you, not this morning, because I had a seat.  A seat I’d been sitting in for so long by the time we finally pulled into Penn Station that my legs were cramping and I was thinking of very little else than whether or not the bathrooms in Penn Station were going to be clean.  Commuter trains are not made for two hour long train rides, which is what it was.

    So I went on to the first stop of my day, which was a visit to where our servers are hosted.  On the way up in the elevators, power flickered.  My elevator dropped.  I screamed, but then it stopped, so I told myself to calm down and push the help button.  Eventually I got out, with no broken bones.  Small mercies.  I climbed the other seven flights of stairs to where I was going.

    I had two things to do there, one of which was impossible because of the incompetence of a vendor.  The other thing was to pick up a box that had taken me several days to make our hosting people admit to having.  I said I’d be by at nine to pick it up and they said no problem.  I showed up at 9:40, due to all of the above, and no box and no one who knew where the box was.  Around 10:20, it was finally delivered to one very irritated bird, leaning against a chain fence with her arms crossed and a glare on her face.

    But as I was told, all’s well that ends well.  I went from there, trudging through huge icy puddles and slush, to my office.  At last, I was planning on using the company Starbucks card (whoohoo, dot com perks) to buy myself a cup of coffee, which would just suit me fine and cheer me up.  So, naturally, as I was unfolding the card from its receipt, it went bouncing straight down into the radiator vent.

    Hysterics commenced.  As did the dismantling of the radiator.

    Life improved with coffee.  It always does.  And yet, there’s still the commute home to consider — we’re going tonight to see another possible wedding venue – the Stewart Manor Country Club. Could we possibly dare to get married there, after such a day?

  • amusement,  cocktails

    Blue Mist

    Are we drinking again? And mid-week? Normally, I’m not a fan of midweek drinking in your kitchen, but some weeks just demand it and this has definitely been one. Also, I needed an excuse to play more with blue curaçao, because it turns your food blue. For serious. How awesome is that? BLUE FOOD.

    Also, we had some orange juice and I needed some vitamin C, so I made Blue Mists, which were pretty much a bomb. Not recommended – nothing special in them at all. Just cream, orange juice, white rum and my beloved curaçao.

    And the drink, slightly tested. That’s the cream that leaves behind all the evidence. To be honest, that’s about all we had between the two of us – it was too strong and really needed a martini glass. We really need to invest in a better glassware set to support this hobby.

    Something like these? Note for the wedding registry?

  • amusement

    Lost in Manhattan

    I have lost my wallet. Have you seen it? The last place I saw it was on my desk at work. I noticed it missing before I got on the subway home. (Thankfully, I keep my subway and train passes separately.) Despite this extraordinarily limited scope of places, it has not turned up, despite my trekking all over the place to find it. Building security hasn’t turned it up, which leaves me to think that where ever I stupidly left it, it grew feet and I shall never see it again.

    I prefer to think I left it someplace – the alternative would be awful, even if there were a lot of strangers in the office that day. Either way, it’s my fault for not being more careful. As I have now just appeased Murphy by canceling my bank cards, I hope that I shall find it shortly in some totally hare-brained place like the freezer. (Which I have already checked. Three times.)

    It’s amazing the amount of stress and anxiety that this has caused – though I find that a big part of me is just sad that I lost the actual wallet, because I’d finally found an organizational system that really worked for me. Now I have to go hunting for a new wallet (well, as soon as I can access my bank accounts again and, y’know, buy something), which will inevitably mean buying several that don’t quite work. If you need a new hand-me-down wallet, the time to befriend me is now.

    On the other hand, it’s a great excuse to be late with my father’s day present. You don’t mind, do you, Dad?

  • amusement,  nature,  new york,  ocean

    The Ides of May

    It’s been an amazingly full weekend.  On Friday, I started off right by reorganizing my office at work.  I’ve long felt unproductive in there, because my desk was oriented towards the wall, leaving my back to the office.  In order to see what was going on, I had to sit with my feet propped up on another chair (working for a dot com has perks) and ignore my desk completely.  So I turned one of my tables and voila, I can do both, which will undoubtedly help resolve some backaches I’ve been having.

    On Saturday, I took the train into Manhattan to take a professional test.  Having passed that and acquired some new letters after my professional signature, I went over to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.  I made it there five minutes before noon, so snuck in through the gates for free, which was nice.  It was a beautiful day and I snapped a lot of photos.  My best one was of a bee landed on an ornamental onion, but now that I’ve looked at it on a computer, I can see some areas for improving.  So I’m thinking about whether or not to go back this weekend and try again with a little more knowledge.

    Sunday I took my new kayak out for her maiden voyage, which was a great deal of fun until the wind picked up.  It was at this point where being on an inflatable boat wasn’t such a great thing.  I paddled myself over to a beach and was resting (and waiting for the wind to die down) when another kayaker decided I needed rescuing.  It was a little silly, since I could have easily deflated my kayak and walked back to the car from where I was (perhaps 300 feet away from where I’d parked), but I hitched a ride back and had some fun kayak conversation.  I have blisters now, because I stupidly forgot my gloves,  but the freedom of moving around on the water was just amazing.  I think I’m addicted, which is unfortunate, because I’m meant to be training for a bike ride, not a paddling event.

    They do have kayak races in my neighborhood, though…so it might be worth thinking about for next year.  With a hard shell kayak!

  • amusement,  new york

    The 5 Boro Bike Tour

    This weekend, the same day that someone tried to blow up a car in Times Square, I dragged my bike into Manhattan in order to particulate in the Boro Bike tour, which is a 42 mile bike ride though the five boros of New York City.  The ride starts in lower Manhattan, below Wall Street, then goes up 6th Avenue and over the Third Street Bridge into the Bronx.  From there, it’s back into Manhattan to race down to the 59th St/Queensboro bridge to hop over into Queens.  The tour goes through the incredibly Greek Astoria, then it’s onto the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, a truly terrifying highway, into Brooklyn where the bikes hit the streets until they reach the Belt Parkway, which provides a salty breeze and views of the big cargo ships leaving New York harbor and heading out to sea.  Then it’s just a few neighborhood blocks until the riders go up the steep onramp to the Verrazano Bridge, where the tour crosses over into northern Staten Island.  After a stop in which the riders are forced though a ridiculous festival clearly designed by marketing staff, the riders are allowed out, where they bike a couple more miles along the coast to the Staten Island ferry, which shuttles ’em back to Manhattan, at nearly the point where they started out.

    It was awesome.  I wish I hadn’t been too exhausted from actually biking 42 miles to take pictures.  Riding through the neighborhoods of New York was like walking through the memories of my six years here.  And,  being me, I naturally had to careen through the 42 miles at a speed that was far too fast to maintain, so I ran out of steam around mile 30, but forced myself though the last 12 miles anyway.  By mile 42, I never wanted to see a bike again and somehow managed to fall asleep on the Staten Island ferry while holding my bike upright.  Today I’m looking at joining a cycling club.

    Still, my favorite New York moment on the ride came when someone cut me off and clipped my front wheel.  I managed not to go head over handlebars, but I did slide off my pedals onto the ground, so I stopped in the middle of a crowd of bikes.  Somewhere behind me, someone shouted out, “Hey!  You’re supposed to stop on the *side* of the road!”

    Boy, do I love this town.

  • amusement,  introspection,  knitting

    The dreambrain

    Last night I dreamed of knitting as a type of personal hell; the stitch was stockinette, which references a project I’ve been working on that makes me dislike knitting.  Stockinette, stockinette, rows and rows of endless, never changing stockinette.

    But stockinette is the perfect stitch for dreams.  In dreams, your brain often goes over the same thing repeatedly to help you process and solve problems.  Most dreams are actually quite boring, which is part of why you don’t remember having them — just like stockinette!

    I’ve picked up another knitting project to keep me sane that is lace knitting, which is the polar opposite of stockinette.  It makes me like knitting a lot more.  I’m a challenge knitter, which is to say that if the project isn’t frustratingly difficult, I really can’t be bothered.  Some people like rows and rows of stockinette, but it’s purgatory to me.  It makes me feel like I’m running and running and getting nowhere, which is kind of what dreams are about.  Except that it actually does get you somewhere, because you wake up with the answers to things you were thinking about the night before.

    Isn’t the human brain neat?

  • amusement,  new york

    Photoblog: The Weekend

    These pictures are crappy quality because I took them with my cell phone. However, they wouldn’t exist otherwise, so there.

    First, the one woman who has zero business teaching children about cooking, Ms. Paula “I use butter because I can” Deen, discovered in the book section that caters to dieting at a Bed, Bath and Beyond:

    Second, proof that the Internet is returning English to a Germanic language via the use of word squish – the Beefburger:

    (found at our favorite local diner)

    Unfortunately, there were no nutrition cops around, just Spidey:

    (Okay, so that last one was a few weekends ago. But, y’know. Spidey.)

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