shower recap

The shower was a success! I'm really happy b/c it's the first one I've thrown, and people had a good time! Woohoo!

T and JD, the other girls throwing the shower with me, made a heroic effort and arrived at the train station at 9am - having left their apartments in the city before 8. On a Sunday. My mom and I had done all the shopping and some of the prep the week and night before, but there was still plenty for everyone to do and by 11:30 we were done and ready for guests. Which was a good thing because people were on time - who does that? Lol.

It was rainy and gloomy Friday and Saturday and Sunday morning, but around 11 o'clock the sun came out so we were able to sit outside in the back yard. It was a gorgeous day to be outside, we really lucked out on the weather.

The surprise shower wasn't such a surprise to JS, since she kinda figured out what the date was and the "pressing reason" why she and her mom had to come to my house on their way from Jersey to the South Shore was pretty transparent - I am on the Northern Shore of the Island and NOT so on the way. But we did manage to surprise JS as to what the shower would be like!

Last Wednesday at work, I was IMing with JS and she mentioned that she didn't know what to wear for her shower - "it could be sneakers, could be a ballgown!" she typed. "Ballgown?!?" was basically my reply, and she's like, what if we're doing a ballroom dance lesson? Haha, little did she know that we weren't planning any such thing, but it just so happens that one of my coworkers is a pro-level Tango dancer and is always talking about Tango. So on a lark, I asked if he'd be interested... and he said yes!

So this afternoon he came over and taught 8 of us (5 lame people just watched) how to Tango. He was worried it'd be weird to have girls dance with girls, but a) it's not the same as guys w/ guys which would be weird, and b) all the "simcha dancing" we do at weddings and bar/bat mitzvahs are separate-gender dancing anyway. We had SO much fun, and he was a a really good teacher too. By the end of 40 minutes we were tangoing back and forth across the backyard and making plans to try our new moves out at the wedding.

We had bbq for lunch. I made a pasta salad, JD did the corn salad, mom made the cole slaw, and T, my mom and I made the potato salad and a green salad collaboratively. My mom was really nice and manned the grill for us too : we had hotdogs, burgers and grilled chicken. Then we opened presents and had dessert. I really wanted to make Jacque's better-than-crack cupcakes but JS doesn't eat chocolate for health reasons, so I kept it simple: yellow cake mix into a muffin
tin. My mom whipped up some parve chocolate icing and we had some vanilla icing, and they were a big hit. There was also fruit for dessert, but the cupcakes went better.

During dessert we played JS-themed taboo. We made up the cards. It was okay, better than some shower games but nothing spectacular. It was good that it was quick, noone got too restless.

People stuck around for 4 hours - a long time for a shower, right? It seemed like everyone had a good time, but most importantly JS loved it. Mission accomplished! :D

shower and socks

The shower I'm throwing is today. Long story but JS's sister, who was kinda annoying to work with? She's 100% fine but totalled her car last week and isn't coming (she lives near Boston). I wanted to make Jacque's better-than-crack cupcakes, but JS can't eat chocolate. They're from a box but still homemade so I'm okay with that. I'll let you guys know how it goes.

In other news, round 5 of the Hogwarts Sock Kit Swap on Ravelry is starting up, and I'm one of the moderators. So if you knit, click on over and sign up for Hufflepuff :) This is a really fun exchange, much more involved that your typical swap but much more rewarding because of it.

HSKS5 logo

This is the kit I received last round

I'll have to post the socks I made... they're so comfy I don't want to take them off to photograph :)


Italian Tubular Cast-On

People tend not to notice things until they need/use/try them... and then it's everywhere.
Like the Italian tubular Cast-on I taught myself Tuesday. I wanted to try the Endpaper Mitts I found on Ravelry (direct link here) and that's the caston the designer uses. It's a very clever-looking finish for "raw" edges of a project. Meaning, I wouldn't use it on an edge that needs to become a seam, but for tops of socks or the cuffs of mittens it's gorgeous.

Then, yesterday, I was showing off my newly learned skill to MZ, lunchtime knitting pal extraordinaire, and I noticed that it looked remarkably similar to the edging of the sleeve of the sweater I was wearing. How cool is that?

Anyway, yesterday I cast on these Princess Mitts (not royal princess, it's named for some yarn called Princess). I used my newest trick, and it's really pretty. I <3 Italian Tubular Cast On SO much now! Note to self: next time I must remember to use smaller needles for the edge though.

(I'm using KnitPicks Swish DK in Maple Leaf for the Mitts)



After lots of pushing-off, because either my mom or I were busy with "stuff", Friday I took my motorcycle out of winter storage. I'm SO mechanically challenged, the first thing I do when Max comes out of storage is take him straight to the Honda dealership for a checkup.

Why the Honda dealership, you might ask? Waaay back in 2004, I had just completed my Basic Rider Course, loved it (!), and was looking to buy my first motorcycle. I went to the Kawasaki dealership on Long Island (I'm 99% sure it was the Hicksville one) and they were SO rude and sexist and GRRR.

Anyway, when I decided to get a kawasaki bike I found a very nice dealership on 11th Ave in Manhattan, and I ended up buying from them instead. My first Spring, I brought it back to that dealership for service. It's SO annoying to get there though - a 45 minute drive into Manhattan. Then I found the Honda dealership out on Long Island. 30 minute ride but no traffic, and the guys there are really nice! I don't have any friends who ride (well aside from LG, but she's even more of a n00b than me and doesn't have a bike yet), so I ask them all my stupid questions. When my odometer "broke" - a cable fell out - they could've sold me new pieces and charged me all kinds of money for labor and I wouldn't have known the difference. Instead this very nice and honest mechanic looked at it for 5 minutes, popped the cable back into place, and wouldn't even charge me for labor.

//end rant. wait, what's the word for happy rant? rave??

Anyway, Friday I took my bike for a checkup, it passed with flying colors and now the riding season has officially begun. I love spring!


geek code and shower stuff

Found this one a Ravelry profile - the Knitter's Geek Code:

Version: 1.1

KC!ER++ Exp++(+) SPM++ Steel@ Wood>++ BAM+@ PL@ Syn+ Nov@ Wool+>+ Lux- Stash+ Scale+(+) Fin+ >Ent Felt++ Int Lace-@ Flat@ Circ++ DPN++ Swatch+(+) KIP+++ Blog+ (SNB) FO++ WIP@ Gauge@ ALTCr++X++


Then I had to click through to the original Geek Code and try that one too:

Version: 3.1

GAT/CS/L d+ s-:+ a-- C++ U*- P+ L !E W++ !N o? K? w+
O@ M- VMS? PS+ PE+(-)@ Y+ PGP? t 5 X R- tv+ b++++ DI++(+) !D
G e++ h-- x?


What's your Knitter's Geek Code? Regular Geek code? Let me know if you try this!

Last night I went to the South Shore to pick up my dress for JS's wedding. Her mom ordered all our dresses a) so we'd get the same dyelot and b) because she lives in Jersey, aka the land of no sales tax. I was not into driving to Jersey during the week - traffic! - and JS's parents were meeting with the FH's parents Sunday, and gave them the dress.

The FH lives 4 miles down the road from my LNS, so I combined the trip. I got there 10 minutes before closing (stupid road construction) and did a very quick shop. Not that Diane kicked me out at 5:30 on the dot, which was very nice of her, but we both had places to go afterwards. I picked up some fabric I needed and the June Baubles from SamSarah. I don't love eating Strawberries but I really like strawberry motifs and stuff, so this is going on the "to stitch sometime this Spring" list. I'd love to also knit these and maybe display them together. Hahaha, as if I did "displays" - I'm soooo not that coordinated.

I picked up the my dress from the FH's parents house. His mom was wearing a gorgeous sweater. I thought I was just picking up the dress and running, but she invited me in so she and FH's sister and I chatted for a half hour, which was very cool of her. I really like the FH and now his family too :-D

I kinda owe you all the Story of the Wedding Shower. It's been consuming a lot of my free otherwise-used-for-crafting time, plus it's one of the more interesting subplots to my life right now. Possibly the only interesting one ;) So here goes...

JS has 4 bridesmaids for her wedding - her older sister (the MoH), the FH's younger sister (18-ish), JD (a pre-college friend), and me (college friend). The FH's sister didn't seem so interested in planning the shower so we've dropped her off the emails, but T, another pre-college friend, volunteered and was approved by JS, so we still have a committee of 4.

JS planned her sister's shower and has made very clear to the friends planning her shower what she liked and didn't like about that shower, so we all know what she wants. And doesn't want. She wanted something fun, relaxed, and not stereotypical bridal shower. She does NOT want any "stupid bridal shower games", and we are not to ask FH 20 questions about her under any circumstances. That's fine with us, and very true to JS. She also said no parents, just friends, because they're more fun that way... but we overruled her and invited the moms and sisters. Because I am not messing with 2 Jewish moms - that's like messing with the mafia but worse for your health.

I volunteered to host the party since T and JD have tiny apartments in the city, whereas I have a backyard. We have easy-enough access from the city via the railroad, and my brother can (and will) pick people up from the station. T and JD came up with a great idea of having a BBQ, which is perfect for JS because she likes meat better than dairy*. The three of us got together for pizza one night and talked about the shower stuff, and we all agree on what we want to do for the shower. If you're familiar with the saying "Three Jews have four opinions", which is SO true, you can understand how random and rare it really is for us to agree.

The problem is, JS's sister (SR) hasn't spoken to JS about what she wants for her shower. And SR has some very definite ideas of what she wants for a shower - a traditional, wraps and salads, stupid games, decor to match a theme, typical shower. To back this up a little, when JS gathered everyone together at her engagement party and said "Echange numbers so you can plan my shower", SR said that since she lives out of state JD and I should plan it, and she would kinda advise us. Now fast forward to March, and she has some very specific ideas and isn't just taking an advisory role.

We tried the tactful route. Her vision of Baked Ziti and a couple of salads isn't that far from our vision of hot dogs, hamburgers, corn on the cob and a couple of salads. We even wanted to do a parve pasta salad for any vegetarians. The arguments we got were:
  • Jill doesn't like meat so much, it's just the easiest/cheapest/most convenient thing to cook. She hates BBQ and only goes to them because that's what the FH's friends invite them to.
  • Hot Dogs and Hamburgers aren't classy because they are Finger Foods and messy
  • BBQ is too heavy for lunch (we're having the shower at 12)
We were extremely tactful and very polite in our responses to these points, but I will be more blunt with you guys here so you can understand exactly how ridiculous and just plain incorrect the above points are.
  • I lived with JS , so I know very well what her dietary preferences are. She ate chicken or hot dogs every day for dinner (and sometimes lunch), dairy never. Kosher meat is very hard to find in the supermarkets near our college so she had to go very out of her way to acquire it, indicating a strong preference. The two non-college friends also know that JS likes BBQ from personal experiences of actually going to barbecues with her. Without the FH. Finally, JS has had us over to her apartment many times, and she TOTALLY likes cooking/serving/eating meat. SR hasn't lived with JS in over 10 years so maybe she is just mis-remembering... but I did NOT say to her that she doesn't know her sister as well as she thinks she does, even though it is true. Because that's just rude. But I thought it.
  • First of all, hotdogs and hamburgers aren't sloppy joes - they're very easy to eat neatly especially using a bun. Second, my mom does very "classy" barbecues all the time so I know how to throw a classy bbq from our house, no problem. And that's what I plan to do. Third, JS told us she does not want a "classy" shower - she wants something fun and chill and a chance to see all her friends. So who cares even if BBQ isn't classy - because that's not what we're going for! (If however we have a fun relaxed and chill BBQ that happens to also fit the definition of classy, that's better in my book).
  • I disagree. I also polled a bunch of people, including JD, T and FH, and they all think it's not to heavy for lunch. Again, this goes back to what JS wants - and she doesn't think BBQ is too heavy for lunch. Also, majority rules!
In the end I was kinda like, JS told us x y and z which kinda negates a and b from your plan, even though c is great and JD, T and I agree that we're going to incorporate that. This plan is what the majority wants, and this is what we think JS would like the best. SR's going along with it, I'm not sure if she's super pissed off but you know what? I was as polite and tactful as possible when I spoke to her, and we were as considerate of her position as sister of the bride as when deciding, but what JS wants takes precedence over what SR wants and she asked all of us to plan the shower.

Aside from all the drama and phone calls and passive planning, we also got a lot done. We got a guest list of about 30, sent out Evites, and have started to hear back replies. We're trying to come up with a ruse to get JS to the party (it's a surprise), and fielding questions as they come up. JS is going to love the shower, the FH's family and JS's mom seem pretty cool about everything, and hopefully we'll firm up the details soon. Most of the work won't start until after Pesach** but SR had a great idea for JS and FH-related Taboo that she's already started working on. Pretty much all of my friends are obsessed with Taboo, including JS, so even though it's technically a shower game JS will probably love it and it'll be a lot of fun.

Whoa, that was a long story! Okay, I'm off to think about something very non-wedding-related for a while. Like databases :D But please do send in your Geek code! That'd be fun to read.


*JPSA (Judaism-related Public Service Announcement): Keeping kosher means you're pretty much always going to have one or the other, serving parve (neutral) at a party is rare because it's just so much easier to have dairy desserts if you've already decided not to serve meat. Something that non-kosher-keeping people don't understand is that if a kosher-keeping person is going to eat meat, requiring that they wait 3 or 6 hours before they can have dairy again, that person doesn't want to have a tiny bit of meat sprinkled on a wrap or something, with all other aspects of the meal being parve. The kosher cafeteria at college once served something like that and nobody ordered it - because it's not "worth" having to wait the 6 hours. Hehe, ending my JPSA of the day now :-D

**Pesach = Passover. Yay, now you know some Hebrew!


I'm still here...

I got an "are you still alive" email today. I haven't blogged in a week, but even more importantly, my usually up-to-date google reader is cranky that I have 1000+ unread threads, and I haven't been commenting because I haven't been reading. But I'm still here, really!

Let's see
::scrolls through the blog to see what the last post isabout::
Aha. Since 3/31, I've

- gone on another shabbaton. Less crazy than the last time - only 1 location, more helpers, and better organization. Still an incredibly busy weekend but I was able to do more than sleep the rest of the week afterwards. Always a good thing! Stopped at an outlet mall that we passed on our way home, and went shopping at Ann Taylor. My wardrobe is now completely replenished for the spring and summer - :-D

- went to the dentist, and everything looked good. Yay! I like my dentist (he's a friend of the family and a NICE guy) but it's still a pain to go.

- orchestrated the gifts for my parents anniversary from my siblings and me. This was a 3-day production... but at least we got to skip the surpise party thing. Which is fine because they didn't want one anyway.

- planned (somewhat) JS's bridal shower. This is getting a post all its own, hopefully tomorrow. Let's just say, there's a saying, "Three Jews, 4 opinions". In our case it's 4 people planning the shower, there's at least 17 opinions, and I stupidly volunteered to corral everyone. At least I know I'll be happy with the results, right?

- worked on a couple of exchanges, and received some too. These are getting their own posts eventually... I hope...

- found Ravelry and got completely sucked in. To say it's the most amazing website for knitters and crocheters is a ginormous understatement. Btw, check out my sidebar! I have a new Progress Bars thingy that shows the projects I'm working on via Ravelry. I need to go do a 3rd post about my Ravenclaw socks. Funny story how that came into being...

- gone to work and gotten a lot of stuff done there. We're getting some crazy deadlines again :-(

Gotta run do 8 million things. Did I mention I'm still not done cleaning for Pesach? Aaah!



Tonight I turned this:

into this:

Like I said, alchemy.

I have like 8 million things to do this week, so I don't have much time to post about the Shabbaton I went on, or the knitting I've been doing, or my beading, or the shower, or anything else. Hopefully I'll come back to that list later in the week and fill it out some more.

'Til then, have a good one!


shiva and sky's phobia

I was looking for a good website that would explain "sitting Shivah". I always link to wikipedia, and wanted to change it up a little, you know?

This article is pretty in-depth, and if you just read the first part you'll get the idea. But continue reading, trust me. This is an excerpt from the section on "how to pay a shiva call"...

Here are examples of things not to say:

"How are you?" (They're not so good.)

"I know how you feel." (No you don't. Each person feels a unique loss.)

"At least she lived a long life." (Longer would have been better.)

"It's good that you have other children," or, "Don't worry, you'll have more." (The loss of a child, no matter what age, is completely devastating.)

"Cheer up -- in a few months you'll meet someone new." (He/she has just lost the other half of their soul!)

"Let's talk about happy things." (Maybe later.)

Sorry, it cracked me up. Especially because every single person I've seen in the last 2 days has asked me "how are you" and I've said "okay" every time. Hello, what else do you say?!?

My dad and my uncle are sitting shivah at my grandma's apartment. Sunday I took Sky to the dog park, then spent most of the day there. Mom manned the phone to buzz people up, kept an eye on my dad, and made sure that everything ran smoothly. In my family it's the women who get things done ;-) I was the kiddie/cousin/relative wrangler. And went back to our house to visit Sky, usually while wrangling kids, cousins and/or relatives. Multitasking ;-) Hey, it kept my 3 very, um, active little cousins occupied and away from the adults and out of grandma's fairly small apartment. It was an exhausting day.

In between wrangling though I finished crocheting another knitting needle holder, for myself this time. Grandma taught me to crochet in their apartment and she always liked to see what I was making when I pulled out a project at family gatherings, so I think she'd approve.

Monday I went to the apartment right after work because Joan was there. She took care of grandma basically for the last year, a very special lady. My mom had been at the apartment all day. I told her I'd handle things and kicked her out, so she went home and took a nap. I started knitting a little drawstring purse on size 5 dpns... it's weird, but it was something to do you know?

Tuesday was pretty boring - went to work, went to the apartment, went home and went to sleep.

Today I worked from home to keep Sky company. She was pushy! I went over to the apartment for lunch to visit with everybody, there area always few people before 1 or 2 pm. At 5 o'clock Sky and I went to the park. Sky goes off-leash at the park. She doesn't mess with the random people we meet on the hiking trail, and she plays really well with the other dogs. She is FAST and plenty large enough to either take care of herself or run away, but we've always only seen friendly dogs there.

Something most people don't know about Sky is that she's a big scaredy cat. She's not afraid of a lot of things, but the things she is afraid of... aren't scary. Like tall people. It's kinda ridiculous because a) she's as tall as a tall person herself when she stands on her back legs and b) for as long as we've had her (since 8 weeks old) she's never had a negative encounter with tall people. But it's a known phenomenon in our family, that Sky is scared of tall people. Whatever.

Right when we started our walk, a posse of 12-15 tall, fit guys jogged past us. It looked like they were on some sort of team, you know, like crew or basketball or whatever. In training. I wasn't scared that Sky would molest them, more like go home with them, but she stuck really close to me. It was weird... and then she stayed close even after they left and didn't frolick like she usually does (yes, frolick, my dog prances. J's trying to toughen her up). She only left my side to go running back along the trail and look at me like, "hey let's go this way! I wanna go home." Poor Sky! Luckily a few minutes later a couple of normal-sized woman came jogging by. Sky realized that not all joggers are giants and she stopped being so paranoid. It was funny.

I'm probably forgetting a ton of things but I'm really tired... and going to sleep. G'night! Oh shoot, remind me to tell you guys the latest on the shower. Oy.


Happy (belated) Purim!

Purim is one of my favorite holidays, hands down. This year's was ridiculously crazy, but it's still a love-love relationship.

Purim was Thursday night/Friday this year, but for once I was on the ball and started my preparations a few weeks in advance. One of the 4 special activities on Purim is Mishlo'ach Manot (Mah-note), food baskets that you deliver to friends and relatives. As I like to think of it, reverse Trick-or-Treating :-) I like to have a "concept" - like last year, when I painted flower pots and bought seed packets of special carrots that are short so they can grow in containers in NYC apartments. This year I wasn't that clever, I just found cute black pleather-y baskets at Joann's that will be perfect pen holders for people's desks. Wednesday night I ran out to Costco and found some chocolate and wafer bars, plus my mom picked up some grape juice and hamantashen (=a special triangular Purim cookie).

Side note on Hamantashen: the "traditional" fillings for hamantashen are apricot, raspberry, prune and mon, which is a poppy seed filling. Nobody likes prune. Almost everybody dislikes mon, except that it's my dad's and my favorite flavor (in case you're sending me mishlo'ach manot). So if you're out buying hamantashen: steer clear of black or dark brown filling, look for Red or Orange. Other acceptable fillings include chocolate and chocolate. That's it. Apple, pear, cherry, and blueberry are just wrong, and you shouldn't encourage them.

Where were we? Oh right, so Thursday I packed my 8 or so Mishloach Manot. Then it was time for the second special Purim activity, hearing Megillat Ester (I think goyim call it "The Book of Esther"??). We went to our shul's 7:50 Ma'ariv (=evening prayer service), and got great seats in the balcony to hear them read the Megillah. I wasn't sure about wearing my pirate costume to shul, but a lot of the women's section was in costume, ranging from a crazy wig to a full-out bee costume or hippie costume. The men were much tamer, they just wore hats.

Megillah reading takes about an hour. You're supposed to follow along in your own copy, in case you miss hearing a word. I like to read the same story once a year, because every year I notice new details and stuff. Or maybe it's the same ones year to year and I just forget?

I arranged to take Friday off work, so that I could deliver Mishlo'ach Manot and stop at my cousin E's house for the 3rd Purim activity, the Seudah (=special holiday meal). Purim is supposed to be a very happy holiday, that's why you bring people gifts of food, and eat a festive meal, and you're even supposed to drink alcohol. Hmm, work or enjoy one of my favorite holidays? It's a no-brainer.

I thought it was weird when I heard my brother still in the house around 8:30, since he usually catches an earlier train to work. At 8:45 he knocked on my door and told me that Grandma passed away very early Friday morning. No major episode, she just faded away like they thought she was going to 2 weeks earlier. We all just know that she stuck around to see D married off.

Mom had volunteered to deliver packages for a local charity fundraiser, so J and I went out to deliver those for her. We also delivered some Mishlo'ach Manot to family and friends in our neighborhood. Then I did a run to our relatives in Queens. Omg, I hadn't realized quite how many Jews lived in my grandparents' neighborhood! Every single house had people wearing costumes (of all ages, not just kids) either coming or going with packages. I wish I could've taken pictures. It made driving a nightmare though with so many cars either pulling in or out of spots, but I made it back home just fine.

We left for the cemetary in Jersey at 12, for a 1:30 funeral. Jewish funerals are supposed to happen within 24 hours of death, and it's always closed casket or whatever. Fridays are tricky because of Shabbat, so I think we could have waited until Sunday, but we went with Friday. Considering that my mom started calling people at 8:30 or so, there was a very surprising turnout. It was only grandma's immediate family because the cousins live 9+ hours driving away, but a lot of friends came and my mom's whole family, because our whole family is close.

My cousin Mia was the cutest thing. She's 11, and the oldest in her family, and whenever we see them I always give her and her siblings a big hello and a hug. Friday she came over and gave me a hug, and said everything would be okay. She lost her grandfather a few months ago, and it was really sweet that she wanted to pass on her vast experience to me.

It was a graveside funeral, the first time I'd ever been to one like that, and it was a really nice funeral. One word: Sunglasses.

Because of Purim eulogies were kept to a minimum, just grandma's 2 sons spoke. My uncle's was short and sweet. My dad gave very nice (and brief) talk about my grandma; he hates public speaking but he did really well. Our rabbi said some nice things about Grandma too, then a little d'var torah (=you might call it a sermon) and explained how things would be different because of the holiday. Then we did the shoveling thing. My uncle and cousins on my mom's side really pitched in to help. No surprise, they're very helpful people. Each of the grandkids, in age order, read a perek (=chapter) of Tehillim. Then we did the line-up-and-the-mourners-walk-through-the-path-of-friends thing, and it was over.

My Dad and Uncle are sitting shivah at my grandma's apartment since we all live in the same town and it's close to everyone. Our 2 families headed back there after the funeral. The shul has a committee to send bagels over for the first day, since the family is always busy with other things. Nobody had really eaten Friday so it was perfect. The first day of Shivah is usually just family, but some close friends stopped by. Then everybody went home, because you don't sit Shivah on Shabbat.

It's going to be very weird having Grandma's Yahrtzeit (=deathiversary) on Purim. It's one of the 2 holidays when you are supposed to rejoice and be happy, because the Jews were saved from certain destruction. More info here.

I'd made plans to go to my cousins in Queens for Shabbat and my dad insisted I keep them, so I went. I slept at my aunt & uncle's but Friday night dinner was at E's apartment, about a half mile away. E's wife (aka E3) is allergic to wheat so it was unusual food but yummy. Then E and E3 had all of us (his mom and siblings and me) over for lunch today. This afternoon E3 and Rif taught me how to play Set, my new favorite game. I started Dragon by Clive Cussler, but I think I might've read it already. It's hard to tell because a bunch of the stories are very similar.

Next episode: my Hooked on Exchanging biscornu exchange package.
PS Future exchangers, please include your email addresss so I can thank you properly!


The wedding recap

Omg, this weekend and D's wedding were amazing!

The weekend started off Friday night with the Aufruf. I was supposed to work from home Friday so I could get ready. Then I was supposed to leave at noon to work from home. Then I ended up leaving at 2:30, stopping for hoisery and even more shoes at Macy*s, and arriving home around 3. But that's typical Friday nutiness, so it was cool.

An Aufruf (for those of you with little google-fu) is like a mini Bar Mitzvah weekend. The groom is called up to the Torah on the Shabbat before his wedding, so all the relatives and the closest friends spend shabbat together. Like a mini Bar Mitzvah, right? Oh, and some of the bride's male relatives are usually invited. D's future FIL, future BIL, and a couple of cousins also came. They stayed at the hotel in town.

Friday night davening (=prayer services) and dinner were in a local Jewish-Iranian-American restaurant (enough hyphens for you? ;). It's one of my favorite restaurants, probably b/c they make the BEST rice. Ever.

There were probably 50 people at dinner, many friends of my aunt, uncle and cousin that I haven't seen in ages... We all live in the same town, and D and I to all of the same schools so I know all his friends. It was really nice to see them again and hear how they're doing.

I've never seen this at another aufruf, but at some point over the weekend each of the nine (nine!) groomsmen gave a speech about my cousin, about their friendship and past escapades. Hilarious speeches. D's got some great friends, and they all had really nice thigs to say and stories to share. They were mostly PG-13 speeches, although the guys who spoke Friday night had some, um, hilarious visual aids.

Dinner went pretty late - til 11? I was exhausted from lack of sleep during the week. Lucky the walk home was quick, it was raining.

Saturday morning davening is not my favorite thing. I like to sleep! But I made it to shul at around 10:30, 5 minutes before Dan's aliyah (=n. calling up to the Torah). I was this || close to beaning my uncle with the candy bag but I missed and hit some random guy who was dancing with them around the bimah (=n. place you read the Torah from). That's what you get for entering the danger zone. (At our shul, most of the women's section is a balcony overlooking the men's section; I've seen helmets)

Lunch was cool, a couple more speeches but the parents were invited (methinks on purpose) so they were a bit tamer. I left right after lunch ended to prepare for Seudat Shlishit, which we hosted. It turned surprisingly warm so Mom decided it was time to open the storm windows - the true sign that Spring has arrived :-) I did the windows which she made the salads, and good thing because my cousins, their extended family, and a family-friend-family that also has a long walk home from shul came right over to our house - so no shabbos nap :-(

It was nice to have a smaller group and really be able to visit with my family before the crazy wedding the next day. That's the beauty of the aufruf, quiet moments together before the madness of Sunday.

Mom put together a great spread, including some yummy, if store-bought, cupcakes. And we had yummy leftovers all week :-)


The wedding was gorgeous, very well done, and enormous. I'll spare you the crazy blow-by-blow, but here's some photos.

My dress:

My shoes (finally!):

Sorry, it's not a great photo.

The chupah:

We took 1.5 gigabytes of photos between me and my dad. Lol, what can I say? I wasn't allowed to bring my knitting.


Fair & Square round 5

An enormous wedding-recap post is on the way, but these deserve a special post of their own. Here is my Fair & Square exchange from Michele!

I'd never *met* Michele (in the blogosphere) before partnering with her for this exchange, but I was immediately struck by how similar our stitching tastes are. As I was looking through her albums of finishes the thought in my head was either "Oh, I've stitched that too!", "I love that design", "That's in my queue", or "I'd totally stitch that if not for the [insert holiday that I don't celebrate here]-y theme".

So it's no surprise to me that Michele picked such a perfect-for-me design. This wasn't even on my radar to stitch, and now I can't believe that I missed it. I love the dark fabric that she chose to stitch on too, much more "me" than the "recommended" color from the website.

Michele sent along some eerily perfect goodies with her exchange packet:
  • a Little Notebook - how did she know that I LOVE little notebooks and writing lists and reminders to myself
  • a small photo frame - I took nearly a gigabyte of photos on Sunday at the wedding (and I'll share some later :-D
  • a packet of really cute tissues - I caught a cold yesterday. (however I'm using plain white tissues because the others are too pretty to use, of course!)
Michele, your exchange was spot on. Thank you so much for being my partner this round!

I'm going to borrow Michele's photo of what I sent her, because hers came out much better than the one I took (Hope you don't mind! :)


Don't laugh...

Since you asked Michele... the shoe count for this wedding is now up to 7 pairs.

So to recap, Monday I ran to DSW in a "I have no shoes for this wedding!" panic). I bought 4 pairs, tried them on for my mom & brother, and realized I had two left feet. Three pairs went back, 1 pair was swapped for 1 right and 1 left shoe, and then we decided that they were no good for the wedding but I'm keeping them for work.

[deep breath]

Tuesday night I was in the city, so I went to Macy*s on the way to Penn Station. The saleswoman was the SLOWEST woman ever and helped everyone else before merely waving her scanner past the 5 pairs of shoes I was carrying (argh!). They had little in my size and in the end I got 1 pair of shoes that everyone liked.
Total shoe count: 5 pairs.

Today on my way home from work I stopped at the Macy*s on Long Island - I needed hoisery for the weekend. I hate tights. Anyway, I found 2 pairs of shoes, both pairs better than the other Macy*s pair. So far I have 1 opinion from mom & Patricia, and another from my brother. C is stopping by Saturday night to give the final opinion.

Can you tell I'm mad frantic and busy for this wedding? This weekend is the Aufruf (sorry no time to find you a link but try google ;-). We're having Seudat Shlishit (ditto on google) here tomorrow - a huge production, basicall buffet for 80, no cooking allowed on Shabbat itself so a lot of prepwork this week.

Anyways, gotta go get ready for the dinner tonight. At least it's at my favorite kosher Persian restaurant :-) Ttys!


very Manhattan

Tuesday I worked out of the NYC office. I worked on my HoE biscornu on the train and got thiiiiis close to finishing the leaves. Work was productive. Lunch was better. I found out a new-to-me yarn store called School Products. It just so happens to be on my route to work, across from my favorite bead store. How did I miss this place, you ask? It's in an office-type setup on the 3rd floor of a building. Go figure.

I walk up Broadway to catch my train home. Now, you non-New Yorkers out there hear "Broadway" and immediately think of Times Square and Theatre district, but let me tell you, that's only the 34th street to 50-something stretch of B'way. From Houston (aka 0th street) to Union Square (18th street) B'way is in the Village and practically part of the NYU non-campus. From Union Square park to Madison Square Park (27th street?) B'way is low-key but kinda trendy shopping, some interesting stores like my pal Fishes Eddy. The stretch I take to work and from every day is approximately 27th street to 34th street, and that's pretty sketchy. Lots of "4 for $10" perfume stores and "electronics" stores, if you know what I mean.

Last October I was walking up B'way as usual, but at around 3 o'clock because I was leaving work early. At one point, I just happened to look up and across the street at this sort of alleyway to a parking garage, and I saw the strangest thing I've ever seen in Manhattan. One man was holding another with his arms behind his back and applying handcuffs, and a third man was pulling ziplock baggies containing a white substance out of the the guy's jacket pockets. I was too far to hear what was said, but it must have been a drug thing. Right? And people were just walking along, right in front of the alley. I guess they didn't notice what was going on?

Ok, so the point to this story is that School Products is in the building just next to this alley. But don't worry or anything, it's a doorman building.

Speaking of my walk to work, I took some photos last Thursday to show you guys, but then I got a little sidetracked. I'm always very impressed by the architecture of the buildings on my route home from work. Lately though I've noticed that there are a lot of very prettily lit buildings on my route home, so I thought I'd share some photos with you guys.

Click the photos to see larger versions.

Imo, the Chrysler building is the prettiest building in NYC at night. It's not on my regular route home, but I went to the P.O. last week to mail my F&S exchange. Which still hasn't arrived. Argh.

This is the clocktower on Madison Square Park. It's a gorgeous building.

This building is on Madison Square Park as well, but its just a poser. The architecture at the top of this building is nothing special, I've seen it in daylight and it's just like a ton of other buildings in NYC. This is not the only poser building I've seen but it's the only one on my way home from work. If you live here or know why they have lighting at the top of the building, please let me know what's up.

This is across an Avenue from Madison Square Park. It's really pretty, this photograph doesn't really convey all the awesomeness. I tried taking 10 different pictures, but the shiny golden roof is hard to photograph. Maybe I'll give you a daylight photo later so you can see how awesome it is.

Another shot of the clocktower. With all that lighting, there's still a red flashing anti-aircraft light at the top. I understand that the ESB has a spire so it needs a red flashy light, and the crane to the left of the clocktower (which you can barely see in this photo) has a light that flashes REALLY quickly. But this building is neon, practically radioactive, and then at the tippy-top they added a flashing red light. Go figure.

They're doing construction on 30th street. Something Underground.

Since it's nighttime when I walk past, there's no bustle to obscure the view and no-one to chase off gawkers.

The hole is very deep. They have a whole bunch of machines down there. It's pretty cool to gawk at.

I assumed that there's a ton of photos of Penn Station on the internet somewhere. If you're having trouble finding, I can take some.

This concludes the walking tour of New York City. Thank you and come again!


The Grandma update:
The doctors totally didn't expect Grandma to do so well after they took her off the meds Friday - the opposite in fact. Saturday night they said that if we put her back on the meds and stuff, she'll probably make it through the wedding. So we did.

Grandma is stable. They really don't think she's coming home though. Not to go into too much detail, but since the beginning of December she's had a rapid decline physically and there's no reversing that. Even if they could get her to be exactly as healthy as she was last week at this time... that wasn't all that much better. And as healthy as last week isn't even an option.

My cousin, her 6th & final grandchild, flew back from Israel yesterday (a few days earlier than planned for the wedding). So now everyone has seen Grandma and said our goodbyes... and we're just hoping she sticks around long enough to tell her that her first grandchild got married.

Btw, my cousin doesn't live in Israel. He's there for a gap year (between high school and college). I saw him very briefly last night and he's doing GREAT. It's amazing what 7 months away from your parents does to mature a person.

Over the weekend at the hospital, naturally the conversation often turned to wedding preparations. The guys are of course waiting for the absolute last second to decide on shirts, ties, shoes, etc. Then I realized that I don't have shoes either! So last night I ran out to DSW after work to pick some up. I got 4 pair... one that I thought my mom would approve of, 2 of the same style but different materials, and a pair of funky shoes that I bought for everyday. We ended up going with one of the pairs that have the same style... and then I realized that I must've tried the other style on for sizing, because the pair I liked consisted of 2 left shoes! It was a mad dash back to DSW but they were pretty nice about the returns and the, um, exchange. Lol.

Last night I started my biscornu for the HoE exchange. I'm ridiculously busy this weekend with wedding stuff so I made this a travel project. In the end I went with the Violets pattern (sorry guys) because I dont' have black fabric, and I liked how the blues and greens looked on white better. It's a fairly quick stitch - so far I'm almost done with the leaves.

On a completely different note... I feel like I should add my 2 cents about the latest news from NY. In case you live in a hole (or Australia), here's an article from the WSJ (because the NYTimes is kinda evil).

The whole Governor Spitzer scandal sucks. I liked the guy because
a) he's a democrat
b) he's not ancient like most politicians
c) he seemed to be shaking things up, which is always good

But DUDE. If you're going on a crusade and saying that you're cleaning house, and that politicians need to be more honest, etc. ... well clearly you also need to be more honest! As in, regular honest but especially: more honest than the people you're criticizing. Like it or not, prostitution is illegal and that makes you dishonest and a hypocrite.

Does Spitzer need to step down? Imo, not yet. NY does not need a governor that's in jail, so if he's convicted, then for sure. But nobody is perfect, so stepping down for 1 transgression... seems harsh to me. On the news this morning they were talking about him committing a felony, in which case this is no longer just 1 transgression... so we'll see what happens. I'm sure we'll all be getting a crash course in the laws concerning prostitution very soon.

However, if this whole debacle has destroyed his credibility and clout with his fellow politicians, he will no longer be effective or capable of fulfilling the role of governor and should, imo, step down immediately. I hope that Ego and Face doesn't cause Spitzer to stick around past his ability to do his job.

That's my 2 cents. Rant over.


Ice cream cake, sushi and stitching

Grandma was always really stubborn and tough. When she made up her mind to do something, she did it and she did it her way. Well it seems like Grandma decided that she didn't want to miss my cousin's wedding or something, because once they stopped giving her antibiotics and blood pressure-regulating meds, her BP and heartrate are doing just as good and even improving slightly. We're still not doing any invasive procedures and she's still sedated and on a respirator, but for now it looks like she'll be around through the wedding, which is good because then my dad can go and my uncle can dance and everything (has to do with sitting Shiva).

We went over to my uncle's tonight b/c tomorrow is his MIL's 80th birthday. She's Hungarian by birth but lives in Sweden. English is her 3rd or 4th language and she was never fluent, but now that she's getting older it's that much harder. We had a cake from Cold Stone and champagne - that's the same in any language :-)

Afterwards the cousins all went out for sushi, plus my cousin's fiancee who is spending the night at my uncles prior to a meeting with our Rabbi tomorrow. It's hard to find a sushi restaurant that's open past 10:3o in this town, so we ended up in Queens. I made sure to sit across from the fiancee so we could talk a little, because I really don't know her so well. In the end, she doesn't crochet but she skis, so I guess she's okay ;-)

I'm very behind posting stitching photos, so here goes.

I started CCN's Summer Garden a while ago and it feels like I've been stitching 5-10 stitches a night, because after 2 weeks this is all I've got:

I really like this design, so I'm just going to go slow and steady with it. However, I've been majorly sidetracked by this guy:

CCN's Sweet Treats threadpack

I started stitching the border from the bottom-left-corner and followed the chart exactly. Then I realized that the border chart was not symmetrical, and as a result the pink flower-things on the bottom and top left don't align with the white border of the inner squares, whereas the middle and right boxes line up. (I can take more pictures if that was unclear.)

I'm eventually going to frog the bottom left part of the border so I can align it properly, but for now I'm concentrating on stitching the white squares that make up the border for the 6 individual blocks. I'm stitching off the model photo for those because only 1 square has been released yet, but they all look the same. Since the white boxes have a regular, repeating pattern, I'm going to do all of them first so that when I do the border I'll be much less likely to miscount. Plus, as each part of the design is released it'll be a very quick stitch to fill them in.

I don't love the phrase "Sweet Treats", so I might change it to "Kim's Kitchen". It's HARD to alliterate a K people, you have no idea. Or, I might change it to "Erica's Kitchen" for my grandma, because she was always a gourmet cook and always made the best desserts.


Quick Update

D and I are back from the hospital now, although we'll be going back later.

Thank you guys for all your warm wishes for a speedy recovery, but it's just not going down like that. Predating last night, Grandma Erica has severe dementia (hate that word) and is deteriorating physically, rapidly. I won't go into it because when she was more with it, she was always very meticulous about her appearance and image. But basically if the doctors could return her to her condition as of Thursday morning, she would still not be with us mentally and she would still be very frail and deteriorating.

They had the results of more tests this morning. Grandma has an infection and they've identified two possible causes - fluid in the lungs and kidney blockage. Plus there's an intestinal blockage or something which is both a problem and a third possible cause. They can do an invasive procedure to fix the kidney thing and give antibiotics for the lung infection, but that's not 100% the causes of the infection. With all the stresses on her system she won't be back to Thursday morning even, and at that point it was still a waiting game.

My dad & uncle are her only children. Now that my dad got home this morning, and the doctors have run the tests to give them all the options and scenarios, my dad & uncle decided not to do the kidney procedure. If the procedure works and solves all the problems, it's still a matter of a week or two given the prior situation. On the other hand it's a really invasive procedure, not 100% sure to fix the problem, and might cause other problems.

As for the rest of the family... we're not hysterical types. Its been a gradual enough decline that it's not shocking, but everyone's really sad, especially my dad and my uncle. There's also a lot of regret that she won't be able to live to see her 1st grandchild get married a week from Sunday. We're all being really sensitive about that with my uncle and cousin, but there's not even a question that the wedding is going on and for once everyone agrees 100% that that's what to do.

I *can't* sit still and wait doing nothing, forget "it drives me crazy": I just can't do it. So I brought some 8" needles and cotton yarn to the hospital with me last night. 3 hours later I had finished this:

We had a little contest to see if anyone in the family could figure out what the motif is. So far nobody's guessed it right but they're all trying hard.

D and I came home to cook for Shabbos. We'll go back over there later. In the meantime I wanted to thank you all for your kind words and post an update.

Thank goodness for House

So in the end, Sky's not coming to work tomorrow.

Grandma E has been in the hospital this week, and this evening took a major turn for the worse. She has an infection or bug & that causes trouble breathing. So they need to give the infection/bug a beat down and put her on a ventilator (which apparently has some risks).

Now, my sibling and cousin who don't watch much TV couldn't grasp why an infection was so bad. Any regular viewer of House can tell you:
Infection => Septic Shock => Organ Failures => Dead
The trick is to apply anti-biotics or the appropriate meds during steps 1, 2, or 3 to avoid reaching step 4.

The prognosis isn't great. Everyone's really hoping that she lasts through my cousin's (her grandson) wedding a week from Sunday, but that's a very big maybe. Dad, Mom, and my youngest-brother D are flying home tomorrow on the first flights they can. I'm taking the day off.

Sky will be visiting work another day.


a Sky post

Thanks to everybody who shared their take on the wedding situation! It was very cool to hear about all your perspectives and experiences. Thanks!

Btw, I'm not saying boo to anyone in the family: that's just asking for trouble.

Sort of fun news. Sky was adopted as a 11lb puppy from the animal shelter as a "Lab Mix". All the black dogs were "Lab Mix", and all the yellow dogs were "Golden Retriever Mix". Obviously a marketing shtick. Since then, almost everyone who meets Sky speculates as to what kind of dog she *really* is. The most popular suggestions are Great Dane, Greyhound, and Lab, but no one ever says 100% anything. She's clearly unique ;)

My mom heard about this DNA test for dogs to find out what breeds your dog descends from. Do you want to guess what Sky is, or should I tell you?

I'll wait. Think. Look back to this photo for a refresher.

Okay, ready?

Sky is 100% Great Dane. She weighs about 60 lbs, or 1/2 of what's listed on wikipedia for bitches (lady dogs), but the face shape and the stuff about the personality is 100% accurate with Sky.
The Great Dane's large and imposing appearance belies its friendly nature; the breed is often referred to as a gentle giant. Great Danes are generally well-disposed toward other dogs, other non-canine pets, wild animals, and humans (including strangers and children). Some Great Danes have dominance issues, are aggressive with other dogs of the same sex, or chase small animals; however, this is quite rare.
I always thought it was strange that Sky didn't chase squirrels! Looks like it's a Great Dane thing. She chases birds instead (no joke). Maybe because she is so tall?

Even more fun news:
Mom is going out of town this weekend, and she has given J and me our marching orders. One of her big things is not leaving Sky alone for too long, so even though I only work 6 hours on Fridays, I was told I have to work from home, to quote "be available to Sky". My boss is very, very cool and said it would be fine to work from home for the day, but somehow one thing led to another and he said I can bring Sky to work with me Friday.


Sky has visited the office twice already, but only brief visits. A longer visit should be fine. Sky is very well socialized and she's such a people dog! She rarely barks so she shouldn't be too disruptive. I figure (and have cleared it with my boss) that if it's not working out, my desk is about 20 feet from the back entrance so we'll just leave early and I'll work from home the rest of the day.

This should be fun :-D

PS. Other people have brought dogs to work so allergies is a non-issue. Anyway there's so much mold under all the carpeting from leaking foundations, that stuff will get them first!


Non photos and a wedding question or 3

No exciting weekend stories for you guys. Sorry! I did some stitching, but I don't even have some exciting stitching photos for you. I know, I suck. What I do have for you is some non-exciting, old stitching photos. And maybe if you're lucky a pre-wedding rant; we'll see if blogging is cathartic today or I still feel like dishing.

I've been inspired by some of the blogs I read to revamp the sidebar of my own blog. There's now a "Finishes" section (which might become a finishes/WIP status photo section, it's a wip itself ;)

About a week ago I mailed out 4 packages - 2 to neighboring states and 2 to Canada. With the latest update from Dani, it seems they've all arrived to their new homes safely, and got great reactions :D They arrived in a week or less. The package I mailed to Belgium for the HoE fob exchange? 4 weeks and 6 days and not a word. I hope my partner has just been too busy to blog that it arrived, and that it hasn't gotten lost in the mail....

I've signed up for the HoE biscornu exchange but my LNS doesn't have many biscornu friendly charts available. After some internet surfing I found some gorgeous charts on the Chatelaine website, and I think I'm going to try one of those. But I can't decide which, so I've created my first...


Can you tell I'm excited about this? Lol. You can click here to see the different options. If you pick any of the last 3 options please leave a comment and explain. Thanks guys! (PS this is a good opportunity to delurk if you've never left a comment yet ;)

[ETA: The poll will close at noon EST on Friday so I can get started stitching it.]

I was driving to work today and listening to the radio. The talk show hosts were talking about the Crocodile guy's widow and for some reason or another they mentioned Brisbane! They even pronounced it the *right* way, Briz-bin. Janet recently told me about Brisbane, proving once again that she's a trendsetter. Well you are like 12+ hours ahead of us, right? Anyway thanks for telling me about Brisbane, because otherwise I'd have had no clue what they were talking about. Lol.

Janet, since you came through for me I'll return the favor. You seemed to want more juicy stories after my last post... well this is all I've got at the moment ;-)

As you might know, my cousin's getting married in about 2 weeks. This is a cousin on my dad's side of the family, my dad's brother's kid. My dad and uncle only have 4 first cousins (they're all siblings). All of them were invited to the wedding. But there seems to be a disconnect between our wedding customs and theirs... so I'll leave it to you guys to let me know (via comments) who's more off the mark this time around.

First some background...
We all live in NY. They're all in Virginia (and not DC-suburb-VA, but REALY VA)
We're all Orthodox-Jewish and they're another flavor (I think very liberal/secular Conservative)

Ok, on to the story.
As of 3 weeks before the wedding none of them had RSVPed. As of Sunday (2 weeks before), 1 had given a no, 1 a non-answer, 1 is MIA and 1 is trying to arrange her schedule, which I can understand. But the 2 non-replies? Dudes it's a yes or no question, my uncle has better things to do then hound you for answers.
The non-answerer hasn't answered because he's pissed that he wasn't invited as So-and-so with guest. He's single. Not sure if it's an Orthodox thing, an NY thing, or a combo, but the norm here is no ring => no invite for the S.O. At the moment he doesn't even have a GF. Is that such an unusual rule?
Speaking of no ring => no invite, 1 cousin's daughter mentioned to me that if her mom can come but not her dad, she'll go with her mom to the wedding instead. She wasn't invited herself. I'm sorry, did I miss the announcement that wedding invitations were now transferable? Because I thought, and my mom agrees, that they put the names of the people that they want to show up on the envelope, and there's no substitutions allowed. Or are we crazy?

I actually really like all these cousins and hope they all show up for the wedding, but it just seems kinda weird to me. Waiting to hear what you guys have to say....


Change of Name

There's another Kim out there in the stitching & blogging community, and she's posting comments. It's driving me nuts that we have the same handle, so I can imagine how other people feel. I'm not too keen on adding initials so I'm taking a page from CinDC and becoming K in NY. For now anyway.

Even though she kinda stole my name (or maybe her parents did?) check out Other-Blogging-Kim's blog and say hi. She's very new to stitching, but she's still cool :-)


This turned into a sock post

(Sorry. It didn't start out that way, really!)

I am knitting a sock for a giant. I don't know what happened. My gauge was fine, and I never (well almost never) knit gauges, so that should tell you how seriously I'm taking this sock-knitting undertaking. I re-started this sock Saturday night at coffee with JF and finished up the leg portion on the way to the shower Sunday. It looked perfectly proportioned. Yesterday I did the heel part. Today I take it out to knit the toes with MZ, and we notice that it's GINORMOUS.

You might not be able to tell from this photo but trust me, it is. (Btw that pink blob on my desk is that hat I felted but never posted a photo of - does this count? ;-)

I'm just happy that I've been able to follow this pattern so well. Sizing will be a concern for the next round. And this is why I'm knitting my first pairs in cheap yarn, not Tofutsie :-)

In other sock news, my first order at Knitpicks arrived. I got some really pretty yarns, see!

I was chatting with a friend from the HSKS4 swap the other day - btw best idea ever to make a private chat room for a swap - and suggested that she design a pair of Ravenclaw socks. And she did! How cool is that? She's going to let me test-knit the pattern for her, and even offered to send yarn! I'm just looking forward to trying the pattern, the preview I got was great.


It snowed Friday, like a lot of snow. We had probably 4-5 inches by the time I left for work, and then it kept falling until after noon. Of course this was the weekend I was spending with JS in Manhattan, the one weekend when I'd be doing a LOT of walking. Figures. It was a great visit though! JS was making Friday night so we didn't have to go anywhere :D An old friend from HS was invited with his fiance, whom I've met before but only briefly. I like her a lot and she seems to be a really good match for my friend.

There's like 4-5 options for shul Saturday mornings on the UWS. It seems like the way it works is that you find out where your host goes and then either daven there or arrange to be there by the time the kiddush starts. R, one of our hosts, told us he'd be at the Young Israel. We didn't see R at the kiddush, or anyone else that we wanted to talk to. Shul count:1, acquaintance/friend count:1 guy from college who'd clearly forgotten my name.

JS said we should check the Jewish Center, because we might not be able to get into R's apt building on our own. Okay. This involved a 10 block walk and then climbing 5 flights of stairs in 3 inch heels (it's a lot for me, ok?!?). Luckily for everyone we found R's roomate there! We also saw and said hi to:
  • JS's & my other roomate from senior year
  • 2 of the 4 guys from our Ecuador trip
  • JF's older brother
  • a friend I've known since kindergarten, but I'll talk about him in another post
  • 8 million other people
The UWS makes me so ADD. Luckily we found everyone we needed to find and were able to head out. Shul count: 2 friend count: 8 million

Lunch was long and fun, I'll spare you the details but want to mention that R's roomate did all the cooking and prep (aside from the dish that JS brought), and he did a really good job. So it seems that guys can cook, but most of the ones I know just don't want to or are in some way deficient. Good to know.

Saturday night I went out for coffee with JF to celebrate her birthday, then to dinner with JS and DS at their friend's place, then out to a bar on the UES to celebrate JS's birthday, JS leaving the UWS, and DS getting a new job. Kind of a busy night :-)

Sunday I caught a very early train home, and Mom and I went to my cousin's fiancee's bridal shower in Jersey. It was at the fiancee's aunt's house, which is really gorgeous. My mom picked out our gift, we got them a toaster oven. When the fiancee opened the gift she started laughing. While they were registering, my cousin had absolutely no preference as to what she picked (which is so like him) except to say he wanted to register for a toaster oven.

Sunday night I brought Grandma some ice cream. She is known for having a fully stocked freezer in case company stops by. Grandma was doing much better than on my previous visit and speaking louder so we could actually have a conversation.

Yesterday I went out to dinner with my parents and J. My parents almost always chose fish restaurants and I HATE fish (even though I have tuna for lunch 2-3 times a week), so after the last time I had enough and declared that I was picking the next restaurant. Guess where we went? Exactly. I kept my choice a secret (they're so much fun to tease), but J guessed it right. He's a smart one. Everyone seemed to like the restaurant, judging by the quartet of clean plates, so I think we'll be back. And I might get to pick the restaurant again someday.

On the crafting front I have nothing spectacular to report
  • I made another dishcloth, with a dog on it, that I'll keep since it matches my bathroom.
  • I'm about 50% through a sock - :-) Next up: double knitting socks - :-D
  • I started CCN's Summer Garden but I've only stitched 3 letters. I'll show pics when there's something to see
  • My SBBC exchange was received! You can find photos of the finished Shamrocks Fob on Jenn's blog. I didn't use the recommended overdyed because my LNS didn't have the right shade of Needle Necessities. I used WDW or GAST's Pine instead because it matched the DMCs the best. I also couldn't find all the recommended Mill Hill beads at my LNS so I substituted some seedbeads I had on hand.
Stay tuned for some sock knitting photos later. Unless I lose the cable again...


*Bad* Influences

My 3 languages are Hebrew, French and Spanish, in that order. I also know about 10 words of a some other languages, like Farsi. If you're ever in Iran (or LA) and need a cucumber or a napkin, I'm your girl!

It's been a busy couple of days! I'll give you the highlights...
Monday I went to my LNS's Nashville Preview Party. The internet's cool and all, but seeing the new designs in the shop was WAY better. Omg, these designers are talented! Did you guys see the advent calendar from SamSarah? If I only celebrated christmas... lol. I got a different SSD, no worries :-) JBW came out with a dog for their French Country series, so I got that one. Omg, did you see the new series from Raise the Roof, The Wrong Side of the Tracks? Too funny! It's their response to the HRH-type samplers, and it's much more my style than the other ones. I love their sense of humor, even if they don't all speak to me. I'm not quite old enough to stitch this one, but I'll certainly keep it in mind :-)

The best part of the outing was meeting Mercy IRL! We were both reeeally bad influences on each other - totally talked each other into buying more stash :-) I showed her my Ivy, which I'd brought to work on thinking I'd ever be *done* shopping, so she picked up a Mirabilia too (Feather Fairy?). I think I talked her into Wrong Side of the Tracks, but I'm not sure. Mercy totally talked me into CCN's Summer Garden, by talking up how gorgeous the colors are. She's so right!

The rest of Monday was pretty quiet: stitching, crocheting, cleaning, etc. I turned on
my work computer and got sucked into that for a couple of hours. My *goals* didn't all happen, but that's okay with me.

1 finish the Shamrocks fob - soooo almost, but not quite
2 finish my Fair Squares exchange - didn't even work on it
3 crochet a new needlecase - done :-)
4 work on Ivy, try to finish up her skirt and legs - worked on, didn't finish

(I have photos on my camera but no connector-cable. Will post later)

Tuesday was really busy at work, but otherwise uninteresting. Mailed out 1 of the 4 things I have to send, but it was the one with a deadline :-) Picked up a copy of Goblet of Fire for the HSKS4 Quidditch round (we did *ok*). Stitched on... nothing.

Wednesday was CRAZY busy. I wanted to mail out an exchange but left the critical part - the stitched piece - at home. That drove me kinda nuts, but I was too busy with work to even kick myself. Then my mom & I went out on my lunch break to pick up my dress for my cousin's wedding next month. It was ready in the store, I just had to try it on to see that it fit 100%. It was a half-hour drive each way so I brought along my laptop.... I got a lot done in the car, and the dress is really pretty :-D

Photos in 1 month from the wedding. Hold your horses.

After work I went out to Garden City to pick up a second cousin, S (yes, I know all about 2nd and 3rd and removed cousins). My grandma's not doing too great so S wanted to visit. I really don't know S well since her mom and my dad (the first cousins) don't get along. At all. She's been living in NYC for eight years and I only met her last year at a birthday party we threw for Grandma. But that's our parents, we're cool.

S & I had a good visit with Grandma. It's very hard to understand Grandma these days because she both whispers and mumbles, and her memory isn't good so if you ask her to repeat herself more clearly, she sometimes can't remember what she just said. Frustrating for all involved. Conversation is rough but it helps that Grandma (and everyone else) has a good sense of humor. And as we kept talking, Grandma spoke more clearly and we listened better, so it worked out. Apparently S and Grandma kept in better touch than my dad and her mom, because Grandma (aka the Queen of the Sample Sale) had given S all the tips on sample sales that she sent to me and my mom. :D

S missed her train back to the city by a couple of minutes, so we grabbed coffee and waited for the next one. Mostly we plotted future trips on my motorcycle to a bar she knows of on Long Island with cheap drinks and hot guys. Hot Marine guys. It's good to have single female cousins!

All my first cousins on that side are guys.

When I finally got home around 7:30 I searched for that missing piece of my exchange. Couldn't find it anywhere, and got really worried that I'd left it out and Sky found it and ate it. Or even just licked it. Then I found it in the most random place. Mailed it out today instead!


Seven things

C from Pencil Crossings (not to be confused with my Aunt C), tagged me in a 7 weird things about you post.

The Rules:
1. Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post THE RULES on your blog.
3. Post 7 weird or random facts about yourself on your blog.
4. Tag 7 people and link to them.
5. Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.

The Facts:
1) My name is not Kimberly.

2) I used to have a British accent.

3) One of my favorite crafts is pottery/ceramics, although I'm not working at it at the moment. (I need to sign up for a class at the adult ed center and I don't have the time right now, probably will this summer :-)

4) I have a red motorcycle and usually drive it instead of a car between April and October. Two other people drive motorcycles to work, but they only started a year after I did.

5) I have a plant on my desk at work that has been with me for 6 years and 5 locations (as in different buildings).

6) I can hold a conversation in 3 languages besides English. Bet you can't guess which 3 ;-)

7) My favorite cold beverage is water, hot beverage is tea.

The Tags:
Erm, lots of people have done this in the past couple of days... but I'll tag
Novice Stitcher
(I'm a couple short so feel free to write your own list even if I didn't tag you, and let me know you posted it so I can come read it!)

Can't wait to see what you guys come up with for your facts! Thank you C for tagging me in the first place!


Happy President's day weekend

My goals for this weekend are:
1 finish the Shamrocks fob
2 finish my Fair Squares exchange already ;-)
3 crochet a new needlecase
4 work on Ivy, try to finish up her skirt and legs

I can finish this tomorrow. Just have a lot of backstitching and some beading :-/

I stopped at Joann's on my way home from work Friday because they were having a 5 for $1 sale on DMC, plus a 10% of your order coupon. I got plenty of DMCs and also found some baskety things that were 70% off and perfect for Mishloach Manot. Mishloach Manot are a Purim tradition, food baskets that you deliver to your friends and family. The anti-Trick-or-Treating, I like to think of it. I was going to try for something clever with recipe boxes, but I saw these baskets first. They'll be great catch-alls for a desk afterwards. They only had 12 though, and last year I think I did 20 or so. We'll see what happens.

While I was at Joann's I also picked up some more cotton and tried a new needlecase. Ta da!

(I still have some backstitching to do, see the green line on the bottom left? I need to do 14 more.) It took about 3 hours to make - because I totally obsessed over the size of the 24 rows of single crochet. Every stitch had to be *perfect*, LOL. I think I can do another in 2 hours, and I really like this one... so I might keep it and do another one to give away ;-) Then if that one turns into a UFO, I can always send this one.

C and I went to see Fool's Gold last night. It was good, but between that and Sahara, I'd see Sahara every time. Luckily I brought along some knitting to keep me quiet during the boring bits :-)

(There are a couple of twisted knit stitches because of the switching between purling and knitting, but they are pretty unnoticeable. I think. Shh, don't tell!)

Tommow my LNS is having their Nashville Preview Party (I love that they do sales and things to celebrate holidays too, instead of having everything on Saturdays like some shops, because I can't do Saturdays). Mercy and I both go to this NS, and are both planning on going to this event, so we're trying to coordinate our visits. I'm so looking forward to meeting her IRL!

Went ice skating with Sh again tonight. We basically skate around in a circle and talk the entire time. I was laughing so hard at one point I almost fell over, so I skated over to the wall and had a meltdown. Between that and Sh's wild hand gestures I think the ice police officially think we're nuts. That's ok though, even though they're mostly really hot guys and that'd normally be kinda embarrasing, Sh says they're like 15 years old and way too young for us. Really I think they're about 20 years old, which isn't such a stretch... 4-5 years is nothing, right? LOL. One of these days I'm going to ask how old they are. Just not the day I look like a dork lmao (about Sky drooling on Sh every time she comes over - which is kinda funny the way she said it).

Gah, it's midnight already?!? I need to rest up for Quidditch tomorrow. Good night guys!

PS I got the news over the weekend that Sock Wars III is starting up. I know I was really excited about this in December when I first heard about it from my brother... but now that I'm in HSKS4, I don't think another sock *exchange* could ever measure up. So I'm leaning towards sitting it out. I'll keep you posted.


Raviolis yet again, with some crafty goodness mixed in

Wednesday (yesterday) my favorite coworker, who almost always works from home, came to the office. It was GREAT to see her. To give you some idea, I bought her a book in Paris, (because she speaks like every language, including Thai, Japanese, and all the romance languages, except not Hebrew thank goodness because I need to have some secrets) and I've only seen her once since Paris (Thanksgiving break), and it was in Manhattan so it doesn't count. Because I didn't have the book with me and she wasnt at the office.

Anyways... I know that the best way to get Sponz back to the Island was to take her to a great restaurant. Guess where we went for lunch?

I'll wait.
Got it?

Yup, the Ravioli place. And it worked! She's coming back next Thursday :-D In fact everyone liked the place, despite not ordering the raviolis. I think we'll be going back a lot.

I met JS and her fiance for pizza tonight. The three of us don't celebrate St. Valentine's day, because it's a Saint's day, but I was in the city for other reasons and had some time, so I called JS. It was really good to see them.

That's the non-crafty rundown of the past 2 days. In other news...

My LNS rocks! I ordered some things through my LNS from Hoffman. Mostly Sweetheart Tree scissor fobs. I've discovered that it's cheaper to pay the $1.50-$3 in shipping than $7 in gas. I was too sick last week and too busy this week to get over there, so I asked if they could ship my order. All I know is, we must have some crazy good mail karma on Long Island because my LNS mailed it out Monday and I got it Tuesday. I'm not going to stop going to the LNS, but now if I *need* some things right away to finish a project, I know who to call. And while I'm calling I might as well ask her to send some other things I'd been meaning to get... :)

I started one of the fobs already.

No, I don't celebrate Saint Patrick's day either. Green's my favorite color. And it's a gift.

Remember that needlecase I told you about last post?

This is the one I'm crocheting for the HSKS4 exchange. I'm just a little bit worried that the colors are too bright, the orange is very neon in person. On the plus side, you'll never lose your knitting needles with this case, it's practially radioactive!

What do you think? Keep this one and stitch one for my partner in more *normal* colors? The thing is, on her blog she mentions that she likes hot pink and bright orange and lime green. And she lives in the South, where people like bright colors. In NY we like shades of black, lol. And this is a really, really neon orange. BTW, orange and blue is for bronze and blue, the Ravenclaw house colors from Harry Potter. Also btw, I crocheted all of that during 70 minutes of train commuting. So I don't mind starting over or stitching two. Or twelve. I'm just saying, in case other people want one....

Ok that's all I got. It's 12:30am, I get incoherent late at night, and if I don't stop typing now I might never. Oh wait, just a couple things:

a) Thanks to everyone for your comments and get-well wishes!

b) One chart is spoken for, but I have a couple more Christmassy things that need a good home.

c) HSKS4 is the best swap ever. No offense to other swaps! It's just so involved, and I've never met chattier, friendlier people online, ever. If you don't knit, learn, but you should really sign up for HSKS5 when the time comes. And I'll let you know when the time comes :-)

Good night all! and happy Vday if you celebrate it.


I'm feeling much better. Not quite 100% but I'm tired of talking about being sick so I'm sure everyone else is tired of listening to me talk about being sick. So I'm going to stop talking about it and move on. :-)

As if I didn't have enough projects going on, I think I have to make this needlecase. It's simple, no-sew, and very colorful - a triple threat. I'm going to make one for myself and one for my HSKS4 exchangee. I picked up some yarn at Michael's on my way home from work yesterday, and it shouldn't take long.

Can I just say though, it is RIDICULOUS that Knitty Gritty did an entire show on how to Crochet using a circular Knitting needle. It's a neat trick for a stitch or two, but seriously?!? Use the right tools for the job - a HOOK.

Moving on...

Someone that I know likes lighthouses... so since I don't have any stitching progress to show you guys, here's an old finish (circa 1996).

It's the Gibbs Hill lighthouse in Bermuda and it hangs in the hallway by the kitchen with some other vacation memorabilia type of things.


I'm back and better :-)

When Friday rolled around and I wasn't feeling any better I figured it was time to see a doctor about my *cold*. I got some antibiotics and a recommendation for OTC Mucinex, and felt much better when I woke up Saturday.

I wasn't sure if I was well enough to go to an engagement party for a good friend of the family last night, but the party was close to my house, so we decided my dad could take me home early and then head back to the party. I totally forgot that my friends JL & RM would be there. There went staying for just a half-hour!

JL's more of my brother J's friend, since they're the same age, but since our families are friends he hangs out with me and my other brother as well. RM and I are often the only girls in the mix so we've have become really good friends too. She and JL got married last Spring. She's pretty awesome: she reads even more than I do and she knits. RM's also the person who, if asked what she'd like as a gift, always replies "A pony." She's the only other girl around my age that drinks scotch, likes it, and also knows her stuff. My friend Sip once mixed the good stuff with COKE when my back was turned!!! Sip hasn't been offered any alcohol besides beer since.

The party was fun but I ended up staying for and hour and a half. Even though I barely ate anything, I felt pretty nauseous by the time JL dropped me off at home. It was good to get out of the house though!! Other than the doctor's visit Friday I hadn't been out of the house since Tuesday. Plus I had a great excuse not to hug everyone and their mother at the party.

Today was a very quiet day. Some cleaning and some stitching, basically. I worked on my Fair & Square exchange. One square is mostly done, and now I need to come up with my *signature* square. It *might* be ready to go out this week, but probably Friday at the earliest. I have a feeling it's going to be a busy week.

If anyone's in the NYC area and wants to see The Daily Show taping Thursday, I might have a couple extra tickets. Let me know if you're interested!