Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I'm almost back

Well, it seems I drank a Venti Starbucks Food Poisoning Latte on Monday morning, so..... yeah. Monday and Tuesday? Total loss. Of course, it could have been Airport Burrito Badness on Sunday but that seems less likely.

Whatever it was, it is done with now. I promise to do my New York part 2 post soon.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

New York City (by myself)

So I was about to cross a little street in SoHo, when a mounted police officer asked me, "Can you hold my horse?" Uh...... I would have said yes, but the next thing he asked was if I'd ridden horses before or if I knew how to hold a horse. Well, if it was an experience required job, I was out. I assume he needed to buy something at the tiny corner store. Water? A snack?


I started out my day by going to School Products. It is a funky little store in an office building. You have to ring a doorbell to be let in, and when I got there the store was empty. I waited for few minutes and the owner's husband returned from a break. The whole time I was there, I was the only shopper. I felt a bit overwhelmed in there by all the unlabeled yarns. It wasn't even clear what the exact fiber content was on some things. The color I wanted of their Bulky Cashmere Merino yarn was supposedly out... I just bought two skeins of it in rust, after wandering around the store in a daze for about ten minutes. I think I needed a buddy in that place. I know they have cool stuff, but I just didn't know what to do!

While walking to the store from the subway, I actually went right past Les Halles, Anthony Bourdain's old restaurant. Steve was saying he wants to eat there Saturday.

After School Products I went to Purl Soho. Steve and I had accidentally walked past the store late on Sunday night, on our way to a restaurant. The place is teeny tiny, but packed with great stuff. I wanted to make the shawl they have hanging in the window, but resisted buying the yarn. The only color they have that I like is, I think, the exact same color of yarn that I have on order to make a mobius shawl. I can't make everything in citron! (A greenish yellow.) I finally settled on three balls of slightly rustic yarn (Savannah DK) to make myself a scarf. I wanted to spend more time browsing, but with a store that small it is hard to not get in everyone's way. I then went down a few storefronts to Purl Patchwork, which is their other store. I purchased fancy embroidery floss, a few quarter yards of fabric, and some button backings to make covered buttons. (Tutorial here.) I can't wait to do this- I enjoy embroidery, and have some darling little babies around who could use something with buttons...

After Purl, I went to Veselka to have a wonderful bowl of Borscht. Veselka is my favorite restaurant in New York. I went with my family twice last time I was in NYC, and I've been twice this trip as well. They are a Ukrainian diner, and their food is better than what my great-grandma used to make. (shhh.)

Properly fortified, yet with a horrible case of foot pain mixed with leg muscle ache leftover from Sunday, I hobbled over to Downtown Yarns (no photo) where i bought a knitting magazine and a pattern. They were so nice, and I just sat there and knitted and recovered for a while. The store was as friendly as everyone said.

It was getting late, but I wanted to go to String to buy some Cashmere Koigu, which is made exclusively for this very chi-chi store. The workers were very nice, but I got the distinct feeling that most people who shop at this store don't exactly come in wearing grandma's down fishing jacket with the rusty buttons. (Hey- it doesn't smell like fish anymore!! Plus it is the warmest thing I own.) The yarn was quite expensive and I wasn't thrilled with the colors. There was only one I liked. But... coming all the way to NYC, traveling to this store with this specific purchase in mind... I had to do it. I think I can make a pair of little fingerless gloves out of the yarn.

I'd been invited to a knitting group at Yarntopia, so I trekked waaaaaay up to the very upper west side. (108th street- Central Park ends at 96th.) It was dark and horribly cold and I was quite unhappy that I didn't have a large enough scarf to completely wrap it around my head. I think it was in the low twenties, but the windchill would have made the temperatures in the teens. It sucked. I stayed for a while and bought a few balls of Noro yarn. Everyone was very nice and they ordered chinese food, but I didn't join in since I was worried about catching my train north out of Grand Central.

My little subway incident was when I was trying to change subway lines to get to Grand Central. Somehow I thought I had one more stop, and when I realized that the train was at MY STOP I had to hurry to get up and out of the car. In my rush, a ball of yarn attached to my big knitting project fell out of my bag. I started to exit before a fellow passenger alerted me to my stray yarn. I had to grab it up and get out of the car before the doors started to close. Several yards had become unrolled, and it was looped under my legs and everything because of the way I grabbed it. I don't know what would have happened if I hadn't been made aware, but I assume it would have involved the loss of my entire project and probably my needles too. The thing would have been unravelling along the tracks.... nightmare! I did make my train with time to spare.

So.... total haul from Tuesday. Yikes!

I slept in a bit more on Wednesday, and got in to NYC at 1. I headed right over to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. I wanted to come in 2002, but my brother (all your fault, Jonathan!) doesn't like museums as much as I do. It was super interesting to see. I can't imagine living like that, although I know that my great-grandma's family briefly lived in what was probably a similar situation, in that very neighborhood. You can see a virtual tour of the tenement here, although you won't get to experience the way it felt when the electric lights in the long narrow hallway were turned off. It was chilling. 7,000 people lived in the building between 1863 and 1935.

After that, I went to The Point Knitting Cafe in Greenwich Village. I ate a giant focaccia pizza and browsed around the store. I liked it a lot, and the interesting yarn display was quite fun. I purchased a shawl pin for the large rectangular shawl I've been working on.

I'd been told about two knitting groups on the Upper West Side that night, and I managed to get to them both. I first went to the Starbucks at 86th and Columbus where a bunch of lovely, friendly ladies of all ages were knitting. I wanted to stay, but I'd promised to come to the other group as well. Cosi, at Broadway and 77th, is somewhat similar to Panera Bread. There was a HUGE group of young knitters there (20's and 30's) and everyone was working on fabulous projects. I recognized several people from their Ravelry profiles. This group was evidently Sit and Knit New York, which I'd heard about before.

Thank goodness there was no wind Wednesday, so the 20-something degree temperatures didn't kill me as I walked to the subway. I gave myself 50 minutes to get to Grand Central, but through the random luck of the subway gods I was there in 20 minutes. I amused myself by wandering around the Grand Central Market, where I sampled some fancy cheeses and wanted to buy olives but resisted.

Everything I bought on Wednesday. (Thank goodness.)

Today I'm just sitting in the hotel room. I want to go back into Manhattan tomorrow, but we shall see. The weather report forecasts several inches of snow...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Go visit my brother's new blog! It looks like he'll be having some original fiction as well as his photography there. Now that I've got him blogging, maybe I'll teach him to knit too....

Tomorrow: Tuesday and Wednesday in Manhattan. What did I do? How much stinkin' yarn did I buy? Did I trip down the subway stairs? (Hint: no.) (But I did have another subway incident that could have ended in much upsetness.) Also, what very strange request did I get from an NYPD officer?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Look where I am!


I'm on a surprise trip to New York! Steve is here on business, and I am tagging along since this week is my school's February break. We spent Sunday in Manhattan, but now we are up in Fishkill. It is about 1.5 hours north of Grand Central Station via train, so that isn't too bad. Tomorrow, while Steve is at work, I will be going back into the city by myself. I plan on going yarn shopping, eating borscht at my favorite restaurant in NYC (Vesella- Ukrainian food!) and perhaps going to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. I'll most likely be in Manhattan several times this week, and Steve and I will both be there for the day on Saturday before heading back home Sunday morning.

This is just too much fun! Sunday we went to MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) and saw so much beautiful, famous art. Here are just a few of my favorites.
-Starry Night by Van Gogh (amazing)
-Several Monets including a giant triptych, Reflections of Clouds on a Water-Lily Pond, which was overwhelmingly large. Together they are 6'7"x41'11"! I liked Agapanthus too.
-Some of Seurat's pointillism masterpieces. I never noticed how he made frame-like borders around many of his paintings with different colors of dots. (Port-en-Bessin, Entrance to the Harbor)
-Bunches of Picasso, my favorite of which was Violin and Grapes.
-Christina's World, which I've loved since I was a child, is incredibly detailed. Each little shingle, blade of grass, or strand of hair is there.
-Very cool Alexander Calder mobiles like Lobster Trap and Fish Tail. Our favorite by far was Snow Flurry, which I can't find a picture of. Damn.
-Echo: Number 25, 1951 by Jackson Pollack. I liked this more than his more famous splattery paintings. The curves are quite interesting.
-The Park by Gustav Klimt. This one was very impressive in person.

More NYC later.

Only bad thing? It is COLD here! The city is cold, but Fishkill is super cold. There is snow around, and it is going to be 21 F when I leave tomorrow morning at 9-ish. Snow is forecast during the week...

We also went to..... Dunkin' Donuts! They are all over here, and I can tell you that their coffee is really very good.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

I didn't say anything on here but my great grandma did pass away after rallying long enough to say goodbye to her daughter (my grandma).

Now my grandpa has been in the hospital twice in the last week or so (911, ambulance...) because he has some sort of bleeding ulcer(?) in his esophagus. According to the doctor family members don't need to come. He should be okay but I think we are mostly concerned because he doesn't seem to be taking care of himself or doing what the doctors say. His kidneys have also been having trouble for a while, and he's now on dialysis.

Plus my mom is going through a health scare. She should be okay, but all this medical stuff happening at once is rather difficult. Most likely she will need to go on thyroid medication, although there is a chance that it could be more serious. (A small chance.) Of course my dad had crazy rare cancer of the appendix, so I know that those remote-chance things do happen.

Saturday, February 02, 2008


Lately I've been loving that Dunkin' Donuts ad...

You know, ""Doing things is what I like to do. YES!" It all makes sense now, because the song is by They Might Be Giants. (Slate ad review here.)

I was inspired to go to Dunkin' Donuts, but... um... there aren't any in California. (As far as I can figure.) So why are they advertising here?

Last weekend, to satiate my TMBG-induced doughnut cravings we visited Stan's Donuts in Santa Clara. They were supposed to be the best raised glazed donuts in town and I agree. The place is seriously funky though. I don't think they've remodeled since 1962. They have a cup taped to the wall to hold pens, which I thought was especially classy.