Sunday, March 22, 2009

Weekend Adventures

It officially being spring and all, I decided to have a bit of an adventure this weekend.

Finding myself in New York on Friday with a rare day off and some time to kill, I decided to take an N train out to Coney Island, a place that I have often seen on television but never visited. The weather was dreary, which lent to the whole sense of sadness surrounding the fenced off Comet and Wonder Wheel. For the record, I did not get a hot dog.

I started off at Penn Station.

We were underground for a while.

And then, above ground for a while.

At last! The Wonder Wheel. It makes me think back to my recent reading of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, which I highly recommend you read.

Time to hit the beach!

Is it summer yet?

No, I don't think so. It was cold, windy, and a good time to listen to Neutral Milk Hotel.

But, here's an eternal palm tree.

Other highlights of this trip included a visit to both Purl and Purl Patchwork, where I picked up some yarn. I found Patchwork to be a little too crowded for me to really enjoy. I was also on a time crunch. We also enjoyed a great dinner of wild boar and gnocchi at Villa Mosconi on MacDougal right near Houston, and right around the corner from Purl.

I've also been knitting. Focusing my efforts on getting full garments completed. It's been a challenge since I've lost weight and find myself struggling to dress a work in progress. Speaking of progress, here's the progress I've made on Marilyn's Not So Shrunken Cardigan by Wendy over at Knit and Tonic.

I have made several Knit and Tonic patterns, and I can't recommend them enough. They're wearable, the yarn, Elsebeth Lavold Silky Tweed in this case, is affordable, and you can easily size and customize everything to your liking. I plan on omitting the ruffles and just adding a simple garter stitch border all around.

And now that it's back to work tomorrow I think I'll settle back in my chair, work on some more decrease rounds, watch David Copperfield on Masterpiece Classic, and enjoy my freshly made Maple Syrup Scones.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Snow Day

It snowed all day yesterday. The day before that it was so warm that I ran errands wearing a hoodie and nothing more. I spent most of yesterday sitting by my window watching flurries blow around in the sky, but never hit the ground. When I left for work, I didn't even bother donning my boots, those big yellow rubber golashes that I wear whenever there's a little moisture in the air. Mistake.

By 20:45 when we walked out of work, my ballet flats and I found ourselves traipsing about in a winter wonderland, the likes of which had me hearing Christmas carols off the in the distant corners of my mind. By the time I got off the bus, shoes filled with snow from walking through the two inches that had already settled comfortably on the ground, I sat in bed and finished up Fetching.

I had attempted to make these little mitts about 2 years ago. I'd bought a ball of the Debbie Bliss, and just didn't have enough to complete the second glove. It's been cold this winter, and I've had this extra ball of Merino Style from Knit Picks. The yarn is a bit thinner than the Cashmerino Aran, but I knit them on size 5 Crystal Palace double points, and they are just as squishy and wonderful as I'd hoped they'd be. In fact, I stayed up a little late last night finishing the second one, just so I'd be able to wear them in our chilly stock room at work today. It's been freezing back there all winter, and my knucks are looking mighty haggard these days.

Then this morning, I was woken up by a phone call informing me of an unexpected snow day. So instead of wearing my mitts at work, I can wear them at home while I finish up Foliage, another project I started a over a year ago, and had met with disastrous results. I think I first attempted this hat before I realized that I am a loose knitter, and before I really understood how to read a lace chart. Halfway through, the hat was hopelessly large and wonky. I abandoned it until a week ago.

This year I'm trying to get through as much of my stash as I can before I buy any more yarn. This was something I started to do last year, but I can honestly say I've made more progress in the past month than I did in the previous 12, including several sweaters that will appear sometime next week.

This time around I went with size 10 crystal palace DPNs for the body, and size 9 DPNs for the ribbing. The fantastic Malabrigo Chunky was purchased at Loop, though I have long forgotten the name of the colorway. As you can see, I'm all dolled up with no place to go, so I think I'll just hunker down, finish off some projects, and listen to the scrape of shovels against the sidewalk.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


It has not been mentioned here yet, but I think this would be the appropriate time to tell you that I love baseball. I love baseball and Philadelphia and we just won the World Series for the first time in 28 years. Even the following day I have to say that I'm still in a bit of shock. Listening to the radio at work last night (yes, work, on the most important night of the year), I paused when we were one out away, stood quietly hunched over a table as Uncle Harry in his soothing timbre say "Swing...and he missed it."

Wait...WHAT? He swung and MISSED? I couldn't move. He swung and missed? That means strike 3! That means out 3!


Loud cheering on my part ensued. It's something that I'll never forget as long as I live.

As soon as we went outside we were showered in champagne and beer and high fives and more yelling. As expected insanity ensued and working at Broad and Walnut, we had a front row seat for what was probably the most destructive crowd in the city. What started with 100 people quickly turned to thousands with folks climbing street lamps to snatch down World Series banners, people scaling buildings, newstands, bus shelters, anything to get a better view. And my personal favorite, the 5 guys who stole our trash dumpster and rode it down Broad Street.

The following are photographs I took with my phone.

The Beginning

Note the Bus Shelter is still intact

Victory Face

A fire truck rolled down the street and people climbed on it

Someone fell through the bus shelter, (across the street a crowd tore another one down completely)

Riot Police

Trash Fire on 16th below Walnut St.

Little Pete's was mobbed, but my victory meal of grilled cheese, fries, and a milkshake was well worth it.

The Aftermath

Sunday, October 05, 2008


I realize that the whole cupcake fad has more or less come and gone, but really, how far can it go? Who doesn't love a single serving size of cake with an overabundance of delicious frosting. To celebrate the fall weather that we're finally privilege to, I made my favorite pumpkin cupcake recipe, with some delicious cinnamon cream cheese frosting. It was a rainy weekend, probably not the best for baking, but man, that cream cheese frosting...I can't resist it. Even if it was only for a few minutes, I was a total spoon licking, batter eating fattie...and it was glorious!

The cupcakes were actually not just for my voluptuous hips, but actually to help raise money for the Philadelphia AIDS Walk happening at the end of the month. The folks at work seemed to enjoy them, and, admittedly, I may have bought a few myself during a particularly stressful day.

Sometimes, it's really refreshing to work with my hands and produce something that isn't made of fiber. On that note, the cupcakes were only part of that afternoon's project. Next up was Dirty Risotto, the Everyday Italian take on dirty rice. Spicy sausage, pancetta, mushrooms, red peppers...pretty much all of my favorite things in a risotto. Genius!

It started like this...

And then it grew a little bit...

And then I added some rice and the real work began!

I love risotto, but you really have to put some muscle into it to get that rich creaminess. I've heard of people who add a lot of cheese or heavy cream...this is completely unnecessary. Cheese, you need a little at the end, along with some nice flat leaf parsley.
It was so good that I ate it more or less every day for a week.

PS. I have been knitting, and actually finishing things that I will share with you very soon.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


I went out last night, which is a rarity these days. It was rainy, but the first bits of fall are finally starting to penetrate and break up that awful stench of summer that permeates this city. There was drinking, there was dancing, there were boys falling on the floor, and there was some relieving of bowels in alleyways and behind dumpsters on the long journey home. Fortunately, I had a very dear gentleman to escort me and keep watch. That makes it all sound a lot more classy than it actually was.

I slept till noon today, such a rare luxury. Not only because I rarely get a weekend day off, but also because I have trouble sleeping past 8 am even when I do. So even though I have about 10 UFOs lying around, and some errands to run, I am content to sit here, eat chocolates from Germany, let the "genius" in iTunes 8.0 pick my music, and knit something small and satisfying.

As far as I'm concerned, this is as luxurious as it gets.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Keeping it All Together

It's raining out today. Kind of cold. Windy. I haven't gotten out of bed except for the two minutes that I went wandering around for the menu for the restaurant that we live above. I knew what I wanted, but I didn't have their number. So, after a few minutes of fruitless searching I returned to bed, opened my window and lit a cigarette. It was then I saw the sign, the sign for the restaurant right below my window, with the phone number emblazoned across it.

The truth is, things haven't been to easy lately. It's been a rough few weeks, a rough few months, maybe even a rough couple years. It all blurs together into something that I understand, but can't quite make out. The closer I get to summer, the more the memories of North Carolina, of my uncle, of the my aunt as she struggled to hold herself up and smile as she watched him slip away. How she protected everyone, even me, from the really bad things that were happening. I realize that everyone experiences loss in their lives, almost never by choice. I've had a lot of that lately, and I sit here and try to learn from it, but it's a half step forward and then three steps back. There is always a rug being pulled out from underneath me. I need to find a spot that's just hardwood flooring, and stay there.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Money Shot

There comes a time in day, usually around 19:00 these days that the sun takes a break from bearing down into our eastern facing apartment and heads over to the other side of Broad St. leaving us with a kitchen full of soft grey light that makes even the jar of mayonnaise look kind of dreamy and artistic.

I shot this photo last night as I was getting ready to make a large pot of seafood risotto and watch the Phils bullpen give up run after run to Mets. Oh, the humanity! The season is young though, and after years of disappointment, I have to say that I can really rely on the Phils to lift up my hopes and then crush them on a day to day basis. That's what summer around here is all about.

The scarf is Shifting Sands by Grumperina. I first saw the pattern in progress at Brooklyn Tweed several months ago. He was working it in Malabrigo and I just loved how all the little cables really brought out the imperfect nature of the yarn, its thick and thin pieces, the variations in color...gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous. Fortunately, the thing is taking forever, and I'm really just enjoying it without rushing to get it done. After all, it's 70 degrees out today.