Thursday, August 31, 2006

A day of contrasts

This has been a day of highs and a day of lows. High #1, finding just the right bottom (short skirt) to go with my school T shirt which I had to wear in a show of School Unity today. (It is the small things that make me happy.)

Low #1 seeing how fast the parking spots filled up today. Dealing with parking issues is one of the banes of my work existence.

High #2 -- having my child retrieval issues taken care of for the next few months. This was a big one. Two nights ago the college student that picked the squidlings up from school last year called and said she still had to finalize her program but right then it did not work. We were not supposed to have a solid answer until after school started next week. Somehow she managed to fix it and called me today to tell me so. Then she called me back to ask what Little Squid would like for his birthday. I was on cloud 9. Child retrieval has been one of the biggest fear-shadows since DMIL passed away. She took the kids to and from school every day and cared for them every work day from the time Squidette was 2 months old. Boy I miss her -- and not just for the child care.

Low #2 -- Just before high # 2, a good friend got some very bad news and had to run out of work.

Low #3 -- losing the SD card from my Treo. Fortunately it was a small one and only had my audio books on it. If I am lucky I will find it in my office tomorrow but more likely it popped out one of the times I had to quickly answer my cell phone and just popped the Treo out of it's holster. Since the phone was on silent mode I would not have heard the warning beep that the phone usually gives when the card pops out. I will live and it can be replaced for not too much money but still ...

High # 3 -- this sunset

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Mmmm Lammmmb

Stop reading now if you think that the consumption of fiber bearing animals is cruel. You can resume reading after the next paragraph.

O.k., the rest of you can salivate as I explain that I entered the apartment to the smell of lamb sizzling on the stove. Pair that with mashed potatoes, grape tomatoes and a good red wine and then imagine how I feel right now. Comfy, sated and nice and relaxed.

The day was of neutral character -- nothing bad, nothing wonderful -- kind of a dreary, half rainy, sun never really came out sort of day. After work I headed over to Knitty City to check in to how the Harlots visit will go. Pearl gave me the dope and I got info on some other happenings there and left with a new book and some more sock yarn. Hey, did you really expect me to walk out without yarn?! That made the day a little less neutral, on the side of good. Dinner finished the transition. I really love lamb!

And now, for something completely different.

When my mother-in-law passed on last June we spent the summer cleaning out her apartment. We let a lot of stuff go to the liquidators but while they were doing the final clearout, they found a roll of papers and showed them to us. Including in these papers was this:Grandma Rose's teaching certificate. In the upper left-hand corner, third item down, is her file number, the gold standard of identification for a NYC teacher. I thought I was in shock when I realized last summer that DMILs file number started with a 1. (As in 100,000.) My file number starts with a 6 and teachers coming in today are numbered starting with an 8. Yes, the numbers are given out sequentially. Grandma Rose's file number starts with a 7 ... as in 70,000 ... and was issued in 1922. While my brain understands that obviously there were people with file numbers going all the way down, having the paper in my hands and being related, even by marriage, to one is really wild and warming. Over the next few days I will try to photograph more of these documents so they will be somewhat preserved. This is a small piece of history that I am glad the liquidators did not take.
And this may be the future of our world of education. We could do far, far worse.
And, if anyone still cares, these are one of the new pair of shoes. I shed them as soon as I walked in the door. My toes are a bit sore the heels were a bit too high. Flats tomorrow ... old flats!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Shoes, I got Shoes!!!

The two pair of shoes that I ordered on Sunday arrived today. Woo Hoo!!! And they fit! Now to figure out what to wear tomorrow so I can show off a new pair of shoes. Is that vain or what! I think that I need to look serious on Friday. Hmm... what do you think ... new suit with new shoes? (Just joking, I do not need to look serious on Friday. That was today and I opted for casual anyway.)

I've only been back at work for two days and I am already losing it. Monday I was good and got properly prepared, even putting on my lipstick before I left the apartment. At that point I was sure that I slipped the lipstick in to my purse where it should live for the rest of the year for application on the fly. So, expecting it to be in my purse, I did not even look for it with the rest of my face paints this morning. Fast forward to a wacko lady pulling out the entire contents of her purse at a stop light looking for the blasted lipstick. I even contemplated stopping at a drugstore to get a back up but was not willing to risk a parking ticket to do so. It's o.k., despite being dressed on the casual side and sans lipstick my meeting still went well. I've met with these guys often enough that I do not need the window dressing anymore. I have learned that it does make a difference early on but after a year it should not matter.

So what does a Mother Squid do after a long day of work ... she goes grocery shopping. Note: this is usually a Papa Squid job but I had the car ...

Then, she instigates an asparagus fight at the dinner table.

And on that note ... how was your day?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Finished Object and Progress

Here we go ... a finished CeCe! This is the picture that shows off the sweater.

This is the picture that makes me look good. (Or at least better.)
And here is the body of Woven! The first sleeve is now on the needles. I am hereby swearing not to start another project until this one is finished! Not even a pair of socks.And, because it is a quiet news day ... a happy cantalope.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

WIPs and other stuff

I know that I have a lot of works-in-progress and I have neither forgotten nor abandoned them. Woven is in my lap as I type and I am close to finishing the body. The Tulip and Gingham socks are languishing but not forgotten and the Mitered Sweater is waiting to see if I can get any more coordinating roving at Rhinebeck. Yes, I could order it but I have plenty of other stuff to keep me occupied in the mean time. The second dye-o-rama sock is on the needles and the first Corn Maze sock is 75% finished.

On the main wheel is the Shetland that I am processing and spinning. Two more batts were carded and spun today at which point I discovered that the rest of the locks in the bag were a different shade of pink -- the already carded and spun stuff is more purpley. I have a vague memory of buying two different pink shades last year but it was a year ago ... Tomorrow I should finish the spinning of the more purple stuff and start carding up the pink. Maybe I will start plying the purple stuff. On one spindle is some multi-colored silk for a shawl-in-progress, on another some lovely space dyed BFL picked up at Rhinebeck last year from The Fold. On a third is the roving I picked up in Lancaster. The silk is my purse spinning, the BFL is my bike spinning (stationary bike) and the Lancaster roving is my laundry room / playground spinning. So things are getting done, just slowly.

For the last 10 minutes I have been eavesdropping on a conversation between Squidette and a friend. They are comparing back-to-school / new school strategies -- brown bag or lunch box (or school lunch), what kind of back pack to use and where to meet after school. I find this all fascinating. We left much of her shopping undone until she could see what others were doing and then decide how she wants to clothe herself. (Within reason -- I will NOT buy pre-torn jeans.) This year should be interesting as she gains a huge amount of independence and starts commuting (one-way) on her own.

We Squid have spent a quiet day, mostly at home. Seven hours on bikes yesterday took its toll on all of us. Our day's excursion included only a walk to the Green Market with various stops on the way back. Little Squid is now equipped with all of the clothing he should need for this year except for a long-sleeve white button-down shirt. All they had was short sleeve. Blah! I will have to order that when I order their winter jackets. Squidette still needs some jeans because Old Navy does not do "slim" past size 10. She is too tall for the 10 and too slim for the 12. This means I actually have to exert myself here. Have I mentioned that I hate shopping?

My own wardrobe should be ready to go with the last two pair of shoes that I needed now ordered. Over the last few years I have shifted my wardrobe to a more professional look and have slowly started wearing nicer shoes. For most of my career I wore the same style shoe in 3 or 4 different colors. I am not kidding. I would go in to the 9 West outlet and stock up on Blue, Black and Brown in my size with occasional forays into white, off white and tan. I even had one pair in red. All the same, very conservative, very plain, uncontroversial style. Ever since my old boss retired and a new, female, boss took his place, I have paid closer attention to my own look and how people interpret it. I like what I have created and am trying to keep it up even if it means searching for shoes that are not all the same. (Just as long as they click-clack as I make my way through the halls!) I even started wearing lipstick everyday after seeing my boss before she put on her make-up. It really does make a difference -- I never thought it would.

And so it goes. If I knit for the next hour I might finish Woven's body. I'll let you know tomorrow.

Last but not least, for those of you who actually read through the post, some eye-candy -- my squirrel socks which celebrate my prowess with a squirrel trap. (Have-a-heart, I promise.)

Friday, August 25, 2006

Squid on the Beach

Every so often Squid do return to their native waters, in this case, the Atlantic Ocean as seen from the Boardwalk at Coney Island.Yes, the Squid went to Coney Island today and did it ... On Wheels. Click here to see the convoluted path that we took to get there. It was actually pretty direct except for that one section after the south end of Prospect Park. It was at this point that we got kind of dumb despite the prior warning of a kind fellow biker who warned us that it was a tricky maneuver to get to the Ocean Parkway bike path. Next time we will know better. Really, click the link if you want a good laugh. Since it is a Google Map you can go all the way in and in Hybrid mode, even see the pattern of planks on the Boardwalk! Zoom out and then back in if the entire map does not seem to appear.

Once on the Ocean Parkway bike path we had the pleasure of remembering our ABC's as we worked our way through the alphabet of Avenues finally arriving here:
Those of you who know us well will understand the significance. Papa Squid is often referred to as "Z" by his students.

Welcome! This is the land of our ancestors. All of our parents spent time here in their youth either growing up or enjoying the sights. My dad recalls a bike ride from way up in the Bronx, through Queens, down to Coney Island, up through Manhattan and home to the Bronx. He says he was quite a bit older then Little Squid when he did this. My dad also rode to Boston through a hurricane and has the pictures to prove it.

The Brighton Beach end of the Boardwalk with the amusement end in the background. The tower in the middle is the famous Parachute Jump. It no longer functions as such but they recently added lights to give it prominence at night. Yes, the sky really was that dark and that is the reason that we never did make it to the other end of the Boardwalk for a ride on some of the amusements. We do not do the Cyclone if you are wondering. Papa dragged me on it once and that was enough. One of us will brave it again if one of the Squidlings wants to ride it but only then.

After making it all the way to Coney Island, we went in search of Mrs. Stahl's knishes in Brighton Beach. It seems that they no longer exist. Boo. :-( The last time I rode out to Coney Island was on a two-boro knish tour with Papa Squid and his mother. That was probably about 16 -17 years ago. I still remember the taste of those knishes.

This is where we wound up stopping for lunch. The waitress was kind enough to take the photo. I felt like such a tourist! We ate outside right next to our bikes.

This was the menu.

The other side was in English.

Little Squid enjoying (really!) Cold Red Soup. Not Borscht. Squidette also enjoyed it. Papa and I had a cold green soup which tasted kind of like cold Campbells vegetable soup and was really refreshing. We completed the meal with chicken stroganoff and homestyle pork stew. Yum!

Little Squid posing on the Boardwalk.

SQUID ON THE BEACH!!!Papa Squid with the ubiquitous Bike Friday.

Mama and Papa Squid did not pose on the beach due to the fear of the effect of sand on bicycle cleats. Next time we will take bike locks and walk out to the water in bare feet.

On the way back, Papa had a flat tire which he fixed with his usual efficiency while the squidlings rested on a nearby rail. I assisted in the operation and took a picture.

Squidette approaching Grand Army Plaza on the return trip. Look how happy she is!Mama and Little. It looks like we are going much faster then we really are!Cool picture of Manhattan as seen from the bike cam on the Brooklyn Bridge.

The ride took almost 7 hours including lunch and getting lost in Brooklyn. Hopefully we can do the next big ride in less time. We loaded the water bottles with Accelerade to give the kids a bit more to go on. It seemed to work pretty well. Little was fading a bit as we hit the Brooklyn Bridge on the return trip but after almost 7 hours on the road, what do you expect? Now we and the kids know that they can do the ride we have planned on the 10th. Yea!!!

Total Mileage: 35.7 !!!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Help! My Turtles are Trying to Escape!

Really! I think it is time that I got the other two tanks set up and separated the reptiles. Yesterday we found two of them on top of the log, on top of each other, reaching for the tank cover. I think the third one was giving suggestions from below.

Meanwhile, we went back to school shopping!
Why yes, those clothes are a bit sophisticated for Squidette. Who said we were shopping for the kids?! Papa Squid and I enhanced our school wardrobes slightly and then we all when sofa shopping. In 8 weeks or so we should have our new recliner sofa. Yea!!! The kids were then treated to lunch at Ikea (best price / food in the area) and we hit Costco to stock up on back-to-school necessities like peanut butter and jelly (for Squidette) and hot cups (for Mama Squid). Both kids walked out with new sweat shirts and we now have dinner fixings for many meals.

Today -- Dentist for all and some shopping for Squidette. Turns out that Little's early spring growth spurt left him well equipped with jeans in the right sizes. All he needs are some long sleeve tops and another sweatshirt or two. Squidette on the other hand ... we have no clue since most of her school stuff is at my sister-in-laws and cannot be retrieved before Labor Day Weekend. So ... we will get her enough to get through those ever important opening days of Middle School and then reassess.

I leave you with photographic evidence that Squid have feet.
Some squid have tan line.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Family of Squid Invade Randall's Island and a Contest

Today the Squid family ventured to Randall's island in the middle of what most people call the East River but which we believe is actually Hell's Gate. (No, really, that is the name of that piece of the tidal estuary that is on the east side of Manhattan.)

Why, you ask, did they venture that far uptown on two wheels? To train for the really long ride that they are hoping to do in a couple of weeks. And, because it was a new place to ride.

We are running out of time to get in shape for the New York Century, a 100 mile ride of which we are hoping to do the 35 mile portion. In less then a week Mama Squid returns to work and the squidlings resume camp for a single week. Papa Squid also goes back to work, but a bit later that same week. So, our weekday rides will be a thing of the past after Friday (Not counting Labor Day, of course). Since tomorrow is the annual "back to school" shopping expedition and Thursday the semi-annual family Dentist appointments ... There just is not much time left.

And so I give you the latest Bike Cam and Bike Cam 2 (Mama's bike-mounted camera) montages of today's trip.Taxis in Central Park at 10:30 a.m. The park closes to traffic at 10:00 a.m. Papa Squid tried standing in front of them for a while but it quickly became a futile and blood pressure raising act.
On the right with the "smoke stack" sticking out is Mama Squid's school. (Aka Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics High School.) Photo taken from the 103rd street bridge to Randall's Island. Carl Schurz Park.
Squidlings on Randall's Island.
The Central Park drive heading south on the west side.

The pedestrian bridge to Randall's Island from the Manhattan side.

The pedestrian bridge to Randall's Island from the perspective of the Bike Cam.

A bridge view. The Triborough is in the foreground and I can't remember what the arched bridge in the back is. Google Earth is slowing my machine down too much to research it right now.
The Great Hill in Central Park. The squidlings did not even yelp when we declared it a mandatory part of the route home. Both ascended it with relative ease. See what happens when you train them up! Mama Squid was not even breathing hard!
Ice Cream!

Then, a lovely ride home following what is now a well worn route. Total mileage: 25.

And now the contest ... What will the total Squid Family mileage be for 2006? (Note that we are now up to 312 miles. Total mileage is in the sidebar.) We will declare biking season officially over as of Halloween for the purposes of this contest. Entries must be in the comments by 11:59 p.m. Friday, August 25, 2006. Closest guess wins a skein of Cherry Hill sock yarn and some other swag of my choosing.

As for fiber content ...

When we got home violin lessons were in order and Mama Squid did what Mama Squids do when their squidlings are taking music lessons -- she retreated to her spinning enclave on the balcony. Much of the fluffy pink stuff was turned in to thin pink singles. Yes Cookie, cotton candy can be spun. [grin]
I will have to card up some more tomorrow as I managed to spin 2 full batts today during the delightful hour or so I spent on the balcony listening to my audio book and enjoying the comfortable weather. Can we please extend summer vacation?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Look! Spinning!

O.k., carding! Big, fluffy batts of carded pink Shetland wool. Yum! After 3 passes through my carder there are very few neps and most of them are so small that I am just leaving them in as I spin it. Love it!
On to today's bike ride. Today was meant to be a short ride, a stretch your legs and keep them nimble kind of ride and that is exactly what it was. You have got to love Manhattan on a late summer Monday morning. Traffic is light, pollution is low and it was relatively cool.

We started with our usual southern route. On the right is the world famous Stuyvesant High School. Possibly, the best high school in the country. Papa Squid teaches there. Mama and Papa Squid both graduated from it in 19XX. Mama Squid's younger sister and older-younger brother graduated from there as did Papa Squid's brother. Will Squidette and Little Squid go there? Admission is based soley on the results of one test taken on one day. So ... time will tell. Check with me in 3 years. (Bike Cam photo)
The Mariner's Memorial down in Battery Park. If you look closely you will see one sailor being pulled up out of the water. This monument is dedicated to all of the Mariners who gave their lives for our country. View of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges as taken from the Bike Cam.Papa Squid with the Bike Cam mounted on his Bike Friday.

At this point, just south of the Williamsburg Bridge, we decided to go home via the streets and Papa led us to ... Economy Candy. Surprisingly enough we had not made it there yet this summer. This is what kids in a candy store look like:We left with one, very small, bag of candy. Really! We saved the big calories for Chocolate Haven at the end of the ride!An old synagogue which is no longer serving in its original role.

When we left on what was supposed to be a 10-12 mile / 1-2 hour ride we knew that we had to be home in time for me to meet mom and little sis at noon. With the switch of route on to the streets our ride slowed somewhat and we arrived home at 11:25. A quick shower and change later ...
She could be my daughter ... one of these days I will get a picture of me, sis and Squidette so you can see the progression. Sis goes back to college on Saturday and we will miss her!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Contest Entry

O.k, if you heard about the contest over here then you know that I had to enter with this:

Socks on a Squid

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Debut of the Bike Cam

New today was the "bike cam" that Papa hooked up to the Bike Friday. Unfortunately the camera battery died as we topped the Brooklyn Bridge so I do not have the amazing views of Manhattan as we came back.

I do, however, have several pictures of the backs of Mama Squid, Squidette and Little Squid as Papa was taking up the rear for the early part of the ride.A less-than picturesque street in Manhattan (27th heading west). The pink shirted cyclist is Squidette. Mama is in front of her and Little is on the right.
This is the view as we approach the Hudson River from our building. The building on the right has become trendy office space and I believe that Martha Stewart's headquarters are there though I cannot swear to it. Regardless of who is there, they create the nastiest traffic conditions with the double parking of limos and other VIP type vehicles. Today was quiet but this was early on a Saturday. In the far background is New Jersey. Heading south on the Hudson River path. Directly to the south on the right is the Chelsea Piers sports complex. The blue-shirted figure in front-center is Little Squid.
Same path further south. The cyclist in view is the wonderful Mama Squid. You can tell by her ubiquitous biking backpack.
The Brooklyn Bridge as viewed from east of the first mooring.

The rest of the pictures were taken with Mama Squid's camera at rest.
At our entrance to Prospect Park. No, we did not stop to figure out if they represent anything important. Next time.
Grand Army Plaza.
The sign says it all! (Back in Manhattan.)

When all was said and done, we biked roughly 20 miles and stopped at the Union Square Green Market for all sorts of fresh and yummy fruit and veggies. Dinner was a salad made up of all Green Market veggies except for the tomatoes which were harvested from our own plants. The map of today's ride can be found here.

Since the weather was cool and over cast I actually got a lot of spinning done. Recently I cared up some of the wonderful Shetland acquired at NY Sheep and Wool last year. I ran it through the carder 3 times and have the most wonderful, spinnable batts! I have been doing most of my spinning on the balcony but I usually do not get out there until late afternoon when the sun hits it full force. This means that I am usually only out there for half-an-hour or so until it gets too hot. Today, however, I was out for well over an hour and now I need to card up some more wool to spin! I will try to take some pictures when I do it so you can see my lovely, fluffy batts.