Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Last Week of Camp

Yup, this is it. "Vacation" officially starts on Saturday.

Mike and I enjoyed one of our last days together and got very little accomplished. Which is just fine.

After dropping the kids off we came home via Zabar's, at which point I realized that I have never shared this NYC gem with you all. When I first moved into Manhattan, perhaps even before, Mike introduced me to what was then the gourmet food store. Many concerts-in-the-park were provisioned with cheese and bread from Zabar's. Many a lox-and-bagel breakfast have been procured here. Today we grabbed some yummy gift stuff as well as some basic provisions for the apartment. I say "we" but I actually stood outside with the bikes, knitting, while Mike did the shopping. We know who wears the pants in this family. (Actually I was wearing bike shorts.)After a shower and a rest we took a walk up to Times Square and dropped off Squidette's clarinet to be overhauled. Along the way we saw the Naked Cowboy. This was the first time I have ever seen him. Must use a good sunblock because he just is not that tan. Dave, the buns are for you.

Caught sight of this view on the way home. I don't know what any of the buildings are, but it was an interesting juxtaposition of old and new.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Tour is Over!

Well the Tour de France ended this morning and what a tour it was. Scandal, intrigue, strategy, team work, solo accomplishment and excitement galore. By the end, three out of four Squid were totally wrapped up in it and at least one Squid picked up some cycling tips. I found the conclusion satisfying even if one of my favorites was kicked out after being caught blood doping. As to that, all I can say is "eww, gross!"

And now I present my completed Tour de France Knitalong project and bonus project.
(Mike was tired of the same old pose so I gave him something new and he in turn created a picture that is almost impossible to view.)
The Chevron Vest from Knitter's Magazine, Summer 2007. Yarn is my own handspun merino/silk/alpaca blend spun to a sportweight triple ply (navajo plyed). Not completely consistent in grist but mostly.
The vest still needs to be blocked and needs buttons. I do not like the buttons I had so this will wait until I can get to a trimmings store this week.
And matching socks. The cuff uses the stitch pattern from the vest. Socks were knit toe up with a sort row heel. The toe up was done because I was afraid I would run out of yarn. I probably have enough yarn left to make a matching pair of wristlets. In other words, I had enough to make an entire sweater. Figures. The rainbow batt was roughly 9 ounces. Oh, and these socks count for Summer of Socks, too!

Saturday, July 28, 2007



Please send Little Squid some good glasses vibes as he gets used to them. Welcome to the fold, kid!


I am still trying to upload the map of our ride. I managed to create it in a google map but despite following a few different sets of instructions I seem incapable of doing this. What I really need to do is learn how to code html and java or ... make nice to Papa Squid.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Fridays Around Manhattan (on Thursday)

Fridays, as in Bike Friday, as in Mike and I circumnavigated Manhattan yesterday. 50 miles of biking, including retrieving the kids from camp (11 miles alone). The exact route is detailed at the bottom of this post for anyone who cares to take out a map and figure it out. I am trying to get Mike to upload his GPS map and will link to it when and if he does it. (On the other hand, I am trying to figure out how to do it myself and have several reference tabs open. Watch for an edit to this post.)

Basically, we dropped the kids off at camp and then rode as close to the rivers as possible while still mostly keeping to marked bike routes. Upper Manhattan involved some serious hills and everything south of 40th Street was pretty flat. Since, except for our breakfast stop, we rode pretty continuously, there is little in the way of NYC lore here. If we repeat the trip with the kids there will be more history.

Photos courtesy of the new and improved Bike Cam.The path leading to the Little Red Lighthouse and George Washington Bridge. (The person is me.)The George Washington Bridge.The hill leading up from the Little Red Lighthouse. Yes, I am walking my bike. If you look carefully, this gives a very good feel for the steepness of this hill. The incline actually starts well below the level of the roadway in this photo.Inspiration Point.Bridges leading to the Bronx.St. Nicholas Avenue.
Overpass leading from the Greenway to York Avenue about 60th Street.

The northern end of the island is very hilly and left me rather tired though I did manage to climb all of the hills except the Little Red Lighthouse hill (and I did more than half of that one, only giving up on the very last, steepest part of the incline). We saw some lovely homes and even passed the Dyckman Homestead.

After 22 miles of riding, we stopped for a picnic breakfast in Carl Shurz Park and relaxed on the grass in the shade of a tree. Revived, we continued on our way, cheered that the rest of the trip was relatively flat. Oops, forgot that nasty hill on York Avenue and then another one or two milder ones on Second Ave. No big deal, relatively.

Down and around the tip of the island, passing the "evil metal plates" and heading back up to Chambers Street to pick up sandwiches for dinner. The back to the Greenway and home for lunch. Yes, after a two hour rest we then headed back out, on the bikes, to retrieve the kids from camp. We left an hour early because I was concerned that I would be too tired to bike quickly. Turns out I had much more energy then I did in the morning and climbed the hill on Riverside Drive relatively easily. We were half an hour early to get Squidette so we rested in a nearby park for a while. By the time we got home the ride had finally set in and I was downing much liquid after finally getting clean.

I admit that I am the first to defend my city against those who would malign it but I have to admit that it is dirty! After 5 hours on a bike, mostly on or near traffic, I was covered in soot and debris that adhered to my sweat and sunblock sticky skin. For the time being, I am clean but, it is time to finish the painting ...

Detailed route follows as interpreted from the GPS track. A street or two may be missing so use this at your own risk.

We started at home, rode up the Greenway adjacent to the West Side Highway, exiting the greenway at 95th Street. We then rode up Riverside Drive to 112th Street and deposited Little Squid at camp. Uptown on Broadway to 122nd Street to deposit Squidette and the over to Claremont. Right on Claremont to Broadway to Dr. Martian Luther King Jr. Blvd to 12th Avenue, across the Fairway's parking lot to Fairway to secure breakfast provisions. Then back to 12th Avenue and back on to the Greenway. North on the Greenway to the Little Red Light House. Up the hill (I did not make the last bit this time) continuing North to the stairs at the end of the Greenway. Following the signs we resumed riding on the streets at Staff Street turning east on Dykeman to Seaman Avenue. Seaman (north) to West 218th Street. East on 218th Street past Baker Field to Broadway. North on Broadway to the Broadway Bridge (but not over it) to 9th Avenue (no kidding!). 9th Avenue east and then south to West 215th Street. 215th to Broadway, Broadway southeast to 204th Street. 204th to Sherman Avenue to Academy to Nagle Avenue to Dyckman, east to the Greenway heading south along the Harlem River. South along the Greenway to the Harlem River Drive to St. Nicolas Place. South along St. Nicolas to 151st Street to St. Nicolas Avenue. South along St. Nicolas Avenue to West 120th Street to the East River Greenway and then south to Carl Shurz Park. Rest stop for breakfast and a "natural" break.

A brief detour to our favorite bike shop and then back to the Greenway heading south. Down the stairs at 79th Street (definitely easier to hike a roadbike onto a shoulder then schelping a Bike Friday down those stairs!) and south to the end of the Greenway at about 60th Street. Over the overpass to York Avenue. South on York to 55th Street. 55th West to 2nd Avenue and 2nd Ave South to 38th Street. At this point we followed the signs heading east on 38th to the Greenway only to find the gates locked. South along the service road of the FDR to 35th Street where we were able to reconnect to the Greenway and then stayed along the East River all the way to the southern tip of the island. We continued to follow the greenway around the tip and then headed north on the Hudson River side. A brief stop on Chambers Street to pick up sandwiches for dinner and then back to the greenway and home.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Theaters and Theatrics

Today was the day to lock in a place for a certain party we are hosting in September 2008. Our errand took us into Midtown and our walk home had us wandering through part of the theater district. I love looking at the details on the facades but only took a few pictures today due to time constraints and the excessive number of people on the street for the matinées.

And finally, a bit of old Times Square. In the afternoon we retrieved the Squidlings and, after purchasing some cheese and sausage (fruit and bread having been obtained earlier at the Greenmarket), went for a picnic dinner in the shadow of the Empire State Building.

O.k., actually we were to the west of the Empire State Building and the sun was to our west so we technically were not in it's shadow.We were, however, shaded by this interesting piece of usable sculpture,
but chose not to eat at this one since it was not shaded.

O.k., all together now "You can't find a shady spot on the Western shore of Manhattan in the late afternoon. The River does not cast a shadow!" This is similar to the problem we had finding a shady spot on the East River at 10:00 a.m. for breakfast. D'oh!

Above, some greenery, just to prove we have some.

Below, the Starrett-Leigh Building. A landmark building (exteriors) that has undergone a huge change from warehouse/maufacturing to "new media" aka dot coms, designers and Martha Stewart. According to NYC-Architecture.com, rents have jumped from $5/square foot to $40 in just 2 years. Their article is a scathing indictment of the current owners and is the first time I have seen this website editorialize in such a fashion. (You will notice that I try to use them whenever I have an unusual building to highlight. I tend to like their write-ups and I totally agree with them now. The traffic and obnoxious pedestrians that this renovation has brought is turning me into a curmudgeon.)Below are the ruins of tracks that led from the water to one of the buildings adjacent to Starrett-Leigh.Below are the tracks that lead directly into Starrett-Leigh. Railroad containers would be loaded on to barges in New Jersey and floated across the Hudson to be offloaded directly on to tracks and rolled right into the building. Elevators inside are large enough and strong enough to handle the load bring the cargo directly where it is needed.
The building to the north of Starrett-Leigh. I will try to find out what it is for you.And, just for the sake of comedy, a small barn on 26th Street. Yes, that is a violin on Papa's back, why do you ask?

Tomorrow, Mama and Papa amuse themselves by circumnavigating Manhattan. Friday, Mama and Papa collapse from exhaustion. Saturday, Little Squid gets glasses and Sunday, the Squid clan sees Ratatouille.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Yellow and Green

Today is a rest day for the Tour de France riders but there is no rest for the family Squid for we have walls to paint and floors to uncover.

But first ... look, I do still knit. Undulating Rib Socks from Favorite Socks. Size -- roughly 8. Yarn, Treking XXL sent to me by, I think, KnittyOtter. (The socks are actually quite a bit more purple then they appear and are only baggy because they are being modeled on Squidette's size 7's.)

Silk Scarf. I can't find the pattern information right now but it was from the Knitting Pattern A Day 2005 calendar. Yarn: Homespun on my Minstrel and then Navajo plied on my Journey Wheel. Blocked with my new blocking wires.
And our walls! Thanks, Dave!
Trim, doors and touch-up still have to be done -- as well as one or two special, uniquely squid touches to be added. Sorry for the blurriness, my walls are actually quite sharp. My knees are killing me. While the upper wall was a pain to paint because I had to keep climbing the step ladder to do the cutting in, the bottom half had me crouching / kneeling for the entire stretch -- and there is much more wall then I am showing -- and it all needed 2 coats. Thursday or Friday will see the end of this project and we will order a rug in the next few days. Thank you to all who helped us with your input but especially Dave!

The Last Place You Look

You know why things are always in the last place that you look? Because you stop looking once you've found it!

Yesterday we paused in the painting and instead did some cleaning. First came a couple of kitchen cabinets where we had a moth problem. (What does it say about me, that I was relieved that the moths that I had seen were grain moths?) Then, for me, came Little Squid's room.

Last September we gave him an inexpensive GPS for his birthday. By May it was missing. He claimed to have left it on his desk -- hence kind of blaming Maria. I thought like Maria and searched his desk drawers. Nothing. Then I, garbage bag in hand, searched his closet, his book shelves and then, after taking a break, and in desperation, his clothing drawers. Both Squidlings sleep in Captain's beds with very large drawers below the mattress. Little Squid tends to leave his open -- so things fall in. I searched the drawer at the head of his bed, I searched the drawer at the foot of his bed and then finally, as I was digging through his underwear in the middle drawer ... voila!

Today, the rain has stopped, we can ride to camp again and finish the major painting. Yea! Unfortunately it is also a rest day in the Tour de France so I will have to occupy my paint drying time with some other activity. Yesterday's end of stage was so exciting that it was a good thing I was just knitting a plain sock foot! I am making socks to match my TdFKAL vest as a secondary Tour project. One foot down, and on to the first cuff. Pictures later now that the skies have brightened.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Half a Wall

Saturday was a day for a little bit of biking,a little bit of baking,

(kudos go to Papa Squid and Squidette),
a little bit of painting,
and a lot of reading! Squidette just finished her copy of Harry Potter and I finished The Pearl so I can start it now. We, by the way, did not preorder it, we just walked in to the bookstore and picked two copies up off the table, paid and walked out. 5 minutes, no waiting.

Painting is on hold for today and instead we will do so closet cleaning and book organizing.

Below is the curtain that hangs on my terrace door. I washed it and rehung it yesterday so it is looking all nice and clean. My sister crocheted this years ago for her first NYC apartment. She gave it to me when she moved out of that place and no longer had appropriate windows. At the time, we were living in an old apartment with long thin windows but never hung the curtains. Here, one fits perfectly in our balcony door and there it hangs, gracing our apartment with a little bit of beauty.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Crazy Hair!

Today started just like any other day. Up early, sip a cup of tea and then get down to work. The work for this morning? Crazy Hair. We started with this:

Added pipe cleaners, braids, a single pony tail, beads and some Regia Crazy and created this:

Sadly, she did not win for craziest hair. Next year, more pipe cleaners!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I am Honored!

I was nominated twice for a Rockin' Girl Blogger award. First by Ann and then by Isabelle.

My nominees are: Susan (for rockin' with The Girl), Sprite (for rockin' Kandahar!), Cookie (for her rockin' socks), KnittyOtter (for being my favorite Otter!), and Penny (for rockin' the spindle!).


Decorating Update: We have not decided on a rug except to decide to look further. The purchase may very well be made on line. The dining room / entry way / hall way are now taped for ceiling paint and will receive 2 coats of ceiling white tomorrow. Some of the door frames and molding are also taped in anticipation of doing the walls -- some because we ran out of tape. We are going for the two-tone look. Dave suggested olive and gold and we printed paper in the approximate colors and taped them to the wall. I think it will work and Mike is sold.

Tour de France Knit Along Update: I should have a finished product to show you tomorrow. Today's tour finish was way exciting! On days when Mike and I are home in the morning we are watching the final few kilometers of the tour. Fun and inspiring!

Yesterday's poetry was the result of sleep deprivation after worrying about a kid all night. The kid was just fine in the morning but I was wiped out. We are all better now -- at least I assume. The Squid family is short the shortest Squid who is on an overnight trip with camp. Things are too quiet around here.

Squidette and Papa went to get the next larger violin size for her and wound up not buying a violin. She skipped right over a size and is now playing the full size instrument that we bought for her last year. I swear she has grown 2 inches in the last month. It is entirely possible that she will pass me within the year if she keeps growing at this rate. Tomorrow, she and I are going shopping to up size some of her garments. Eek!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A Mama's Worries

An Ode to Mamas Everywhere

A Mama sleeps, warm in her bed
A floorboard creaks and she rouses

A child's complaint "I'm not feeling well"
A Mama treats and tucks a child in beside her.

A child sleeps, warm in her arms
A Mama frets, "What if?"

A Mama touches, lips to forehead
And tries to sleep.

A child wakes, returns to her bed,
A Mama worries, wakeful.

The night passes, a child sleeps
A Mama fusses, keeps to herself.

The morning dawns, a Mama rises
And checks the children, cool in their beds.

A Mama sighs and starts the day
Tired with the effort of healing through worry.

Devorah Zamansky July 18, 2007

Decisions, Decisions

We went rug shopping this morning. Below are the top contenders. Mike and I each have our favorites but we are not saying for fear of influencing the populus. The fabric swatch in each photo is from the couch.

Feel free to chime in here ...

Contender A: Code Name "Swirls"
Contender B: Code Name "Plain Vanilla"Contender C: Code Name "Stripy Boxes"

Contender D: Code Name "Big Brown"