Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Year in Photography, 2008

So I just spent the good part of an hour looking at a collection of images from 2008. Some of them are truly amazing. This one is of Mount Everest.

The link is from photojojo, which is a really interesting photography site/blog. I track it on Google Reader. They have great pointers and tricks, even for point-and-shoot cameras.

Monday, December 29, 2008

New (Old) Project

Well, now that all of that Christmas knitting is finished, I have nothing to do. Em, actually, I'm sure Patrick would argue that I have plenty to do. So let's say, I don't have any knitting projects to keep me occupied in the evenings.

So I've pulled this old quilting project out of the cabinet. I haven't touched this since 2001, mostly because the color scheme is slightly patriotic (What? I like red, blue and cream!), and I haven't been feeling very patriotic for awhile now.

But this January there's an art show around the theme of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, and I'm thinking that this might be just the reason I need to finish the project. I have a couple of ideas for changing it up, so we'll see how it goes.

Patrick is the photographer above. Though he isn't as comfortable with the manual setting on the camera as I am, he understands the fundamentals of photography and does a good job of framing.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Parade of FOs

Hello All! I hope your holidays are going well--fun, relaxing, etc. Patrick and I spent Christmas day at four locations. One of my gifts from Patrick was Pocky, which is like chocolate-dipped breadsticks. Yummy, really!

As I mentioned before, I've been doing tons of knitting, but haven't been able to post about it because the projects were for Christmas gifts. Well, here they are!

Two hats for two little boys. They are based on the Wool Noggins pattern. For the brown one, I just added an I-cord topper.

Here's a dark picture of the mystery I-cord project. It's a centipede scarf!

A caliorimetry for The Cuz made with sport-weight alpaca held double and an old button from a box of buttons I got from my grandmother.

A set for my sister-in-law. Bulky-weight baby alpaca. The scarf is a Jute Rope, and I made up the hat to match the stitch pattern.

Here's a mother/daughter set for my other sister-in-law and neice. The yarn is Brooks Farm Four Play. The scarf is the Four Play pattern, the hat is Button Tab, and the small hat is a modified Wool noggin with the decreases altered to come to an elf-like peak, with an I-cord topper.

Here's a set for Lil Sis--my first cables! The pattern for the set is Natty. Made with bulky-weight baby alpaca. She has decided that it is itchy, but I'm hoping she'll wear it anyway...

Enjoy the rest of the holidays!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Catching Up

The job hunt continues, though I'm not expecting much right now around the holidays. I'm still sending out resumes, and I'm meeting with some placement agencies next week. But really, I'm expecting the next month to be one of sitting and waiting. And I'm OK with that.
With all of my free time, I've been doing lots of Christmas knitting. But I can't show it to you. Well, here's a piece of one of the projects--I'm pretty sure this little boy doesn't follow my blog...

32 2-inch I-cords will be the death of me.

Here's something I made for myself recently. My first Clapotis:

George is interested, but banned from sitting on it. this thing turned out huge. Of course, I didn't check my guage. I can wear it only on cold cold days, as it is like wearing a lap quilt around my neck. That said, I really like it, and I have enough of the yarn left to make a hat and maybe mittens. I chose my winter coat to go with this scarf (instead of the other way around, like most normal people), so I'd better get some use out of it!

Not that I'm looking forward to winter weather. My garden is looking brown. We managed to harvest swiss chard and kale into late October, but there's nothing happening now. Patrick spent a couple of evenings drawing diagrams of the front and side yards, itemizing all of the plantings. Because, you know, he's an engineer. If I can find them, I'll post them.

We had our annual Holiday Tea last weekend. We try to do this every year--open up the house for an afternoon and invite people to drop in, have a warm drink and chat. I love seeing everyone. We have the party preparations down pat at this point: I make one or two pots of soup, Patrick goes to the bakery the morning of, and we spread out all of our teas on the counter next to the electric kettle. Easy! Here's my solution to 12 idential black mugs, so people don't get them mixed up:

Friday, December 05, 2008

Ha Ha Ha Ha

I saw this video over on Ectomo--I love when he shows all of the power buttons. What a grump.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Winter Gardening

I just came in from the cold--and it really is cold (about 35 degrees)! Patrick has been pushing me to "do something" with all of my newly free time, specifically mow the lawn. Sound crazy? Well, mulching up all of the leaves is easier than raking them, so it's not a bad move. I also cut back most of the perennials on the driveway side of the house. I'm already imagining what it will look like when they come back in the Spring.

Tonight is a new Malden Arts event. We're calling it a Salon, in the sense that it is a gathering to discuss the arts in Malden: what's going on, ideas for the future, meeting others to collaborate with. I'm not sure what kind of turn out we'll get, but a reporter from the Malden Observer is going to show up to cover the evening.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Lots of Free Time

So, I got laid off. Yup. On Election Day, to be exact. This is a real bummer, for a number of reasons. Here are some:

  • Patrick and I had some real financial plans in place that will now be thrown off-track.
  • I really liked my job, my co-workers and my commute.
  • My position had me helping more and more with the business development side of things, but I didn't get enough experience to apply for a biz dev position.
  • But I really don't want to go into another Admin position.
  • Finding a job is a pain, and especially now with the economy.
  • My suit doesn't fit anymore!!! Gah, shopping ahead. And not even the fun kind.

Anyhoo, I sent out a few resumes last week, and will follow up with them this week. I've already done all of the paperwork for the Unemployment Insurance (which is only half of your salary--did you know that?).

Now I just need to stay motivated; this means not sleeping until 2pm, not reading web comics until the wee hours of the morning, maybe catching up on the things that my job prevented me from getting to, maybe spending some time with long-neglected friends (Hi out there! You'll hear from me soon!), etc.

And let me just say that one of the reasons why I haven't been blogging lately is because I signed on to Facebook. It's just like blogging, but less pressure since it's only a line or two at a time. I've tried to find an app or something that would post my Facebook updates as blog entries here, but I can't find one. Do any of you know of such a thing?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Malden Monday: Surprise!

Have you heard? BusinessWeek voted Malden the best affordable city in Massachusetts for raising children.


There is nothing wrong with the short descriptive blurb. I agree completely.

Here's an example of local news coverage of the designation:


I must say I share in the skepticism. I have some experience with Malden's public school system, and I guess I'd say that if your kid is on the straight and narrow, they'll be just fine. Malden High sends kids to Harvard and other top-notch schools every year--Revere High, when I went there, did not. But, it's hard to keep your kids on the straight and narrow here. I'm not sure if that's the nature of living in a city, where kids have more mobility and independence than those stranded in the suburbs, reliant on parents who have the ability to shape their children's social lives. Or is it something else?

I like the response of my friend, Paul Malden:

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Learning German: Update

So, I didn't learn German after all. I was so busy leading up to the vacation that I told myself, "I'll learn on the plane" (this sounding entirely reasonable to me at the time). But then I fell asleep on the plane. So then I told myself that I'd learn while the others played Guitar Hero in John's living room. But then I played some Guitar Hero myself.

To be honest, just as many of you said, I didn't need to know German. Except for one night in the countryside, I can't think of a time I tried to talk to someone in English and they didn't understand me.

Now, I'm not saying we should all just forget about learning foreign languages. I think there's a lot to being able to understand conversations going on around you, understanding menus and signs (I love reading advertisements in foreign languages), being able to charm the locals with your lack of skills, etc. But I can attest that in the major German cities, English seems to be enough.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Back from Oktoberfest!

As some of you know, I just got back from visiting Germany and Prague. We started in Berlin, where we stayed with John and had lots of fun playing Guitar Hero in his new place. Then Patrick, my brother and sister-in-law and I spent 2 days driving south to Munich, where we tried our hardest to make it into a beer tent at Oktoberfest. After way too much Bavarian food, Patrick and I continued on to Prague.

A little geology, of course.

Neil didn't exactly love walking over this bridge.
Oktoberfest isn't just about beer. It's a full-on carnival, with rides, games, etc.
The famous Lowenbrau beer tent, with giant animated, beer-drinking, growling lion.
Like I said, too much Bavarian food.
Fairytale castle, anyone? This one inspired the Disney castle in Orlando.
In Prague, they're over Communism.
The cathedral at Prague Castle.
No comment.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Malden Moment Wakes Me From My Blog-less Slumber

Hello All!

So much time has slipped away! Sorry about that. Lots of things have happened, which I guess I'll catch up on at some point.

But first, the event that spurred me to come back to my blog: I had a real Malden Moment this week. And I don't mean that in a sarcastic way. I mean that in a "I'd only see that in Malden, and that is great" way.

Patrick and I were walking down Pleasant Street on Tuesday morning, around 10am. A woman was walking toward us--in her 80s, I'd say, roundish, shortish, bentoverish. She had those giant black sunglasses I really only ever see on the elderly. And she was wearing a faded pink tee-shirt that said, "I have the pussy, so I make the rules."

Brilliant! This is exactly why I started this blog!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Luxury Scarf

Here are some pics of my latest WIP:

The pattern is called Luxury Scarf.

The real color is closest to the pic on the left.

I chose this pattern because I have all of this brown and tan sport weight alpaca that I need to use up to free room in the stash. I was looking for something easy and quick, but I wanted something with open spaces. This is a really simple yarn over lace pattern.

With this alpaca yarn it is so soft and smooshy--I can't stop squishing it up in my hands.

But I've lost it! I've looked all over and can't find it! I'm kind of worried. Hopefully it will turn up somewhere unexpected.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Brain Types

Patrick sent me this brain-type quiz awhile back, but I've only just gotten around to taking it. Here's mine--tell me what you think:

FCAL / ENFJ "Educator"teacher/pastor; socially sophisticated; expressive,
ambitious, catalyst, cooperative, devoted, fluent, imaginative, emotional;
opinionated; interested in ideas and possibilities; seeks order, language

And here's Patrick's:

BCIL / INTJ "Inventor"applicator of ideas; builder of theoretical systems;
self-confident; independent, reserved, single-minded, conceptual; seeks
knowledge; not impressed with authority; determined, analytic, stubborn,
skeptical, scientific; logical abstraction skilled.

His is a pretty good match.

So take the quiz and post your results in the comments: http://www.braintypes.com/questionnaire.asp

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


There's a new little guy in our circle. He got his own photo shoot the other day.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Learning German

Patrick and I have decided to learn German in preparation for our trip this September. We're going to do a combination of teaching ourselves using books and hiring a tutor for conversation. I've added a German word-of-the-day widget in the sidebar, so if you feel inspired, join along (John)...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Hotel Blues

We're trying to book our hotel for our September trip to Germany. Not having much luck. Boo.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Indiana Jones

As many of you know, I was an anthropology major, and for a few years focused on archaeology. So it was with great interest that I went to see the new Indiana Jones movie. I had read all kinds of tounge-in-cheek critiques of the old movies (where's his line level?), and am really enjoying some of the stuff being written on anthropology/archaeology blogs about this new one.

But here's the best comment I've read so far. Over at Savage Minds they're picking apart some details (how would he learn Quechua in Mexico?). The final comment seems to settle any possible perplexity:

Someone named Jo Donaldson did the research for the film, including the
archaelogical details. She’s not an archaeologist, however; she also researched
Star Wars eppy 1 and 2, and Howard the Duck.

Aha! Howard the Duck. I should have known.

I also love this one: a mock denial of tenure notice for Dr. Jones.

Too bad!

My friend John has nearly disowned me over my love of LOL Cats. Maybe it's because he thought I appreciated proper spelling. Maybe it's because he hates animals. Or maybe it's because he's insulted that I like furry things with bad grammar, while he pounds away at his keyboard day and night, churning out prose in an attempt to entertain and enlighten. To that I say:

Malden Monday: Insights

So, this blog is something of an attempt to learn about my new home, Malden. I've approached it as a volunteer, an engaged citizen, a consumer and a historian. I've taken on the public works department (if you google "Malden trash" I'm on the first page of hits--my claim to fame!).

My attempts to get to know this city are ongoing.

One area I haven't been able to penetrate is the Malden mind, particularly the mind of the youth. What are they thinking as they hang out in front of the pizza shop at the end of my street? Why do they call each other on their cell phones while standing across the street from each other, instead of crossing the street and talking face-to-face (true story)? As Patrick asked me the other day, is the logical progression of Malden fashion to one day simply carry one's pants in one's hands?

As I've posted before, there is a serious trash problem in my neighborhood. For days after trash collection bits of wrappers, plastic bottle caps, chicken bones, and papers come blowing into our yard. True, this does give me some insight to Malden's consumption habits. But usually this debris doesn't provide me with a peek into the head of the average Maldonian.

Until now.

Behold, the first piece of evidence.

Wondrous! I've examined this scrap at great length, calling in friends and family to help me decipher its meanings. Some insights and points for further exploration:
  • This is clearly the work of someone still in school, as it is written on a piece of a text book. Huzzah! Maybe now I can begin to understand why Malden's teen girls wear winter jackets that end at their ribcage, leaving the middle of their torso exposed to the elements.
  • Maybe the author--let's call them Teen A--broke the recipient's--Teen B--mother's bed, and needs to reimburse the family. Why has the price gone up?
  • Maybe Teen A is buying Teen B's mother's bed for themselves. Why would Teen B go and play them like that?
  • Perhaps Teen A's math teacher gave a homework assignment that required them to write their own word problem.
  • Why are teens dealing in beds anyway?
  • I can't tell you how much it pains me that the note is cut off like this. What did Teen B say?????
Any theories are appreciated.

* If you can't read that, it says, "Yo first you say save 150$ so I could pay for your moms bed then your tellin me keep saving for that bed then you say"

Sunday, June 15, 2008

June Garden

When we were house hunting, we had a list of "must haves". Two bedrooms. Dining room. Walking distance to the T. We didn't much care about a yard. I mean, sure, we wanted some kind of a yard, but the exact requirements weren't clear in our minds.

As it turns out, the house we've ended up with has a huge yard. Not just huge, but huge and overrun. Weeds everywhere, trees growing out of cracks in walls, the works. Add to that the fact that once you start digging you come up with more 1) rocks and 2) trash than actual soil, and you can understand that gardening in this yard is really hard. But we do try. Our first summer we build three raised garden beds for vegetables, which were wildly successful. Above are some examples: peas, strawberries, chard and mint.

This flower is a tomato in the making:

Now we're focusing more on landscaping.

This is our shade garden, which is almost complete. There are hostas, huchera, wild ginger, bleeding heart, and sedum.

This little guy is a mountain laurel--he's small now, but should get to about 5 feet.

Baby Bonnet

Months ago, I saw a pattern for an adorable bonnet over on Angry Chicken's blog. I bought it right away, though I didn't know when I'd make it or for whom. Thanks to Mariuca, who's expecting, I found my answer! I can't wait to meet Chloe and see her in it...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cutey Cute Cute

Mini's Meme

Here's a meme from mini. Now you're tagged--leave a link in the comments to your list!

1. What were you doing 10 years ago.
Let's see. In 1998 I was waiting tables, living in the Hamptons for the summer, and dating Patrick long-distance. I moved to Chicago the day after Christmas.

2. 5 things on my to-do list today.
Um. Yeah. I guess my life isn't very pressing. Tonight we're going out for ice cream. So that's one. I'm going to try to book our hotel for Oktoberfest, but my success will depend on whether or not the person who answers the phone speaks English.

3. Snacks I enjoy.
Cheese and crackers. Candy bars. Gingersnaps.

4. If I were a billionaire instantly, I would

5. Places I have lived:
West Palm Beach, FL (born there)
Revere, MA
Chicago, IL
East Hampton, NY
Somerville, MA
Malden, MA

Monday, May 05, 2008

Malden Monday: Garden Club?

Hello All,

Now that my blogging break is over, for my first MM I present to you an idea. Last week I was talking with my knitting friends, and we discussed backyards we'd like to peek into. You know the ones: just enough fence/foliage to obstruct full view from the street, but the promise of wonderful things. What about a garden club to open those gates up?

I'm too busy to start a whole club, though. But I could organize a one-day event. Like an open studios, but with gardens. I'd have to get some gardeners to sign on, make a map with the locations, distribute the map and then enjoy the day. I can do that! Patrick might even help--though it all depends on whether or not he likes the format I choose ( ! ). Sometimes he's a real poop...

So, I'm going to look into this. I also need to get WAM off the ground, which takes priority. Anyone out there a Maldonian and interested in this garden idea?

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Cute alert!

We went to a one-year-old's jungle-themed birthday party today. Aren't these lion cupcakes too cute?!