Monday, March 27, 2006

A nearly perfect day

What better way to spend a Saturday than acquiring yarn and books and hanging out with old friends? The only thing that could have made it better would have been having Taz there too, but one can't have everything, I suppose. I got up fairly early on Saturday and drove straight up I-91 to Northampton, home of everyone's favorite yarn store. After about an hour of wandering around the place with my jaw on the floor, I bought some yarn (yeah, like you really thought I could get out of there without spending any money), and met up with Mishmish and J for lunch. We all went to school together, and now that they live in Providence and not Oregon, we can actually get together fairly often. I always have a blast when I'm with them. Here they are on campus:

J and Mishmish perusing the Sophian

We had a yummy lunch of hot tea, miso soup, and sushi at Osaka and then hit a bunch of the shops downtown. Having already spent quite a bit on yarn, I didn't buy much, especially since I knew later there would be books. After all the downtown wandering, we headed up to campus with the intention of going to the campus store since I had promised Sami I would buy her license plate frames for her new car. Alas, since it was the Saturday after Spring Break, the whole building was closed, and there was no alum paraphernalia to be had. I did, however, get a picture of the crazy new building:

The (new for me) campus center. It may not match the rest of the
architecture on campus, but it has a working fireplace inside, and it's
still prettier than
certain houses I can think of.

After our trip to campus (which was not really much of a trip down memory lane, interestingly enough) we headed out to the Bookmill. I have mentioned this place before, and there's a reason. It is heaven. Used books, used music, a cafe, a restaurant, and even a small fiber shop, all in a rambly old former mill building next to (of course) a beautiful mill stream. I spent less than $40, and I got six books, three of which were hardcover and nearly new. I got some for Taz, and I got these ones for myself:

Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros, Zorro by Isabel Allende, and Memorias
Postumas de Bras Cubas
by Machado de Asis.

It took superhuman strength to tear ourselves away from there, but eventually we did, laden with books and craving coffee. We went back to downtown Northampton* and had a lovely dinner at La Cazuela. Then I drove home, changed into my pj's, and fell asleep on Taz's shoulder. My dreams that night were of yarn. I swear it, I actually dreamed about all the wonderful yarn I bought:

Berroco Ultra Alpaca for knitting the VK Cardigan like the one that Lauren knit

A very nice lady at WEBS helped me calculate the necessary yardage for the substitution (the pattern actually calls for Alchemy Lone Star). I bought six skeins, but for some reason only five ended up in that photo. I think Ben had stolen one to wrestle with. Anyway, I was also thinking of others while I was there. My mom is retiring at the end of this week, and my hope is that she'll finally take the time to try sock knitting. Like the good daughter I am, I thought I ought to help her along:

Sock starter kit for Mom: Ann Norling pattern, bamboo dpns in US0
and US1, and Lorna's Laces.

Of course, once I saw the sock yarn, I couldn't leave without getting some for myself, too:

Sock goodies for me: Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush, two different
colorways of Artyarns Ultramerino, and two new sets of dpns.

At least one of those colorways will be used to knit myself a pair of socks for Jenn's (proposed) Spring KAL. I'm not sure which one seems more Spring-y. I am thinking the pink would look great in some sort of lace pattern. Not sure what kind of texture to use with the green. What do you think?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

43 Things

Thanks to Taz, I just learned about this cool site called 43 Things. You can set goals for yourself and talk to other people with similar goals, and post about your progress. There's also a way to list all the places you want to visit (and have visited). I'm not feeling quite ambitious enough (yet) to come up with 43 things to do (I have 27) and 43 places to visit (I have 23), but I still think I made a respectable list. I know you wanna see my lists of things and places!

Algum dia, Rio, algum dia...

And if you want to see Taz's lists, go here and here. OK, time to go make some progress on goal #27.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Kindergarten all over again

Yup, that's what it feels like. I have spent the past hour and a half studying, and I've come to the conclusion that I can't read. I can hear you saying "Um, I hope it's not English we're talking about here." Despite my often careless spelling, no, it's not English we're talking about. It's Hindi. More specifically, Hindi script, which is actually called Devanagari Script. You may have seen it before, especially if you take yoga classes or if you have and Ohm tattoo, but if not, here's what it looks like:

Picture thanks to this site.

Unlike, say, Chinese, it is a phonetic alphabet. That certainly ought to make it easier for me, especially since I like to think that I'm pretty good with new languages. But the sounds represented by these letters do not have a one-to-one correspondence with the English alphabet. There are sounds in Hindi that only exist in English when you run two words together, and some that don't exist in English at all.

I actually have confidence in my ability to learn something close to the correct pronunciation eventually, especially since my soon-to-be husband speaks Hindi fluently. And it's not like I even have to learn it at all, since the family always speaks English at home (and not just for my benefit). But I really want to learn it very very much, but I feel like I can't even get going with learning it until I get the alphabet down, and that is proving to be quite a challenge. My brother, who after three years of living in Japan has finally memorized hiragana (but only a few kanji), suggested treating it like one of those codes we used to make up when we were kids, and practice writing all kinds of words--even if they're all in English--using this new "code" until I get used to how the sounds look. A very smart idea, and with the help of a couple websites and my loving man, I may finally get it. Then it's on to grammar, vocab, and actual sentences.

So far, all I know how to say (though I couldn't read or write any of this) are the following: "I have to go pee pee," "Yes," "No," "Thank you," "Me too," It's OK," "It's over/done," and the most important of all, "I love you." Hmmm, maybe I can get away with only learning how to read and write that last one...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

"Busy" doesn't even begin to describe it

I can't believe I have let so much time go by without posting! I hope I haven't lost all my readers (not that there were soooo many to begin with). Anyway, you might wonder how someone who's unemployed can be too busy to blog. A partial list of what I've been up to since the last post (in no particular order):

1. Went to DC for second round interview for "dream job" at this place
2. Uploaded over 180 photos to finally make an online album of the India trip (send me an e-mail if you want an invite to view it--I couldn't make it publicly available without getting permission from way too many people)
3. Made 208 prints of India photos and assembled a real album. Even without writing captions, this took a loooong time. But at least my non-computer-friendly grandmother could see the pictures (see #4 below).
4. Traveled to Wilmington, NC (via Baltimore) for my Grandmom's 80th birthday party. This involved my third round-trip train ride to Baltimore in four weeks, as well as an 8-hour (each way) road trip with my parents. Thank goodness we get along so well.
5. While in Wilmington I saw two of my cousins, one of whom I hadn't seen in 10 years, and the other in 15. The younger one, who is in the Navy, is already married and a father! The other one is a sous chef at this place.
6. Found out that I didn't get the "dream job."
7. The same day, found out that my mom was in the hospital. She's OK now!
8. Took Ben to the vet because he was walking funny when I got home one day. By the time we got there, of course, he was acting totally normal. The vet said his leg probably just fell asleep. I had no idea that happened to cats!
9. I also learned (thanks to Ben) that dogs are not the only neutered male pets that like to hump things.
10. Watched the New Haven St. Patrick's Day Parade, during which the ban on public drunkenness was temporarily lifted. I'm sure that had much more to do with an inability to enforce it anyway than with the police wanting to be "nice." Anyway, the worst case I saw was a guy taking regular swigs directly from a bottle of Jager. I almost vomited just looking at him.
11. Went to Mishmish's birthday party, where we were served the most divine cocktails ever invented. (Blood orange martini, anyone?) I think Mish should add a recipe section to her blog. Just sayin'.
12. Had dinner with Sami and saw Transamerica.
13. Went on several long walks. Two of them with a fellow knitter and her dog, Zeus. The one I went on alone ended in panic, when I realized that the hat I knit while in India had fallen out of my pocket. Luckily when I did a drive-by later, it was still lying on the road, unharmed. Phew!
14. Found out that the people at the local Hindu temple have no problem doing an interfaith Hindu-Buddhist ceremony, even though they've never done one before. Two priceless samples from the conversation: "That should be no problem. Do you need us to find you a Buddhist?" and Q: "How soon ahead of time do we need to reserve the space?" A: "Well, it would be nice if you could give us a week or two of warning." Talk about laid back! Definitely a good vibe there.
15. Got hopelessly behind on my blog reading.
16. Failed to medal in the Knitting Olympics.
17. I did, however, finish the body of Samus, and get a start on the first sleeve:

Samus body completed

Even though I didn't finish the whole thing in time for the Olympics, I'm still glad I participated, because it did make me knit faster than I think I ever have before. Now if only I can avoid sleeve-itis...