Monday, December 23, 2002

Not much time, we're off to the airport in a little bit. If I have time, I'll post an update from Hawaii, but just in case, I hope everyone who's celebrating has a very merry Christmas, and a happy New Year! Aloha!

Friday, December 20, 2002

Sorry so silent lately. Life's been busy and I just haven't had a lot to say. Plenty to do, just nothing interesting to discuss. Not that I have anything exciting now, I just figured I'd pop in for a bit. Leaving Monday for Hawaii, so I am trying to arrange with a pet-sitter to take care of the kitties and fish, as well as making arrangements with my parents to go out there and leave our car for the week.

I love traveling, but always find the few days prior to my departure very stressful. Then again, this entire season has been stressful, so I can hardly tell the difference.

Only have a few inches done on the front of Kristy's bridesmaid tank, but with about 11 hours in the air and a changeover at LAX, I figure I can get a lot done on the way to Hawaii. Of course that assumes they let me bring my knitting aboard, but they haven't stopped me any other time so I think I'll be fine.

Company holiday party last night was dull. At least it started at 3:30 so we knocked off work early, and it was in the office so I didn't have to travel to it. Left at 5ish, got a few more presents, and went home to collapse. Woo-hoo, I am leading the high life. Tonight we're planning to go out for dinner and hit a local bar that looks nice and has a pool table, which is the big draw.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

It is fuh-reezing today but sunny, so I actually enjoyed my morning walk to the subway. Very unusual. I think I'm on a bit of a high from getting Ryan two really good gifts last night. One is going to totally surprise him. Actually, I think both will, but one will do so even more than the other. So cryptic, aren't I?

I can't believe we're leaving for Hawaii in less than a week. Our flight is at noon on Monday. Ryan's sister said her fiance, Tom, has gotten lots of yummy things for Christmas dinner, and that they are really excited to see us. Me, too. I'm so happy that we've gotten to know each other and really like each other a lot. It is going to be so much fun to have her as my sister-in-law!

Lots to do before we leave, including finding a cat- and fish-sitter. Anyone in Brooklyn who's reading, I'd love a recommendation. Preferably someone who won't kill our pets or rob us blind while we're away. Too much to ask?

Too tired last night to knit, and I am not going to make it to Stitch-n-Bitch, unfortunately. There is just too much to do and we both slept horribly last night and the night before - I need to make up for it tonight or I won't last the week. Our company holiday party is Thursday afternoon/evening here at the office (on three different floors - I'm curious to see how that goes.) Then on Friday morning I may have to go to a client meeting near Philadelphia. No biggie except the meeting starts at 9 a.m., which means leaving around 6 a.m. to be there on time. Ugh. I'm torn because I'd really like to present the stuff we're doing, and meet the client face-to-face, but that is an ungodly hour to have to do so. We'll see what happens.

Monday, December 16, 2002

What a relief to wake up and be able to take the train to work today. I still hate taking the subway, but today I was grateful for it. Too much going on and not enough paid time off to stay home, so transit strike or no transit strike, I was going to have to be here. I'm just hoping it stays this way and they find a way to agree.

I've got my first client presentation here at 4pm. It's an informal one, on a conference call, but it's the first time I've done this in about a million years. At my last job I was never involved enough on a project to actually present, and before that I was freelancing and freelancers rarely present. So I am a little nervous. It's a fairly straightforward project, and the things that are new and different are actually things I suggested, so I should be able to talk about it fairly coherently. Still, there's a certain "dog and pony show" aspect to it that always unnerves me.

Right about now Ryan should be giving his interim thesis presentation at school. He's done a lot of great work - way more than any of the other grad students. He's stopped updating his blog, but last night I saw what he's presenting today and I was very impressed. It's a combination of storyboard scenes plus completed scenes, with music and dialogue. At least all the time he's been putting in on that rather than spending with me is coming to fruition!

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Still coughing but not as much, and I feel much more human today. It does seem as though I am going to live - good to know.

Went to an eyewear sample sale last night at Alain Mikli. Fancy French eyewear designer. I needed new sunglasses to replace the ones I bought in Italy and lost, and I found a really cool pair with red frames for $30 bucks from his "lower priced" line - retail around $150. Then I spotted a cool pair of regular frames in a muted purple, that were just too cool to miss. Fifty bucks for frames that retail around $400. Yes, I signed up for their mailing list. Now in January, when my new vision plan starts, I'll go visit Yoon, my friend and eye doctor, and get prescription lenses for the purple frames. Yay!

The subway has been so crowded the past few days it almost makes me think the strike would be pleasant! Yesterday and today I had the same conductor's train, and he was very entertaining. Made lots of PSA-style announcements about pickpockets and not giving money to people who say they are from a charitable organization for the homeless. He was really into it, offering tips about keeping your wallet in your front pocket or holding your backpack in front of you - very helpful.

Tonight I think I'll start knitting the front of Kristy's bridesmaid tank while I watch "Must-see TV." I'm looking forward to hitting the sofa at the end of the day.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

I saw a girl knitting on the subway this morning. She had raspberry-colored long hair and was working on what looked like the first row of ribbing for a sweater in what I think was a white cotton yarn. She was standing just a few feet away, so I took my headphones off and mentioned to her that if she was interested, there was a knitting group that met on Tuesdays right off Union Square. She was very interested, and said she had been looking at my scarf, wondering if I had knitted it (I had). So, if anyone spots her at SnB (the hair is hard to miss), be nice to her!

I didn’t make it last night because I’m sick again. Or still. Whatever. It seems to be a reverse virus. Usually I have a sore throat and feel crappy, then I get a cough. This time it was the other way around and now I’ve got the sore throat and feel crappy. If I were at my old job, I’d have called in sick, but I don’t have any sick time yet here until after the first of the year. Bummer.

I was supposed to go out tonight and wrap presents for a childrens’ charity with some friends, but I think I am going to have to pass. My body needs some charity, which will probably take the form of knitting on the sofa and going to bed early.

I haven’t started the second side of the tank just yet. Been too busy running around. Most of my holiday shopping is done, though I am still working on Ryan’s gift. I think I won’t discuss that in this forum!

Talk of a possible transit strike is really making me nervous. A few weeks ago, I could have just walked to work (albeit a long walk in the cold). But now that’s just not feasible – it would take well over an hour and involve crossing the Brooklyn Bridge in the freezing cold. I could carpool with some friends, but the mayor says they would only allow cars with four or more people to cross into the city. And I know traffic would just be hellacious. Let’s hope the MTA and the union can get it together and avoid the nightmare of a strike.

Monday, December 09, 2002

Thanks to all for the compliments on the bridesmaid tank. And no, I don't let Serena hang out on it a lot, so it's not cat-hairy. Ryan's kitties do like to sit on clothing, so I try not to leave stuff lying around where they can get to it.

Not much to tell today. I waited half an hour in the freezing cold this morning (20 degrees Fahrenheit) to get into the building where the Social Security office is. I needed a new SS card for work, and today was the day I chose to go. The 30 minute delay was because of security - they have one metal detector and a tiny lobby, but the building has offices for SS, IRS and Department of Labor. Half an hour to get in the building, 2 minutes to hand in the application, have the person do the data entry, and get a receipt telling me to expect my card in the mail in 5-10 days. Sheesh.

Then I got stuck at Fulton Street for 20 minutes on the subway because there was a sick passenger at Union Square. Argh! Didn't get to work until 10:45. Luckily I had said I'd be late and why, so no one cared. Plus it was a quiet day, so I didn't miss much.

Right now I am torn between surfing the web, unpacking some more stuff, and knitting by the TV. I think I'll go unpack until 8, then go for the latter, and try and let the web wait another day.

Thursday, December 05, 2002

I finished the back of Kristy's bridesmaid tank tonight! I cannot believe it went as quickly as it did. This is a crappy background for it, but I managed to get one halfway decent shot

before Serena decided that Izzy shouldn't be the only famous knitblogger cat.

It was warmer than yesterday when I left the house this morning, and the snow was gently falling. There isn't anything gentle about what's going on out there now, though! It's snowing horizontally on 42nd Street, with the wind coming from the East River. Brr! I had to go out at lunchtime to buy some new gloves, because I lost one of my beloved red shearling gloves on Tuesday morning, apparently on the subway or on the street.

My friend Casey (who works across the street) met me for a Gap expedition, where I got some black fleece-lined mittens that I'd never make for myself. I also came back with two pairs of corduroys in black and stone, since they were on sale and they had my size. I've been experiencing a "comfortable pants that fit and still look good" shortage lately, so these should help.

My office mate got to leave work early, since she lives in NJ and has a long commute hampered by weather. But I am stuck here for the duration, it appears. Someone even rescheduled tomorrow's 3pm meeting for 4pm today, which is utter madness.

Sad to report that Shrimpy is truly gone. Speculation is he molted and was too weak to survive it, and was eaten by his tankmates after he died. So sad. He was my favorite. I didn't realize I could get so attached to a little crustacean. Now I don't know if I'd want to get another shrimp or not. It's sad to look at the tank and not see his cute little pinkness zipping around. He used to hang out by the filter, and it looks so empty there. I can't believe I am so emotional over a pet I never even touched.

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

It was so nice to go to Stitch-n-Bitch last night! I really had missed seeing all the girls and just hanging out. Plus lots of people admired the luna silk top so I was pleased. It really is so pretty - all the yarn's doing, not mine. I'm about an inch or so into the armhole shaping for the back, and am still amazed at how fast it is knitting up. And at how far the yarn went - I am just about finishing the first ball now.

Sad news on the fishtank is we couldn't find Shrimpy this morning. Shrimpy is/was a peppermint shrimp and was one of the first denizens of the tank last summer. He was also the coolest. As I put it, he had great shrimpinality! He just seemed like such a happy little crustacean. I hope he was just hiding, but it didn't really look that way. Poor Shrimpy. We've lost other fish in the past, but somehow Shrimpy always meant the most to me.

I'm headed out in a bit to the doctor's office to try and get some help with the dry hacking cough I have had for almost 2 weeks. It's finally driving me nuts. Even if it's viral, I'd at least like something that will suppress the cough, since the OTC stuff isn't doing a thing at this point. I can take Robitussin shots all day, and still cough up a lung. Yuk.

Monday, December 02, 2002

Man is it cold this morning! I thought my nose would fall off on the way to the subway. 21 degrees Fahrenheit when I left the house, and windy windy windy. Brr! OK, enough whining.

So this tank is coming along way quicker than I expected it to. I am just a few rows away from the armhole shaping with just a few hours last night and a few more tonight. I think it might be going so fast because the yarn is very thin and thus I can jam together a whole lot of stitches towards the end of the needle, and then just zip through them really quickly. That's opposed to knit, knit, knit, push, knit, knit, knit, push. I don't know, but something is definitely making it go fast. Pure determination?

I'm planning to go to Stitch-n-Bitch tonight, but I won't be there for too long, it seems. Stupid me brought the tank but forgot to bring another ball of the yarn, and I am close to finished with the one I have. I guess that will be my enforced deadline for leaving tonight. Probably just as well. I have a ton to do at home, but I really want to see some of my knitting girls! This way I guess I can do a bit of both.

Since Deb mentioned it, I figured I'd talk a bit about the fishtank. Ryan decided last summer that he wanted a saltwater aquarium. I love fish, but thought it would be a really expensive, pain in the ass hobby. After saying that, I supported him and helped him pick everything out. Two weeks ago we had the fun of MOVING the fishtank. Whee! "Luckily," many of the denizens had expired over the summer and fall, so we only had two fish, a shrimp and a crab to move. Over the weekend we picked up some more fish. We got a lunare wrasse, three yellowtail damsels, a tomato clown, an angelfish (can't remember the exact variety) and a green serpent star. So far just about everyone is getting along well. I took a few pretty lame pics for you.

Zebra-striped damsel (one of the original residents who survived the move with aplomb!)

Zebra and the new angelfish

Yellowtail damsels

One of these mornings when they are all out for feeding I'll get some more pics. I took these at night and most of them were hiding.
I decided to damn the torpedos and install IE5 on my Mac here at work. If someone from IT gets pissy about it someday, I'll just claim ignorance. At least now I can post to my blog. And that's what's really important, right?

Yesterday turned into a good day. I didn't really do all that much for most of the day - put a few things away, went back to the aquarium store with Ryan for some more rock for the fishtank. But around 5 pm I decided to start knitting, so I pulled out the Luna silk and the Artfibers pattern and started on Kristy's bridesmaid top. I was tremendously relieved that the knitting goes pretty quickly, even though it's a finer gauge yarn than usual. Actually, it's really not all that fine - 5.5 stitches per inch (that's 22 per four inches for those who don't feel like doing the math).

The first inch of the sweater is garter stitch, which I actually find goes more slowly than stockinette, since my odd method of purling seems to go faster than my knitting. For the 36" size, I cast on 99 stitches, and have already finished the waistline decreases and am about 12 rows into the bust increases. I'd say there's about 5" on the needles right now, though I am terrible at eyeballing measurements like that. The fabric is just beautiful - it feels wonderful, drapes nicely, and looks lovely. Now I am beginning to once again believe that I can pull this off.

I think the only reason I had any doubts was that phonecall I had with the girl at Artfibers. I don't know which person it was, but she made a big to-do about Luna being "very thin" and being surprised I was knitting it by hand. Whatever! She must be a chunky-gauge gal. (Yarnwise, I mean!)

Got a seat on the subway this morning, which figured since I left the knitting at home. I had to content myself with playing FreeCell on my Palm, as I had also neglected to bring a book. I'm really annoyed about leaving the knitting - now that I have started this sweater I just want to continue on it constantly. It feels so nice to actually want to knit again - like maybe some of the craziness in my life is calming down and I am getting back to "normal." I think I'll even go to Stitch-n-Bitch tomorrow night. I have a few errands to do in my old neighborhood (dry cleaning, prescriptions I didn't get a chance to transfer yet) so I will do those right after work, and then head over to Java-n-Jazz for a while.

Sunday, December 01, 2002

Lots of upheaval these days for lots of knitbloggers. Squib is dealing with the aftermath of a layoff (been there, done that - it gets better, I swear). Staceyjoy has been struggling with electrical and other landlord-related nightmares, which finally seem to be working out, thanks to her tireless efforts. Stacey bought and moved into her new house. And lot of other folks seem to be just generally dealing with a bunch of crap that's keeping them from enjoying their favorite hobby as much as they'd like.

Count me in! We moved November 12th and still do not have a phone line in this place. As I mentioned earlier, the contractor who renovated the apartment cut all the incoming phone and cable lines. Cable finally made it in about a week ago, but phone is still AWOL. We have two Verizon appointments (one for the outside line and one to install the jacks in the apartment) on Tuesday between 8am and noon. Yeah, we'll see. Since this will be the 3rd such visit, I am less than certain it'll happen.

On the up side, we did lots of work around here and are getting the place shipshape. Most of the boxes are gone and the few remaining ones are not too tough. I mostly got the kitchen in order yesterday and celebrated by baking chocolate chip cookies. Yum! Just had a few for brekkie with a glass of milk. Hey, it's at least as nutritious as those sugary cereals, right?

Speaking of cereal, I cannot believe the price difference of cereal at the supermarket here in the city (even in Brooklyn, which is cheaper than Manhattan, though not much in this neighborhood) compared to the price at Target on Long Island. Some of the cereal was 50% less at Target than at Food Emporium on 14th Street! That is insane. At this rate, if we do all our food shopping outside the 5 boroughs, we will save the amount we spent on the car in the first place!

Well, enough babbling about cereal and money. I've still got plenty to do around here to make my little office space feel comfy and look good enough to post pics for you.

Saturday, November 30, 2002

Not a lot of talking, but some new pics to share. First off, is this a cute baby or what? Liliana is wearing her new strawberry cap, and seems to like it.

And is this a cute birthday boy, or what? Since the big day was Wednesday the 27th, my family celebrated Ryan's birthday with cake after stuffing our faces for Thanksgiving.

And last, is this a cute cat or what? Serena's favorite new nap spot is on top of the armoire in our bedroom. Keep in mind that the armoire is over 6 feet tall, and she climbs up by using the wood beams inside the doors as rungs on a ladder. Then she either jumps from the top to the floor, or (most impressive) walks out to the very end of the open door and does a controlled fall/leap onto the end of the bed (about 4 feet away). Such a little acrobat, though you wouldn't know it from this pose!

That's it for now. We're off to the aquarium store today, so Ryan can take advantage of the $50 in new fishies that I promised him via a homemade birthday gift certificate. Maybe we'll have some pics of them later.

Thursday, November 28, 2002

This Thanksgiving morning, I'm thankful to have gotten a good night's sleep! I'm also thankful that we've got more unpacked than still packed, and that Ryan had a happy birthday. And that our kitties are getting along.

As I wrote that last bit, Serena jumped from the top of my monitor to the top of my bookcase, which is in a new (apparently more exciting) configuration here in the new apartment. She's been spending a lot of time climbing on the furniture. She particularly likes to be up on the top of the armoire, which is over 6 feet tall. Once she gets up high, she usually puts her front paws on the walls or moldings, looking for a way to get higher. I swear, the cat would climb across the ceiling if she could. Now she's back on the monitor, stalking Cleo. I think it's mostly play, but you never know when things could get out of hand!

We're headed out to my parents' house in a few hours. Ah, another thing to be thankful for - the ability to drive our car out there rather than cram in with a million people on the Long Island Railroad. After dinner we'll go to Leanne's parents' house, although she won't be there. Pastry chefs sometimes get stuck working on Thanksgiving. I'll be back out there tomorrow to see Leanne and her sister Tracy, so I can give Tracy the strawberry cap I made for her baby, Liliana.

The rest of the weekend I plan to lay low and finish unpacking and settling in here. We're doing quite well, but still have some stuff to sort out. Mostly kitchen stuff and my office stuff, since I have been working and haven't had time to do it. Once we settle more, I'm sure I'll blog more regularly. In the meantime, happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Monday, November 25, 2002

FInding it harder to blog these days for a bunch of reasons. First, I'm so
busy unpacking at home that I can barely find time to get to the computer.
And some days the computer is blocked by boxes! Working on that one.

Second, for some reason Netscape 4.76 is the only browser installed on this
ancient iMac at my new job, and blogger pro is not compatible with it. I
haven't completely sussed out whether it's OK (i.e. if there are any weird
IT policies about software installation) for me to install Exploder, but I
think I'll probably do it anyway soon. Right now, I'm going to try the
"email to post" option offered by blogger pro. Hope it goes OK. If not,
blame any formatting oddities on that, not me!

Things are percolating along at home, though we are still screwed on the
telephone front. Next day they can even attempt to install a line is
Tuesday, 12/3. And that is contingent on either being able to get into the
next-door-neighbors' apartment or finding an alternate route. I'm not
optimistic right now. At least our landlord is being (for her) sympathetic,
and agreed to cover the installation charges, which are going to be $213 for
two jacks in the apartment. Yeesh. At least we don't have to pay for the
outside wiring!

I knitted a bit on the subway this morning. I thought I was rather clever,
standing in the doorway of the moving train, bracing my back against the
door while I knit away on a strawberry cap, yarn tucked away in my shoulder
bag. I did consider that if the train stopped short I'd stab myself (or
someone else) in the chest with my size 6 addi turbo circulars, but I
decided the probability was small enough not to warrant further

I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving, if only to have four days out of the
office, three of which I can use to finish unpacking and getting the
apartment in order. Before Thanksgiving comes Ryan's birthday (Nov. 27th),
which I'm also looking forward to. I got him a...yeah right, I'm going to
post it on my blog for him to see! How stupid do I look?! He does
know that I've invited a bunch of his friends to join us for Korean BBQ
Wednesday night. Should be fun since no one has to work the next day.

Thursday, November 21, 2002

Well, it took over a week but at least my internet connection is back. Getting cable installed was a nightmare. And we still don't have a phone. Apparently, when the contractor renovated this apartment, he cut the phone and cable lines in the building. Restoring those is easier said than done. Because this neighborhood is a landmark district, all utlity lines, etc. have to be in the back of the building, and nothing can be run up the front. That means the boxes where cable and phone originate are in the back of the building, which is only accessible through the neighboring building's yard. The cable guy had to use a ladder and drill through the walls, and the phone people are going to have to do them one better and also go through our across-the-hall-neighbor's apartment.

That means to get a phone we have to coordinate with (1) Verizon (ugh), (2) the person in the neighboring building, (3) our neighbor across the hall, and (4) Ryan's class schedule (since I can't take any time off the new job). What a friggin mess. In the meantime, we've been out of touch and running up giant cellphone bills. Whee!

Tonight, at least, I came home and checked my mail (which I'd been doing at work for a few days, but didn't want to be slacking so soon and thus wasn't answering much of). Then I watched all the NBC TV shows, and started a new fruit cap for Leanne's niece. I never got to see her over the summer, and now the 6-month size is too small, but I'll be seeing her next week. And apparently her Mom was just telling Leanne she hardly has any baby hats! Perfect!

Other than all the installation crap and the boxes everywhere, so far, so good in our new place. We're getting settled as fast as we can, and once we are I'm sure I'll have more exciting news to blog than this.

Monday, November 11, 2002

Decided to take a break from packing and post the photo of the baby hat I finished the other night. I'm very pleased with the way it came out, especially considering I used cheap yarn (Sugar'n'Cream I got for a buck a skein), no pattern, and charted the heart pattern myself. Yes, I am slightly proud of myself.

I would rather make a hundred more hats than continue packing my apartment up. Why oh why is this so hellacious? I think it's mostly because of the nature of my studio apartment. There's no spare room to put all my boxes and crap into, so they just sort of take over the perimeter of the place, mingling with the stuff that isn't packed yet. I'm sure there is a better way to go about this, but it's just too hard to be super-organized about it.

I'm also torturing myself by deciding to do a few last loads of laundry before we move, since our new building doesn't have laundry in the basement. Yeah, I'm nuts. But, clean sheets, clothes, and shower curtain will be nice to have when we settle in.

The cat is totally freaked out by all the stuff moving around. She's completely twitchy, and I feel bad about it. My plan is to leave her here tomorrow with litter box and food until we are done moving things into the new place and then come back around dinnertime to bring her and her stuff over to the new place. I know that when the movers are here, she will just go hide up on the shelf in "her" closet, but in the new place, with the door propped open, I'm afraid she'd get disoriented and run away. And this move is going to be stressful enough with introducing the cats; I don't need to lose one in the process!

OK, this is probably my last post for a few days. The cable guy is supposed to come Wednesday morning between 8am and noon, but I doubt I am going to jump online and blog immediately! So, send good thoughts my way, and I'll be back as soon as I can be!

Sunday, November 10, 2002

Packing starts out carefully and neatly, but eventually you end up just dumping the contents of your drawers into boxes.

Saturday, November 09, 2002

Oh lord, moving sucks so hard. It looks like a tornado hit my apartment right now.

On the up side, we drove to the Home Despot (no, that's not a typo, I just like to say it. Apparently, I'm not the only one - check out this very amusing site) last night and picked up blinds for the new apartment. It was such a pleasure to just stick them in the trunk and then go to dinner with friends. Having a car around here is totally opening up the world for us. And making life so much easier, especially with the moving. Plus, instead of paying shipping charges, we drove to U-Haul to get moving boxes, and just drove 'em home. By the way, did you know U-Haul will take back any unused boxes as long as you have a receipt? Excellent! And you can bring them to any location - which makes sense if you move cross-country or something. So, I didn't skimp on box-buying.

I am in the midst of making the cutest little baby cap for my friends Dan and Renee's new baby girl, whose name I cannot recall at the moment. I'm using the Sugar'n'Cream I got on sale from elann a few months ago. It's pink, and I charted out a row of little lavender hearts. I think I paid a buck for each ball, so this is definitely a cheap and happy little gift. It coordinates with a little sleeper I bought for her a couple of weeks ago. And I'm extra-happy because while cleaning out my desk "junk" drawer (more "thinning out" the junk than actually cleaning) I found my little sew-in labels - the ones that say "Betsy made this just for me!" on them. I knew I'd find them eventually. :-)

OK, no more fun for now. Gotta go pack some boxes. I'll finish the cap after I pack for a good while, and maybe post a picture later.

Friday, November 08, 2002

I have an ever-so-slight hangover this morning, the result of a couple of margaritas after my last day of work yesterday. I'll be fine in an hour or so, but I feel fuzzy right now. That probably has something to do with all the craziness, but definitely more to do with the tequila!

We picked up the car on Wednesday night, and it was so fun to drive back to the city rather than take the train! And I got extra-spoiled because Ryan drove me to the office Thursday so I could load the trunk with empty boxes that Edwin, the mailroom guy, was giving to me for apartment-packing. The amazing thing was we hit zero traffic and it was 15 minutes door-to-door (Brooklyn Heights to east Midtown). I could get used to that (but I won't because it ain't gonna happen often!)

I was in something of a daze yesterday. It's been so long since I left a job without being laid-off that it felt weird to prepare for the whole thing. It was so strange to wake up this morning and not have to go to work. Of course, that doesn't mean I am lying around today. Unfortunately, I have to start packing, which is not my strong suit. I know I should just get rid of a lot of stuff, but I'm so damned sentimental. That's why I have as much crap as I do already.

Oh well, Ryan's bringing the car over a little later so I can unload the boxes from yesterday and drive over to U-Haul to get the rest of the boxes I need. Then I have from today until Tuesday to finish up. We're going out to Coney Island tonight for my friend Sonia's birthday dinner, but other than that no social plans until post-move.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

Stitch-n-Bitch was lots of fun last night. Most of the "regulars" were there, which made me happy, since I may not see them for a couple of weeks due to our big move next Tuesday. New friend Casey also joined, and was happy to have met so many people, even if she was crocheting rather than knitting.

But the most interesting "guest" by far was the guy on the sofa. He stumbled in when there just a few of us sitting there. He was a scruffy twenty-something guy carrying a can of Nutrament, and he took a seat on the end of the sofa furthest away from me (it's an "L"-shaped sofa), where he promptly passed out for a good hour-and-a-half, maybe even longer. There were several points at which we wondered if he had actually died there, but we saw breathing movements so it seemed OK. A little before 9pm one of the girls who works at the cafe came over and woke him up. It seemed like she might know him. He looked around in a daze, and then wandered off. As strange as it was to be knitting with some dude passed out on the sofa, it had to be stranger to be the dude waking up surrounded by knitters.

I did manage to pack a few boxes of books last night, so I have officially started packing. Ugh. Please someone tell me this will not be so bad? Five years of accumulation. I have gotten rid of a lot of stuff over the past few months, but there always seems to be more, and most of it is going to end up coming with me.

Tonight we're headed out to Long Island to pick up our new car! I am so excited I can hardly wait. I'm also happy because I remembered to bring my Moo blanket and the Synthrapol so I am going to throw those in the washing machine at my parents' house while we're there. I've been waiting for the opportunity to use their machine rather than the rough industrial machines in my apartment building. Cross your fingers that everything goes OK and I don't have to dye the darn thing purple.

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

Woke up at 5 a.m. and couldn't sleep again until almost 6. Had really weird dreams about working at CNN until the alarm went off at 7:30. Yeah, I'm a model of perkiness today, folks! Nothing to do here at work at the moment, which is a blessing, as I have a billion other things to do.

Ryan and I booked a mover today, for Tuesday. Van Gogh movers in Brooklyn has always intrigued me because of their wonderfully punny name and their sunflower- and iris-painted trucks. A former colleague of mine had recommended them, and they were really nice when Ryan called. Their quote came in pretty close to Oz movers, which was a recommendation from Jackie, via ECHO. Only $5 an hour more expensive. Plus they said they can combine both moves (his apartment and mine) and only take about 5-6 hours. Excellent! So, Tuesday looks like moving day.

Unfortunately that means I am going to have to do the Kate Spade sample sale a different day, which means either Jackie and Deb have to be nice and go with me another time, or I will go by myself. No biggie. Somehow moving has priority in this case. I can't believe I am going to pack up all my stuff in the next 6 days. Yipes.

Also, we're going to pick up the car tomorrow after work! Yay! I can hardly wait. We had an annoying moment yesterday when we discovered the finance guy had glossed over an extra charge for a 5-year extended warranty, and I had to go bridezilla on his ass. He tried to say he had told us that the 5-year was an extra warranty added to the cost, but oddly enough none of the three people (me, Ryan, Dad) sitting there heard the $1200 cost. Needless to say, we ditched that and are back to an OK place. It's funny, the warranty only adds a couple of bucks to the monthly payment, so you think "what the hell" but then it's like $1500 in the end with the interest, and with a reliable car, Consumer Reports says it's generally not worth it. So, with that drama over, we are back to being excited about the car.

Busy or not, I am going to Stitch-n-Bitch tonight. My friends Dan and Renee just had a baby girl over the weekend and I already bought a little sleeper outfit but want to knit a little hat to go with it. They already knew the baby was a girl and it was a scheduled C-section because she was breech, so it was slightly anticlimactic to get the message that she had arrived - is that a terrible thing to say? I'm old-fashioned, I guess - I don't want to know what it is until it pops out. "Pops" - yeah right. Doesn't that make it sound easy?

Monday, November 04, 2002

According to


Could it be true? Am I that delightful a person?

Sunday, November 03, 2002

I can't believe it. Ladies and gentlemen, our new car:

2003 Honda Civic, Eternal Blue

We take delivery Wednesday night. We ended up buying the 2003 brand-new, because the price difference just wasn't enough to make it worth buying either a leftover 2002 or a certified pre-owned model. The 2002s were like 500 bucks cheaper, and only available in icky colors. And the older used ones were still only around $2000 less unless you were talking about something over 5 years old with a lot of mileage. So to buy a car with that much mileage on it and not even save much money seemed silly. Ryan and I agreed, and my Dad (who came with us) did, too. So, we've got a new car, and can't wait to pick it up!

Other than that, not much news except being pissed-off at my friend Diana once more. She's been saying for weeks that she wants my sofabed, which we will not be moving into the new apartment. After telling me all week she was coming Saturday, and assuring me she really wants the sofa even though she's having trouble finding someone to help her pick it up, she bails. Apparently her new roommate decides yesterday that he wants to buy a new sofa, so he doesn't want mine. Yes, it's her apartment. But he won't help her come and get it, so there goes that.

If she had told me a week or so ago that she wasn't going to take the sofa, I would've had more time to make other arrangements. Now I am going to list that and my Somma bed on Craigs List and hope someone will want them, cheap, before the 13th. It just pisses me off that I asked her so many times if she was really taking it, and every time she said yes, until the day she was supposed to come get it. I suppose someday I will learn not to rely on her for even the smallest details. Oh yes, she's my maid of honor. Shut up, I don't want to hear it.

Friday, November 01, 2002

I just noticed Marney's comment below, and had to respond because I wasn't that clear when I posted yesterday. I am not worried that the bridesmaid tops will be see-through. I'm worried because the person at the store commented on the thinness of the yarn and now I am afraid it will take longer than I expect to knit the tops and I won't finish them on time. Yeah yeah, I know - if I start now it definitely won't be a problem. Bleah.
No knitting last night and my hand feels better. That's a relief. I'll just try not to do another marathon of three hours with no break on that heavy cotton yarn.

We're still going to go look at cars tomorrow, I think, even though we're not 100% certain of whether we'll buy this weekend or wait until we have the cash from the apartment sale (another month). It's more a question of seeing how much of a difference it makes to pay cash vs. finance. I have car lust so badly.

I also have packing fear. I just dread the whole moving process. Ryan is going to move his stuff on the 12th and I will move mine on the 13th, to make it a little easier. But it's going to suck to have to pack five years of accumulated stuff. I am trying to get rid of as much as I can, of course. But if you've moved, you know it's not so easy.

In wedding news, I won a tiara on eBay! I can't believe I found one there I liked so much, but I did. I have seen tiaras from this specific maker for as much as $250, so I did really well at $66! Ryan's already seen it (I couldn't resist showing it to him) so I can just post it here.

Four more days at work and I am so unmotivated. The client is being a super-idiot, so I am so glad to be getting out of this mess soon!

Thursday, October 31, 2002

My caramel lady apples were such a hit at the Halloween lunch! Some people couldn't believe I made them myself. I must say I packaged them very cutely. Someone took some digital pics (I forgot my camera) so if I can, I'll post one when I get it. I am now in a serious food coma.

I just got off the phone with someone at Artfibers and she sort of made me nervous about knitting the bridesmaid tops. Mostly because she said something about how thin the yarn is, and that she's making her stuff out of it on a machine. I hope I haven't gotten in over my head, because topless bridesmaids would be very out of tune with the style of wedding I am planning. I guess I'll have a better idea after I start the first one. Oh come on, they're sleeveless - how bad could it be?!
My left hand/wrist hurts more today than it did yesterday. Well, maybe not more, but equal. Yuk. Too much knitting and too much sitting at the computer, I suppose. I'm sure it will ease up if I do.

So, this is kinda fun - a girl on The Knot saw a post on their message boards where I was talking about knitting the bridesmaid tank tops, and she asked if she could pay me to knit her a shrug to go with her wedding gown. How amusing! Her wedding is in September out on the beach in the Hamptons, which sounds really lovely. I told her I'd be happy to, and if I can't, I'm sure I can find her someone who can. She seems really nice, and I think she may come down to Stitch-n-Bitch one of these days, even, as she has expressed an interest in learning to knit. Apparently she already crochets, so I bet she'd be easy to teach.

The car-lust is growing daily. We may go back out there this weekend. I think it's fueled even more by Dad's new car excitement - they are taking delivery today. And then Leanne told me she and Glen are about to buy her a new car. It seems the thing to do right now! We'll see what kind of deals we can find and work from there.

Today's the Halloween party at work and I brought my caramel lady apples. They are so cute! I wrapped them in a little cellophane gift bag and tied it with a raffia bow. Should have remembered to bring my camera today. Silly me. We are going to have way too much food, and that's a good thing, I think. Plus, it's an hour or so we don't have to work! Yay! Happy Halloweenie, everybody!

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

I miraculously made it to Stitch-n-Bitch last night, and even got to sit next to Jackie, who I hadn't gotten to really talk to in weeks! We both arrived there very early, and thus got prime sofa seating. It was another huge turnout, with the group eventually taking over both sets of sofas in the back of the cafe. I finally got to see Marney's fabulous new haircut, and I was pleased to see Liz, who is growing her hair by default at the moment. Deb W. showed up a little later with the most adorable pictures of Ryan and Alix, her daughter, along with a few good ones of me and the boy from our trip to the beach club back in August.

Unfortunately, I have a sore hand today, and I think it is from knitting with the thick cotton yarn. Ever since my marathon "Moo" knitting day (half a baby blanket in one day) my hand has gotten sore when I knit too long, mostly with cotton yarn. I think it's because of the lack of "give" in the yarn - it forces me to maintain too much tension in my left hand. I suppose I could try using my right hand to hold the yarn and "throwing" for a while, but I just don't feel comfy that way. I'll see if it continues or not.

Something tells me most of my aches and pains would go away if I would just get my ass back to the gym. But now in the midst of moving preparations, it is so not going to happen. There is a New York Sports Club about five blocks from our new apartment, so I think I'll be letting my Crunch membership lapse when it is up in January.The end of an era.

So many things feel like that now that I am moving and getting married. It's a good thing, don't get me wrong - it's just such a major change. No more Manhattan lifestyle. No more cramming things into my studio apartment (now I get to cram them into a bigger apartment). As excited as I am for all the days to come, there is a twinge of sadness that feels like I am losing a little part of my identity. I never expected I'd feel this way - I love Ryan with all my heart and I want to marry him equally as much. Apparently, I am not alone in being excited for this but still a little melancholy about letting some stuff go. I actually got a book that covers this very subject very nicely and emphasizes that it's very common for women marrying "later" to feel this way.

While I'm on this subject, thanks to all of you who actually read this blog even when it's not about cool knitting stuff. It's nice to have friends riding the rollercoaster with me!

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

I am such a dork. I thought Halloween was tomorrow! We're having a party here at work, and I am making Caramel Lady Apples, so I set to making them last night, thinking it was my only opportunity. The first batch (1 dozen) stuck to the waxed paper, and I nearly went ballistic, thinking I'd have to miss Stitch-n-Bitch again tonight in order to make a fresh one. Boy was it a pleasant surprise when I watched the weather this morning on TV and saw the little jack o' lantern on Thursday rather than Wednesday! I can buy more heavy cream tonight and make another batch tomorrow. Yay!

I think that little anecdote illustrates how crazed I've been over the past few weeks. I am normally very aware of the date, time, etc. But with so much going on, it's started to get away from me. I guess moving and getting a new job while in the midst of planning a wedding will do that to ya.

This weekend was fun and mellow. Spent some good time with my bro before he went back to San Francisco, and then went car shopping on Sunday. We're looking at buying a "gently used" Honda Civic. Probably a '99 or thereabouts. We test drove an older one and it was better than either of us expected, which was a nice change of pace. We had a lot of conversation about buying or leasing, whether we should get something newer or nicer, etc. But it really seems that if we are going to park this sucker on the street in Brooklyn, no matter how nice the neighborhood is, we shouldn't go for a brand-new fancy-schmancy car. I don't want to cry when it inevitably gets scratched. And since there seem to be lots of good deals on cars that are just a couple of years old, this seems like a good move.

I cannot wait to get that car. Whatever car it turns out to be. After growing up in the 'burbs, living in the city without a car was fun at first. The subway was novel. Taking the train out of town was novel. "Leave the driving to us!" Hmm, that was Greyhound. "All Aboard Amtrak!" Yeah, I think that's their slogan. Anyway, now that so many friends live out of the city, and I've gone eight years without a car, I am so ready to have one again. Our marathon trip home from Wendy's housewarming party (should've been 1.5 hours door to door, turned into 3) was even more fuel on that fire. So, after we close and get the money from the sale of Ryan's apartment, we are going to use some of that to buy a car. Yippee!!

I actually have something to work on at Stitch-n-Bitch tonight. That scarf I was making over the weekend is about twice as long as in the photo, and I totally love it. It's soft and pretty and squishy, and I like the random garter stitch texture. It's also nice and mindless so I can catch up with everybody. After the scarf, I have to start Kristy's bridesmaid top. I want it finished when we go there for Christmas. I also want to make Kate's oh-so-comfy-looking Top Secret sweater for myself, using the Gedifra Dandy (colorway #45) I bought on eBay last Spring. But I am going to force myself to hold off until I finish the Kristy tank. You heard me say it - if I don't do it, feel free to yell at me!

Saturday, October 26, 2002

You'll never believe what I did last night. I stayed home with my stuffy nose and did some knitting! Just when you all thought I was going to change the title of this blog to "Betseee bitches and moans as she plans a wedding, looks for a new job and a new apartment."

I pulled out the hank of pretty cotton yarn I bought at the Sheep and Wool Festival last week, and used my new nostpinne to wind it into three manageably-sized center-pull balls. Much nicer than the ones I have wound using the empty toilet-paper roll in the past. Then I cast on a bunch of stitches and started knitting a scarf. Started with some garter stitch, and have been just semi-randomly alternating between stockinette and garter as I go along, to make a nice texture. The varigation is so pretty that there's really no point in doing any sort of fancy stitch. As you can see, this yarn works up fairly quickly. It's hard to see the texture but if you click on the photo you can get a bigger version that makes it a bit more apparent.

I really just love the colors in this yarn, and it is oh-so-soft. It won't be as warm as a wool scarf, but it's so soft and I'm sure it will be fine for many slightly-less-than-frigid days. I plan to make it really long so I can wrap it around a few times.

Today I need to get out a bit soon and pick up some stuff at the greenmarket and New York Cake. We're having a pot-luck Halloween party at work on Wednesday, and I decided to make Caramel Lady Apples. I figure if I'm leavint the place, I might as well leave on a good note! I love caramel apples but with all the other food, the regular apples would be too big, so this is perfect. I can get the apples at the market, but I need to go to the cake store to get cellophane and sticks (I'm not going to use tree branches the way Martha did). It's always fun to wander a bit around that store anyway.

I should probably get to the shopping stuff pretty soon. Today's my brother's last day in town, and except for the Rush concert I have hardly seen him. He just happened to show up during the most ridiculously (unexpectedly) busy week of the year. Luckily he had lots of other people to see and things to do, but I would like to get to see him later today sometime.

Probably won't post again until the weekend is out - have a great one!

Friday, October 25, 2002

Rush was great last night! I can't believe those guys put on a three-hour show with so much energy. They played so many of my favorites, and still had to leave out so many others - there's just too much material. They did a lot of the older, less commercial stuff, like La Villa Strangiata, which, truth be told, I don't know nearly as well as all the boys in the audience. But they also did lots of fun stuff like Freewill, Spirit of Radio, YYZ, and much more.

Funny about the demographics at the show - very few folks under 30-ish. It was actually sort of fun to be at a concert where I didn't feel old. Also, as I pointed out, I didn't have to find out, but I bet the lines at the ladies' rooms were pretty short. Rush definitely skews heavily male! We were two girls, four boys, and I think that would be representative of the overall ratio. Lots of old tour t-shirts and scraggly hair. Didn't see a lot of hockey hair, though - an encouraging sign of the mullet's final demise!

All in all, it was a really fun night, only slightly marred by my rapidly-developing cold. Today I feel like crap, of course. We're supposed to go to a Halloween party at the home of some friends we haven't seen in ages. I just don't think I'd have a good time, feeling like this, so we're going to have to skip it. I'm sad about it, but if I have to drag myself there, it's not really a party, is it?

I'm looking forward to a quiet weekend, and maybe even getting some knitting in at some point. Yeah yeah, I have been threatening to knit for weeks, I know. Well, anything could happen!

Thursday, October 24, 2002

OK, I did it! I resigned! It was awkward. Mostly because my boss is socially awkward even under good circumstances. He asked if I'd consider a counter-offer. I said it wasn't about the money. More awkward. But I "made nice" as much as I could, and now what's done is done and I am very relieved.

I will be leaving this job November 7th, and starting my new one on November 18th. Yay me for taking some time off in-between! Of course, most of that time will be spend packing and moving into our new apartment! Yep, we signed the lease this morning and will probably move November 13th or 14th (most likely both).

I can't believe all this is happening at once! But today I feel more excited than frightened, and that's a good thing. I really appreciate all the supportive and enthusiastic comments from yesterday - they actually did help reinforce my resolve and give me more confidence. Isn't it great to have a little cheering section whenever things get too crazy? And of course more people to share good news with!

On the mundane side of things, I started coming down with a cold almost as soon as all the good news came in. Been popping "Cold Eeze" and Vitamin C, except I left them at Ryan's house this morning so I have to go back to Duane Reade and buy some more. Bleah.

Even more mundane, I was awakened this morning by the alarm, and promptly got a SCREAMING leg cramp. The kind that makes it feel like someone is taking your calf muscle and just twisting it into knots. I actually sat bolt upright and yelped, scaring the hell out of sleepy Ryan! It took what felt like several minutes (but was likely 30 seconds) to subside, and now there's just a lingering soreness. What the heck causes those? Gee, I wonder if it's stress.

Tonight I am very excited to go and see Rush at Madison Square Garden, cold or no cold! My brother is in town, and we're going with him and three other friends, so it should be quite fun. I really love the band, and was sad to have had to miss them when they were in town over the summer (the day after I got back from Italy - way too jet-lagged for a concert out on Long Island.)

In the meantime, I don't really have much to do here, though I said I would do as much as I can over the next two weeks to help them get ahead. But most of what I've written is with various people for comments and/or changes, so I am just waiting on them. Leaves me lots of time to daydream about all the changes to come.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

At least I'm not pregnant. Hell of a way to start a blog entry, eh? Not that I had any fears of being pregnant, just that everything else life-changing that can happen is happening!

  • We're signing the lease on our new apartment tomorrow morning and can move November 15th.

  • I got the job offer I was hoping for last night.

  • And then there's that little party we're planning to throw in June.

Throw in a few smaller things, like Ryan's Mom coming to visit November 15-17 (yes, that would be when we're supposed to move) and the holidays coming up (which includes a 1-week trip to Ryan's sister's in Hawaii) and I think my head is going to explode very soon. Wanna watch?

Seriously, by the time I got the job offer yesterday, I was so overwhelmed I could hardly be excited. I am excited to go work there - it's a big agency, and I'll be working on one of two major accounts - they're not certain yet - but either one is a great opportunity. But after all the stress over the apartment, and whether we would or would not get it, the excitement well was pretty much dry.

I feel like an asshole complaining over all this good stuff. And I'm not complaining, wishing it wasn't happening. Not at all! I just don't know how I am going to manage to fit it all in and still sleep.

I'm dreading giving my notice here at work. I have only been here since March, and I feel uncomfortable about leaving so soon. But you all know well that I started this job search back in the end of the summer, when I had no work here and thought I would be laid-off any minute. Now for the past month I have been busy, but once that ball got rolling, it just picked up speed until it hit the bottom of the hill.

I am a nice person, so I feel bad "sticking" my boss. The insane deadline for the project I am on just got pushed back to January 13 (was November 27) so at least I feel better about that. But I know it sucks to find someone else to do the work. Then again, I think there are others here who are not busy and can step up to the plate.

I like the people I am working with. It's not them that are driving me out, psycho-account-lady aside. But the new job is a place where I will have the ability to be more creative, and it's just something I have to do. I know you understand. I know they will even understand - I just wish I didn't feel so bad about having to say it all.

Well, I'm sure you'll all tell me not to feel guilty, that I am doing the right thing, etc. And please do go ahead! It probably isn't going to make it any easier to walk into my boss's office this afternoon, but I'm sure it'll be good to hear anyway.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Too much excitement had me up today at 6 a.m. My head was spinning with thoughts of new jobs and new apartments. Nothing is definite yet, but I have a good feeling about both. And that's all I want to say for the moment on that subject, lest I jinx myself. Or just feel stupid for giving details when it doesn't happen.

Unfortunately, since those two subjects with a little wedding planning thrown in have basically taken over my life, I have little else to report. I haven't touched any of my knitting since the bloody cow debacle. I'm still awaiting my synthrapol delivery to try and remedy that one. Otherwise I will end up dyeing it purple, as the Mission Falls folks suggested.

I need to start on the bridesmaid tops soon. Really soon. I can't get everyone to pick a neckline style, though I admit I haven't pushed them much. Kristy and Leanne were easy - they wanted basically the same thing - v-neck. Diana and Lisa aren't certain, but I think I will bug them today if I have a chance. I want to fax the forms for the patterns all at the same time so there's no confusion, and I don't want to wait much longer. As I mentioned earlier, we're going to Kristy's house in Hawaii for Christmas, and I want to bring her tank with me to be sure it fits.

I have a feeling I won't make it to Stitch-n-Bitch tonight due to the early wake-up, plethora of work, and other crap. I'm really bummed that I haven't been there lately - I'm missing my girls, and the knitting time. But, I know I will be back again as things calm down a bit, so have no fear. I will be knitting purple silk tanks from now until Spring arrives, and the good company will be essential to getting it done!

Sunday, October 20, 2002

Leanne and I had a very fun time at the NYS Sheep and Wool festival. I'm exhausted now, so I'll try and keep it brief. First off, we combined two great loves - food and yarn. Stopped at the Rhinebeck farmers market and got some yummy cheese, grapes and a bottle of cassis dessert wine that will be saved for a special occasion, since it was kinda pricey. But it tasted wonderful, and look how pretty the bottle is - could you resist?

After food, we moved on to the festival, where we were quickly overwhelmed. It was the first time for either of us at one of these, and we couldn't get over the amount of vendors and stuff to see. Both of us are pretty sensitive about the scratchiness of some wool, so there was some heavy yarn petting going on. I didn't think to take pictures of Leanne's purchases, but I did snap mine when I got home.

I got a nostepinne and this beautiful cotton yarn called "Peru" from the Great Adirondack Yarn Company at the Hillcreek Fiber Studio booth. I know, I know - a sheep and wool festival and I'm buying cotton!

I made up for the cotton by buying this great unspun yarn from Fingerlakes Yarns. It's very soft and light, and they say it felts beautifully. I may use it to make the Fiber Trends felted clogs, the pattern for which I also purchased today. They'd be a gift. Sssssh


I also picked up a little drop spindle kit. It comes with three different colors of roving, and a cute spindle with sheep on it. I didn't have the chance to get any real instruction, but supposedly the directions in the bag are good, and if not I know I can get help. I don't think I'll become a major spinner anytime soon, but it will be fun to give it a whirl, so to speak.

In addition to shopping, we made many new friends. Here were some particularly handsome fellows. Or maybe they were lovely ladies.

We wrapped up the day with a lovely dinner at Mina, a nice restaurant in Red Hook. I think we left around 7:30 and I was back in my apartment by 9:20 or so. No traffic, so we made great time. Now it's off to bed for me, and I doubt I will post in the morning, since I've given you so much excitement already.

Friday, October 18, 2002

Amidst all the bleeding cow blanket sadness, I have found so many kind and helpful knitters. I've gotten tons of suggestions from the knitlist and blog readers, and from Cindy at Apple Laine. And this morning I received a very nice note from another Cindy, at Mission Falls. Rather than paraphrase, I'll just be lazy and paste it all in:

"Dear Betsy,
Thank you for contacting Mission Falls.
We are truly saddened to hear that you are having unpleasant results with our 1824 Cotton. As you found from the others you asked, "issues" are not a common problem with our yarns. However, as with all things in life.... "stuff"  happens. Unfortunately, once colours have run it is almost impossible to reverse the effects. I wish I could offer some "magic fix" to help save all of your work and the lovely gift for your cousin's new born.
To help us find out if this is a chronic problem with a specific dye lot, it would be helpful if you would provide the following information:
1- dye lot number
2- approx. date purchased
3- name and location of the store you purchased the yarn through.

It is our policy to replace any problematic yarn through the originating retailer. If your purchase was made in the U.S. our American distributor (Unique Kolours) will replace the yarn.

Once again, we are truly sorry that you have had this unpleasant experience with our 1824 Cotton.

Mission Falls

ps-- we were doing some "brain storming" in the studio and came up with a possible way of saving your creation.... however... you will have to imagine an unorthodox cow! Using a cold water dye (such as Dylon) colour the blanket say.... purple.... the black cow spots will stay black and the background will take on the colour of the dye. The designer of  Moo (Mags Kandis) originally wanted the cow to be purple and not so "pedestrian". Just a thought...."

I think I am going to first try the Synthrapol and see if it manages to help. If not, I may go and do the purple dye thing. It would be funky and different, and purple is still good now that I know it's a boy. It may not be what I intended, but it would be better than a dirty-looking blankie, and better than no blankie at all!

Speaking of all this, go take a look at my new baby cousin! Can't do a direct link, so go here and click on Joshua Samuel, October 14th - last time I looked he was the first link. How cute will he be wrapped up in an ivory or purple cow blankie?!

Busy weekend coming up. Apartment-looking tomorrow morning, Wendy and Nik's housewarming in New Jersey tomorrow afternoon. Then on Sunday Leanne and I are headed up to Rhinebeck for the NY State Sheep and Wool Festival! I'm doubly excited because I don't see Leanne much these days, and what better way to get together than over some nice sheep and wool?

Thursday, October 17, 2002

I've gotten some encouraging words from various knitters regarding the bleeding cow blanket (now that would be a hella baby gift, eh?) situation. Several people suggested the Synthrapol that I've already ordered, so I have high hopes, tempered by reality. Another nice person told me of a Land's End sweater that bled the way my blanket did, and the advice she got from them was to wash it several more times, and she said eventually it got the excess dye out.

I also got a note from Cindy at Apple Laine, which was where I got the yarn from. She told me to check the dye lot, because she recalls one dye lot in Mission Falls' history which bled, and wants to see if I got that one. But I recall when I ordered the yarn, she held onto my order for a few days because she wanted to get a new dye lot to replace the bloody one she had. Still, I'll check when I get home and see if I saved the paper with the dye lot info. I know you're always supposed to, but I am not always so perfect (aren't you shocked?!). She offered to refund my money or replace the yarn, but I feel bad if she's going to be out money for something that isn't really her fault. She said she'd send me whatever products she has that she thinks might help the problem. What a nice person.

Anyway, I am going to try everything and cross my fingers that this poor little blanket survives. I wonder if I would re-knit it if it doesn't? Yipes. We'll cross that bridge if we come to it. It turns out we're not going to make it to the bris on Monday because of work and Ryan's school, so I will have a little extra time. Am I crazy enough to do this thing again?

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

After suggestions from Jen and also Stephannie on the KnitList, I ordered some Synthrapol. I read several accounts of good results with this stuff and dyes that have bled, so I am crossing my fingers and waiting for it to arrive. Oh I really really hope this stuff works!
I'm still pretty miserable over the blanket debacle I posted about below. I wrote to the knitlist and to Mission Falls for advice. We'll see what happens. Maybe I will try some of that RIT color remover, although I am afraid it will remove the black dye from where it's supposed to be black. It says it's OK to use on garments that are white+color, but that if a garment bleeds on itself, that means the dye is not colorfast so it may remove all the dye in the colored areas, not just the bled-on stuff. I think if I can get a hold of a packet of it, I can test it out with a small swatch of the black yarn (I still have enough left for that) and see how it goes.

Oh, and Ivete is 100% correct - even though it totally sucks, I would rather have myself be the one crying over this than have poor Jill wash it and think she ruined it when it would've happened anyway. And if worse comes to worse, I can always use the suggestion that Jackie made - pretend it's supposed to look "vintage."

Oh well. Boatloads of work to do today. Better get started and put blankie-horror out of my mind.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

As I just posted to the knitlist, I am on the verge of tears. I finally washed the Moo blanket, and the dye ran. I used cold water, put it in a sweater bag (so it wouldn't snag) and used Woolite dye magnet in the water, and it still ran. Now it looks OLD. It might not be totally obvious that the dye ran, but it looks OLD. When it's dry, I think it will be even less obvious that the dye ran but it looks OLD. I am just so upset. If anyone has an idea of what I can do, I'm all ears.

Oh, and I should shut my stupid mouth about apartments. The one we liked so much seems like it's not going to happen now. Whatever. It's amazing how the day changes from hour to hour.
It was a busy weekend, and filled with good news, for a pleasant change!

The best news is my cousin Jill gave birth to the recipient of the Moo blankie in the wee hours of Monday morning! Joshua Samuel showed up around 2 a.m. with all the requisite parts in the proper places. I'm hoping to be able to go to the bris, which will be next Monday, and present the blankie. I wonder if I ought to bring a little something for Zachary, the big brother? He's 3 1/2 years old and I wonder if he will feel left out?

Second runner-up is probably my friend Kate getting engaged. Kate is a junior art director where I am working now, and I used to work with her fiance, who is an account executive at the agency at which I was freelancing before I came here. Both of them are really nice people, and I'm so happy for them! The engagement took place during their week-long Paris vacation, so that gives us that special I-got-engaged-in-France bond.

Continuing on, my friend (and maid of honor) Diana found an apartment yesterday, which is excellent news. It's on the upper west side near Columbia University, and it's going to be her first apartment, so she's excited and nervous.

At the same time Diana was looking, Ryan and I looked at a few apartments and found one not too far from where he lives now (10 minute walk) that we really like. It's just south of Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, so technically it's Cobble Hill, not Brooklyn Heights.

It's a nice big floor-through on the first floor (up one flight when you get inside) of a brownstone, and it's got a big livingroom and bedroom, with a dining room in-between, separated by 2 sets of french doors. There's also a little office off the bedroom, and a nice-sized kitchen. Lots of great details, too. Not a lot of closet space, but Ryan has a HUGE armoire, and I think we can make it work.

We're pretty sure we want this place, but nervous about only having seen a few others. So Ryan's going out this morning with another broker (we went out with 2 yesterday) to see if there's anything comparable. If not, I think we're going to start the lease process. Of course, it's a slight gamble as we don't have a solid closing date yet for his place, but I have to move by December 1st anyway, so it's got to be done.

Closing out the good news, Diana and I finished off Monday by going to RK Bridal and picking out a color and style for the bridesmaid skirts! It's the skirt on the right in this picture and that is actually the correct color, I believe - it's called Amethyst, and it picks up the darker shade in the purple Artfibers yarn beautifully. I am really pleased that the skirts are cheap - only $69 on the store's "no frills" plan. You give them measurements, they order the skirts, and you pick them up or they send them, and you get the alterations done yourself. Since Leanne is out on Long Island, Lisa is upstate, and Kristy is in Hawaii, this definitely makes sense. Like I said, I'm very happy to save everyone some money and hassle.

That's it for the good news at the moment. Hopefully it will keep coming for a while. On the slightly bad news front, I think I will not make it to Stitch-n-Bitch tonight. I just realized during my morning status meeting that it was Tuesday, and I just have too much to do tonight. Laundry, etc. I can't wait until things calm down a little so I can get back to some serious knitting. I need to get those pattern request forms filled out so I can get started on the bridesmaidy tops!

Friday, October 11, 2002

I only managed about 2 pattern repeats (8 rows) of the girlie-pink scarf last night, but I got a ton of wedding stuff done! I was chatting on the phone with Ryan, who was just escaping from a grumpy mood, and somehow I caught him at the right moment. I had seen a cool invitation that I wanted to show him, and he looked at it and thought it was really cool. We had been talking for a while about designing and printing our own invitations, but hadn't really gotten anywhere. I was partly just looking for inspiration when I showed him this one that I liked.

We ended up looking at a bunch of invites, and deciding to go with the ones I showed him first. We found several places you could order online, and Invitation Hotline had the best prices by far, so we bookmarked it. Can't actually order them until we move and know our new return address for the reply cards!

Invitation chatter led to talk of favors, and Ryan really got into it. It was really fun for me, because I haven't been able to interest him in this stuff before, but I guess I had to wait until the time was right. I had found this really cool site with personalized labels and when I showed it to him, he nearly flipped! We are going to end up using these round ones in lilac and mint. The labels will go on top of little round boxes, which we are going to fill with Altoids. Gee, how will we ever find a witty copywriter to write something clever for the top of the boxes? It was fun to look at all this stuff with Ryan, and have him actually be interested. I was so wound up from the excitement that I had trouble falling asleep and was up until 1. What a dork!

Today it's raining like crazy, and I got another dorky thrill out of wearing my new cloud boots in the pouring rain. I'm sure I looked crazy, with my nice pinstriped suit pants (I have an interview at lunchtime today) tucked into those, with a red raincoat and rainhat, plus an umbrella, but the joke's on anyone who laughed because I got to work dry and happy!

Tomorrow I'm out to Long Island for more weddy stuff. The salon where I bought my dress is having a trunk show of tiaras from this Australian designer, and they called to say there were some that would be great with my dress. Who knows, they may be ridiculously overpriced, but it can't hurt to look and try things on. Ryan's got plenty of thesis work to keep him busy, so I will also be going shopping for bridesmaid skirts with Diana (my Maid of Honor) on Monday, while the office is closed for Columbus day. I might even be able to start on one of the bridesmaid tops over the weekend, if I can get the pattern request form filled out and sent to ArtFibers early enough.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

Awfully quiet around here lately. I guess I'm just not as exciting when I whine about work. Sorry!

Didn't get to knitting last night. First I had to pick up my portfolio from someone, who said they loved my work and would keep me in mind, but their client was insisting that the person they hire have TV (commercial) experience, which I do not. Oh well. The office was down at Chelsea Market, which is this great building that has a whole bunch of yummy food stores downstairs. I got some fruity-veggie treats at the Manhattan Fruit Exchange, then some nice sole at The Lobster Place. I was strong and passed up the brownies at the Fat Witch Bakery, and I want some credit for that!

Once I got home, I had to wait before I could cook, because a friend from work was coming to see my apartment. I guess I can let the cat out of the bag and tell you that we officially have a signed contract for the sale of Ryan's apartment, and a closing date of December 1st. That means I can move when my lease ends - hallelujah! So Jose came over and loved the place, so I'm going to put him in touch with the landlord. This way everybody will be happy. Unusual, eh?

I finally got to sauteeing my fish and baby artichokes around 8:30, and boy was it yummy yummy. It's the first time I have really cooked in so long, since I pretty much boycotted my kitchen during the hot weather. The air conditioning just doesn't make it around the corner into the tiny hot room with no ventilation. Yes, our new apartment (when we find it) will have a better kitchen - it's a non-negotiable item.

It's still a bit early to look for December 1st rentals, but we will probably call/visit some of the Brooklyn Heights brokers over this long weekend so at least they can keep their eyes out for us. I'd be willing to take a place for November 15, and pay the half-month of overlap, if it's a good plac. It would certainly make moving easier since we could do it somewhat gradually.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

I was so swamped yesterday I didn't even get to post! Horrors! Spent the day mostly in another writer's office, trying to figure out some of these new projects. Total nightmare work. I really feel like I am in over my head. I am sure I can muddle through it, but it won't be comfortable. And I know if they were hiring someone new to work on this account, no way would it be me. Heavy science, which I have the intelligence to handle, but not the experience and background in this area. So frustrating.

But enough whining. Stitch-n-Bitch was fun last night. Jenny, my new knitting friend at work, came with me, and got to meet tons of new knitty friends. I can't believe how big a crowd there was! Probably about 30 people altogether. I barely got to speak with Jackie, though I did get to say hi to Deb and her cute little daughter, Alix. Ryan showed up around 8 to meet me for dinner, and Alix was so excited to see him. Those two are utterly adorable together, and all the stitchers were commenting on it. Yes, my boy has a touch of baby fever. So do I, but we're definitely holding off until we've been married for a while.

I started working on a scarf made from the Anny Blatt pink angora I bought a few weeks back at Knitting Hands. I'm using the feather and fan pattern that was in the recent Knitters Review article on knitted lace. The pattern is surprisingly simple, and really pretty when it's worked up. My only complaint right now is that the angora sheds like crazy. I'm hoping after I wash and block it, it will calm down. My winter coat is a black shearling, and I can just see it covered with little pink hairs.

Well, that's about all the time I have for fun. Now I must place my nose back on the grindstone.

Monday, October 07, 2002

I'm back at work after a really fun Homecoming weekend up in Syracuse. It was great to see my old roommates, and to get reacquainted with everyone after such a long time. Ryan was a big hit with all of them, and vice-versa. We had two group dinners which were very enjoyable, and we got to go to Faegan's - one of my old on-campus drinking haunts. There were lots of alumni around who looked familiar, and a few whose names I even remembered. Of course there were also a few that we decided to duck because they just were too annoying to talk to. Bad Betsy!

The only real low point of the weekend was watching the football team get trounced by Pitt. Aren't you supposed to be able to beat the team you schedule for homecoming? Well, looks like someone at SU Football didn't quite get the message. No matter - we were there for the company, not the game.

On Sunday, everyone left by lunchtime, so Ryan and I went off on our own for the day. We drove out to Green Lakes State Park, which is a favorite of mine. The lakes (two of them) are wonderfully clear at the edges, and a pretty turquoise/green color where the water is deeper. These photos are the best I could find online, and I don't know if they really convey the true beauty of the place. We took a walk around all of Green Lake, which is apparently three miles. It was so nice to be out in the peace and quiet. Definitely a good break from city life. Syracuse in general is pleasantly low-key.

Now we're back home and back in the swing of things. I am awaiting the barrage of work to come, and trying to enjoy the peace while it lasts. Tonight I am going to find some sort of stitch pattern to use for that pink angora scarf, as I really need a project to work on right away. After scarfdom I will probably move on to the first of the bridesmaid tops - I think I'll start with Kristy's (Ryan's sis) since I will see her at Christmastime and possibly not again until weddingtime.

Friday, October 04, 2002

So I found out yesterday at work that I two things in common with a colleague I didn’t know very well. One, she just got engaged, and two, she’s a knitter! How cool is that? She told me she had stumbled across Bonne Marie’s site, and I was amused and told her it was only a matter of time before she found my blog. Then I realized that I have spent a lot of time the past few weeks talking about how I’m looking for a better job. Hmm. The debate in my head was between taking those posts down, or just trusting that she’s not the type of person to blabber, because she’s nice and there’s just no point in it. I went with the latter. So, Jenny, if you read this, please be discreet! Or I’ll tell everyone here that you love it when people smoke in your office when you’re not around. J

In other news, I’m headed up to Syracuse for my Homecoming weekend. Very much looking forward to seeing my best friend, Lisa, and several of my other roommates. Actually, I guess it’s all four of the girls I lived with senior year, but I’m really only looking forward to seeing three of them. That’s mean, isn’t it? Oh well – it’s the truth! Our flight leaves at 6:15, so I’m leaving the office at 4, and we arrive around 7:30. Did I ever mention the ridiculous price I got on those tickets? They were $98 round trip each! That’s cheaper than it would be to rent a car and gas it up for both ends of the trip from NYC. We’re renting a car up there for something like 50 bucks for the whole weekend. Gotta love those upstate NY prices!

Packing for this weekend was amusing. You’d think I were going to a third-world country, I was so afraid of forgetting something. Dunno why, except that since I am the only one living in the city, I feel this pressure to be extra-fabulous this weekend for all the girls, who are mostly suburban Mom’s now. Isn’t that ludicrous? Oh well, it’s true anyway. I also decided not to bring any knitting. The flight is only an hour and 15 minutes, and I have two books with me. I may finish my re-reading of The Two Towers (and by the way, I have the super-groovy circa-1965-or-so version that my Dad bought back when it first came out in paperback, not the movie star new versions. It really bugs me when they reissue a book cover with movie stars). If I do finish that, I can start The Fourth Hand. Since I don’t have a particular project on the needles at the moment, I decided to just skip it and make things easier going through security, since we aren’t checking anything.

Today I’m supposed to find out about that fresh hell that may break out here at work. Let’s hope it gets scaled-back or the timeline gets pushed out a bit. If there’s anything to say, I’ll say it later. If not, I’ll see everyone on Monday!

Thursday, October 03, 2002

Hey, have you ever wondered if those vacuum-pack Space Bags on TV really work? Well, this is my full-queen size down comforter, a feather pillow, and a fleece blanket:

It's great fun stuffing those things and vacuuming all the air out. I used to have a cheaper kind where you didn't use the vacuum, but most of those have ripped by now. These were bigger and stronger, and I'm impressed with the amount of stuff I was able to pack into them. I pretty much got the bulk of my summer wardrobe into two of the large bags. Well, those two large bags plus two shopping bags of stuff I decided does not need to stay in my life any longer.

Yesterday's interview went pretty well, though it's always hard to tell what they really think of you. Thing is, I'm not sure I really want the job, because it sounds like I might be busy but bored. And I don't think it's what I want to do for a longer term, so I would just end up looking for something more interesting again in a year or sooner. I think I might be better off staying with the boredom I know, as opposed to having to get accustomed to a whole new variety.

I did drop off my portfolio at the other agency I had mentioned, and had a nice (informal) chat with the HR person who was recruiting me. I think I got in good with her because I opened her eyes to a quicker way to commute to her office. They just moved into cool new offices a month or so ago, and she had been taking a somewhat roundabout subway route from her place (she turns out to live right near Ryan) - the route involved a really long and annoying transfer from one line to the other, and took her a really long time. I told her about the "A" train, which is about 2 blocks from her house and goes straight to the stop a block away from her office. She was intrigued, and I know that right now she is loving me for saving her that time! Hopefully she and her creative director like my portfolio as much as my subway knowledge and decide to meet with me.

I also just set up an interview with a third agency. This is through a headhunter, but I spoke directly to the creative director to set up the time. He seemed really nice and had a good sense of humor, so I'm looking forward to that interview next Wednesday after work.

I wrote those first few paragraphs at 10am, and didn't get back until 2pm to finish. We had this most ridiculous timeline meeting for a bunch of projects that may or may not actually happen, but if they do, everything needs to be finished by November 27th to be submitted to the FDA for approval. We're talking brochures, letters, sales sheets and a whole ton of other esoteric shit. The kind of work that under normal conditions would be 4-5 months worth. Absofuckinglutely ridiculous. I was almost speechless after this meeting. We'd need at least 3-4 other writers, and even then it would be a nightmare to get this stuff done. We're talking late nights and weekends. Shit shit shit. I am hoping some of these other opportunities pan out, because I do not want to work like that. Even if we get it done, it will be a greatly compromised product we produce on such a short timeline, so it's hardly worth it.

Oh well. I am going to go and enjoy the quiet while it lasts.

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

Well hallelujah, I finally made it back to Stitch-n-Bitch last night! I was more there for the bitch part than the stitch part, as it turns out. I brought my pretty pink angora but forgot a book of stitch patterns, and I kind of futzed around with it and came to no good conclusion so I just ripped it. But I chatted with everyone and had a good time before I left early, around 8:30.

I was just so tired when I left Java-n-Jazz, and when I went home I dyed my hair and was practically tipping over, I was so sleepy. Of course, I had trouble falling asleep, and at around 4:30 a.m. I was awakened by hot breath on my neck and a warm tongue in my ear. No, this isn't TMI - the breath smelled of cat food and the tongue felt like sandpaper. Why oh why does my cat love me so much when I am sleeping?

Interview today is at noon, and I wore a sort of less-suity suit so that people wouldn't get too suspicious. Not like I am that concerned really. I think a lot of people are covering their butts around here by interviewing, etc. At least, the smart people should be. The agency isn't in desperate shape or anything, but there are a lot of people with little to do right now, and they have gotten rid of a few of them recently.

I'm getting excited for my weekend. Ryan and I are flying up to Syracuse to meet a bunch of my college roommates and friends for Homecoming. Ten years. I can hardly believe it! I'm also psyched because at the 11th hour we managed to get rooms at the Sheraton that is basically on-campus. Originally it was booked and they put me on the waiting list, which I thought was a joke. Apparently not! Of course, it's twice the price of the other place we had reserved, and twice the price of a normal weekend at the same hotel, but it's worth it to be right there and not have to drive. Particularly if we re-live our most common college memories, which are not particularly conducive to driving!

Hmm, that reminds me that I ought to let my boss know I need to leave here an hour or so early on Friday to make my flight. Yeah, like I have any work that would keep me here!

Forgot to post my latest wedding-related purchase. I found this at a thrift store on my way home Monday afternoon - the tag inside says Bloomingdale's, and it was eight bucks. I know I have looked for similar purses there in the past and they are usually around $50, so I'm pleased.

That's all for now - think good thoughts my way at noon, Eastern time!

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

Inertia is really tough. After a full day of sitting on my ass at work with little to do, I come home and...sit on my ass some more! Really, it's a problem - I can't seem to motivate to do much of anything when I get home at night, and thus my apartment never quite gets clean. I do a little here and there, scrub the tub one day, sweep, but never that down and dirty make it all pretty cleaning. But I am going away this weekend and really want to return to a nice apartment, so I guess I will find the time somehow. Apparently if you don't leave with it clean, you cannot return to it being clean. Shocking!

Well, one agency that looked at my portfolio wanted someone with more pharmaceutical experience. Fine. I have an interview tomorrow, and another place to drop my book off afterwards. Plus another hit from Monster on my resume. We'll see if anything comes of it.

Stitch-n-Bitch tonight. Damnit, I am going! I am probably going early and leaving early, but I am going! I don't have anything in progress to work on, but I am bringing that pretty pink Anny Blatt angora that I bought a month or so ago, and I will start playing with stitch patterns for a girlie scarf.

Now I'm off to another meeting.

Monday, September 30, 2002

I forgot to mention how much I love Knitty! Amy has done a fantastic job, and so did all those who contributed designs and articles. I enjoyed perusing it during my downtime on Friday. I'm finding myself particularly drawn to the Topsecret sweater for myself, though it may have to wait a while. I just love the lines of that one! But all the projects look fantastic, and I'm so proud of all of you!

I'm actually feeling sort of lame for not contributing to Knitty in any other way than throwing some off-the-cuff taglines at Amy when she requested them. And I like the tag she chose much better than any of the ones I came up with, so I don't feel one iota of disappointment over that! But I feel like I ought to have been a part of this, and the only reason I wasn't was my own lame-osity. Maybe I will try something for the next one.

Truthfully I think wedding planning and better-job searching have taken over a bit, putting knitting on the back burner. But I don't intend to let it stay there. Of course, once I start the bridesmaid tops, those will certainly have me back to knitting up a storm. But it will be mostly the same storm, over and over again with different necklines.
Well, I have failed in my bid to complete my oh-so-groovy hat for the RedLipstick hat show. The idea I had was going to take way too long, so I tried to modify it, and I hated it. Just thought it looked stooooopid. If I had been truly obsessive, I might have sent the boy away for the weekend and sat home trying to do it all, but I just couldn't. I wanted to go out and have some fun. Had to help clean up and make his apartment beautiful so we can sell it. You know the story. Girl dreams up hat. Girl tries to make hat. Girl spazzes and gives up on hat. Happens every day.

Maybe someday I will complete the hat the way I wanted to, and I will post it for all to see. In the meantime, I am putting it in the deep-freeze. Sorry to everyone who expected to see something cool - you'll just have to read instead.

Ryan and I cleaned up and prepared the aforementioned apartment for an Open House on Sunday, and it seems to have gone well. A few possible offers, but I won't get too excited over it until there is something more definite, because that's how I got disappointed last time. It would be great to get this over with, though. November 30th is getting closer and closer.

Still bored here at work, though they say new projects are coming. Uh-huh. We shall see. Like the apartment deal, I am skeptical. My Tuesday interview got pushed back to Wednesday, but that's fine.

Other than that, not much new. This week's plan is to make it to Stitch-n-Bitch tomorrow, and spend the other nights getting my house in order. I have been a real lazy bum about cleaning and stuff lately, and it's showing. I think the boredom at work brings on a general lethargy, and when I get home all I feel like doing is watching TV and eating Oreos. Lovely. I think we'll be back on track this week and I'll be the fabulous, exciting me again, just in time for our trip upstate this weekend.

Friday, September 27, 2002

Just came back from dinner with Ryan, and found a cute note in my building's elevator. It was from a girl named Erika, who lives in the building (there's about 60 apartments here) and she's looking for people to vote for her to get invited back onto a TV show called "Focus Group" on We wrote back a little note saying we'd vote, and I just did. Won't you vote for Erica?