Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Anybody want a rosè slushie?

I had a craving for a glass of rosè, which I enjoyed a lot of in France. So I picked up a bottle at Union Square Wines on my way home. I wanted to chill it fast but didn't feel like putting it in the sink with ice cubes and water because it's so messy and uses up all the ice. So, since I had the freezer bowl of my ice cream maker already in the freezer, I stuck the wine bottle in there and put it back in the freezer. Well, that was at 6pm and I just remembered it now. As you can see from the photo, it's frozen solid! The amazing thing is that the bottle didn't burst. It's melting pretty quickly, and I can't really tell if the freezing hurt the wine too much, since I haven't had this particular bottle before. Tastes a little flat, but who knows.

Definitely a night of odd experiences (see my google reference below!) I think I'll go to bed before it gets any weirder.
OK, this is super-freaky. Right at this very moment, if you do a google search on the word "knits" and nothing else, guess what comes up as the very first result? My blog! How in the world did that happen?!
It was so fun to go to Stitch-n-Bitch last night and see all the girls! And it worked in my favor that Cafe Des Moines decided to close at 9pm, since I was fading fast, but it was also pretty annoying. We've been discussing looking for another place to meet, since the Des Moines staff is unfriendly, they have somewhat erratic hours, and there's a serious lack of decent food there (important when a lot of us come straight from work and stay for hours.)

Jackie sent an email to the S-n-B list soliciting opinions on a place I had mentioned called Java N Jazz. It's a nice place, has decent food, and stays open later than Des Moines. It's also right off Union Square and thus close to a whole bunch of train lines. Of course, right now it's also about a 7-minute walk from my apartment, but once Ryan and I move into Brooklyn together, it will still be convenient because of the subway proximity. I am crossing my fingers that others will like the idea!

Got up to the armholes on my melon boatneck last night. I mentioned to Liz that I thought the neck might be too straight, and she told me that Bonne Marie had updated the pattern because of just this problem. Hmm. I think I am using the updated one, but now I'm wondering if I am, or if I did something funky. I had to adjust the pattern a bit because I had a different number of stitches (I made the top a bit smaller than she did) but that really shouldn't have mattered. Well, I know if I run into huge trouble I can always beg Ms. Chicknits herself for assistance!

So the boy and I are throwing ourselves gently into wedding planning mode. We both made our guest list picks last night, and I threw it over to Mom and Dad for anyone they want to add. So far, so good. We're trying to keep it on the reasonable side and not break the bank. Hope we succeed.

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

I'm still not feeling so great about work, maybe even more so today. Truth be told, in a bustling economy, I would not have taken this job. Pharmaceutical advertising is not exactly known for its creative opportunities. But the offer was really good, and oh yeah, it was the only solid offer I had. So I took it. Then shortly after I started, a major client (whose project was the impetus for hiring me) had to postpone their launch. Then another, and another, and now this last client who didn't even get their FDA approval.

So, the work has dwindled, and I don't have any of my own projects to work on. I'm basically getting tossed around from project to project when someone needs help, and I'm backing up one of the other writers on his client. And he's a good guy, but it's very frustrating at my level to be working basically as a junior writer, even if the title on my biz card says "Senior." Not having anything I can take ownership is really frustrating, and on top of that I'm concerned that since there is so little work right now, my head will be first on the block.

The up side of the job is I work with really nice people, I have my own office (a rarity, in my experience), the hours are reasonable, the pay is good, and my boss is really really nice. But I am bored bored bored most of the time. Either by lack of work, or lack of interesting work. And the work process here is very slow and old-fashioned. There are a lot of people who have been here for 10+ years, and some even for their entire careers. Not a lot of new thinking going on. Certainly not compared to my days working on web projects.

What to do, what to do? As I already said yesterday, I think I would be incredibly stupid not to at least be considering looking elsewhere. Of course, being here for only four months just doesn't look good on a resume, and goodness knows there aren't a hell of a lot of jobs out there. But if this one disappears (or just grinds to a slow, painful halt) I want to be prepared.

Wow, I wish I weren't thinking about this right now. I would like to be carefree and just humming along here at work, but it just seems like that's not going to happen. I hope I don't end up doing a job search and wedding planning at the same time. Of course, if I got canned, I'd have lots of time for that wedding plan. Hahaha. Talk about your unwanted silver linings. With Ryan not working, I am definitely going to need to be working for the foreseeable future.

Sorry to be a downer today. I guess reality is just catching up with me this morning, and it isn't as lovely as it could be. I recognize things could be far worse, but that's why I am trying to prepare ahead of time - so they don't get there!

Monday, July 15, 2002

I can't believe this is my first post of the day. Work was pretty busy, and kind of weird. I got to give everyone the happy news, and got lots of happy congratulations and even got taken to lunch by one friend. But I also found out that the big client I was supposed to be working on didn't get their FDA approval, so the whole thing is dead in the water. Kind of makes me edgy, but I had a good talk with my boss and he said he would let me know if there was any reason to worry about my job security. I think I would be an idiot if I didn't update my resume and put out feelers, just in case, but I hate the whole thought of it. I don't love love love what I am doing, but it is a good job and the money is very good.

In other news, my kitty came home tonight! She stayed at my parents' house while we were gone, and they brought her home tonight. I missed the little brat! Ryan's not here tonight so I will be happy to have my little Serena to cuddle with.

I am completely comatose now at 9:30 and cannot wait to go to sleep. In two weeks, we really adjusted to the time over in Europe, and coming back is tougher than I expected. I started crashing around 6 today and haven't come out of it. That does not bode too well for Stitch-n-Bitch tomorrow. I am definitely going to go, but I think I won't have the longevity I usually do. But it will be fun to see all the chicas there! It's so nice to have a group of cool women to hang out with every week. Cool women who will be understanding of my jet lag and not make too much fun when I fall asleep in my tea at 8:30!

Hmm, I feel like I am getting less coherent. Not a good sign. Time to wash up and hit the sack.

Sunday, July 14, 2002

I almost forgot to talk about knitting-related stuff from my trip! Bad Betsy! Truth be told, it was not much of a knitting bonanza. I did some work on the melon boatneck, and am almost up to the armhole on the back. But most days I didn't even look at it. Since we were with other people almost all the time in France, I didn't get a lot of yarn shopping done. I saw a few balls of Bouton d'Or angora in a little store (not a yarn store, just a store that happened to have some yarn) one morning, but by the time I decided I kind of wanted to go back, we had already had to leave the town to be somewhere else. No gigantic loss, but it would've been nice to have the freedom to return on my own schedule.

I did get about 15 minutes in a Phildar store when we drove down to Marseilles with Chris and Andrea one day. They were having a big sale (the whole darn country is on sale right now - my favorite French word? "Soldes!") and I got 10 balls of Paper Phil in a lovely clear blue color. Now that I look at it again, it's a lot like the color of the water on the Cote d'Azure, so that's sort of a nice memory.

The big disappointment was going all the way to the address for the Filatura di Crosa store in Rome and finding it closed. Recently closed, it appears, as the window display next to the door still had the Filatura di Crosa poster, but the place was totally empty. Very sad. I looked at the list I had printed from Woolworks, but none of the places had phone numbers and the addresses just didn't jive with anything on our map.

On our last morning in Anacapri, I came across a little yarn store that I hadn't noticed before, but they didn't have anything special. I was looking for some soft merino, and all she had was baby yarn in pastels. I thought about getting some for future baby projects, but decided not to bother. So, Europe wasn't a yarn bonanza, but I did get something purdy that I wouldn't be able to find at home, so I am satisfied. Now I just have to find a pattern that will suit the Paper Phil...
Wow - 23 comments must be a record! Thanks to everyone for your good wishes on my engagement - after 14 hours of travel yesterday, it was nice to come home and read such nice notes!

The rest of our vacation was really just wonderful. Careful, but not overzealous planning really paid off in this instance, as all the travel between places went smoothly and our hotels turned out to be absolutely lovely. The only "lowlight" of the trip would probably be the overnight train from Nice to Rome, basically because we couldn't get a first-class sleeper and had to ride in a couchette with four other people. Also because the train was ancient, with no air conditioning and no bar car. I think the hours-old engagement "high" was the only reason I survived that leg of the trip!

I don't think I am going to do the whole travelogue right now, because I have about a billion things to do here. Laundry, supermarket, etc. And I'd like to get that stuff done in time to enjoy a little bit of the weekend left before going back to work tomorrow. Just a few highlights: we ate like kings in France, thanks to Ryan's father. And I now have a new favorite cheese - St. Felicien. It's a soft, runny cheese that comes in a little crock and is completely yummy. We also had several fantastic meals at Michelin-star restaurants. Yummmmmm!

As for Italy, we didn't really love Naples, so it was good that we didn't spend much time there. But the Amalfi Coast was gorgeous, and we were really pleased with the place we stayed - the Hotel Onda Verde. We were really pleased to have stayed there, in tiny Marina di Praia, rather than in "bustling" Positano or Amalfi. It was quiet and beautiful, and we had an absolutely delicious meal at a little restaurant just a few steps away from the beach. And Capri was just heavenly, and the Caesar Augustus
was even more beautiful than it's website photos. Again, we were glad to have stayed there in Anacapri, rather than down in Capri Town, which is a bit too busy for a relaxing vacation - great to visit town, but nice to escape to the quiet hotel afterwards.

Some oddities we noted: Even at a really expensive full-service hotel, we couldn't find an iron anywhere. Laundry service, yes. Iron your own clean but wrinkled clothes? No way! Kind of annoying. Also, they seem to have a caulking problem in Italy. Even in the priciest place, the shower/tub leaked enough to get the floor wet. Outside the hotels, it was frustrating to have the cabs try (often successfully) to rip us off by charging more than the meter or agreed-upon price. We also got to learn the term "coperto," which refers to the charge (around 2 bucks where we were) per person for the tablecloth, cutlery and bread at a restaurant. That is on top of the 10-15% service charge. Not sure why they break it out like that - we just found it irritating but probably wouldn't have if it had been all lumped together.

Anyway, those were very small prices to pay for a really beautiful vacation. We have hundreds (nearly 700!) digital photos go go through, and once we do, I think we'll be making a little vacation website somewhere. I'll save the detailed descriptions until then, and leave you with one photo from my camera (most of the rest of them are on Ryan's). This was the sunset from our private terrace our last night on Capri. Hmm, maybe I can make it really really big and put it up on my wall!