To be a little less vague… at the time of my last post, I was playing a game here in NYC called roommate roulette. Current situation is untenable. Current roommate is ok as a friend but as a roommate the disrespect and inconsideration I felt was too much for me to swallow anymore. I was also slightly burned as I found a place, moved myself into that mentally and it fell through. But out of the first round there was one other place I REALLY liked. And over the weekend of agony, I waited to find out if she would offer it to me…

Well she did. Then I distrusted it until there were keys in my hand and checks in theirs. And I think I might have won the roulette on this go round. Distinctly unlike me, I am feeling very positive about what is to come and enjoying things (even though this month will be a bit rough as I have a working holiday in Seattle, friends in town,  a move, and another round of contract renewals). But one thing I definitely know in all of this is that even though my independant self *HATES* asking for anyone else’s “help,” I believe in the power of all your good thoughts (not to mention that with little to consider this a blog about, some of you guys still come round and that alone makes me smile)

So for that… I thank you immensely. And promise to post again soon (I have 101 in 1001 to update if nothing else) Also I give sincere apologies for the lack of a beaujolais photo, it has been packed already… but if it helps this is what I did on my birthday, which was going on around the same time 🙂 31 is looking like it could be a good year!

Flying Trapeze

CATCH

I know that very few people come round, and that is ok. God knows I dont really blog anymore…

But here are my vageuties… I finally made a decision for myself, one that I have needed to make for a long time but resisted as I hate change, only sacrificing myself is no longer really appealing to me. So I went with it, felt good about it and my change, was looking forward to it. Then the rug was pulled out from underneath me on it. And I feel crappy and looped. Trying not to full on pity party and wonder why cant things go positively for me, or why cant it just be resolved. There is one other wee option, short of starting over again from scratch and hoping for the best.

So if anyone out there sees this… and can spare a positive thought… I will be eternally grateful and promise that the next post will have at least a photo of yarn (in my moment of thinking that things were coming together and my impending birthday… I bought myself some Beaujolais, not the wine but a yarn named after it and I LOVE the colour!!)

Katie is having a blog contest… and about two weeks ago Crazy Aunt Purl had a post about books that had me “wishlisting” on Amazon like crazy (I am the only one ever buying anything from that dang list though). And this all made me think… I want to talk about books here too. This blog (if I can really call it that) is going to be everything BUT knitting (and the sweater I am done knitting but still have to finish) by the time I am done… Sigh, but at least I am trying to get back up on the horse.

When I was a kid it was hard to find me without my nose in a book. But by the time I got through undergrad and then grad school, the idea of reading… well it was strapped on to the notion of work. So for a while there I stopped reading for fun. Then I realised that there was so little I had read of the classics, I LOVED being in the UVillage Barnes and Noble and damn don’t I want to be a well rounded person?? So I fell back in love with books and have commited more money to the Amazon Gods than any river can carry. As a matter of fact of the 350 lbs of things I shipped to myself from Paris, 275 of them… Books/Papers. Now I know I commit heresy, but I read not knit on my subway rides- and that is where most of my reading takes place. My commute takes me 45 minutes door to door (with my morning muffin stop) each way and it is a rare occasion that I am to be found without a book on my person (cause you never know how long you are going to be in transit, especially if you live on the L train like I do…). Currently in rotation is The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton. And you know what, it indeed does make me happy to read the book.

So I thought I should repost my top ten favorite reads, and a list of reading. So here goes…

A selection of my favorites (not necessarily including everything) from my library thing (which I totally love!)

  1. The Zahir (Paolo Coehlo) Brilliant man anything by him is worth the time.
  2. Fountain Head (Ayn Rand- lots to read but love to read it!)
  3. How Proust Can Change Your Life (Alain de Botton) This book and this author changed my life and has had me pulled into all his books!
  4. Cod (Mark Kurlansy) any of the “food” as more than food books from Mark Kurlansy are worth reading and so damn interesting
  5. Kafka on the Shore (Haruki Murakami) Liked it enough to get Norwegian Wood which I wizzed through too
  6. Lemon Tree (Sandy Tolan) An incredible book on a conflict that has been tearing a region apart for longer than I care to think… a region that has a special place in my heart
  7. The Mandarins (Simone de Beauvoir) great to read about when I was living there, but it is still nice when you arent there.
  8. Me Talk Pretty One Day (Dave Sedaris) I adore this man. Got to meet and have drinks with him. He makes me laugh inordinately.
  9. I Am A Stranger Here Myself (Bill Bryson) Anything by the man is worth it! He often makes me laugh out loud and as a recent “re”patriate from the expatriate life this one totally touches me.
  10. Stretching Lessons (Sue Bender) Whenever I feel myself a bit adrift or torn apart a bit… this book brings me a bit back together.

My Summer Time Reading is FUN-da-mental list (a list that will probably carry on into other seasons :))

  1. Anna Karenina
  2. Life of Pi
  3. Great Expectations
  4. Foucault’s Pendulum
  5. The Grapes of Wrath
  6. Les Misérables
  7. A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
  8. Dubliners
  9. Eats, Shoots & Leaves
  10. Lolita
  11. Persuasion
  12. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values
  13. The House of Mirth

Keep those doggies rolling…

Where in the world has the time gone and what have I managed to do with my time. NYC has a distinct way of being a time warp/vacuum that sucks people in alive I think. Kind of like how life is a rollercoaster. Eternal things can’t do much about, so it is onwards and upwards.

That said, I am pretty impressed with this month of April… despite all (and I have had my annoyed, angry and lonely moments), things have actually turned out well, or it is me choosing to look at them from that side. So without further ado… here is the 101 in 1001 run down- seemingly the only thing I can every bring myself to blog on… One day I do hope to find my voice again.

Purchase (10/101)

  1. Treat myself to a massage or a facial once a year
  2. Buy a Lomo camera (Getting one in a deal the first week of May)
  3. Buy one piece of art
  4. Buy fresh flowers for my room once a month for a year
  5. Buy a new “professional” set of luggage
  6. Buy one piece of investment furniture
  7. Get a subscription to National Geographic Traveller, New Yorker, Economist
  8. Buy an antique map of Paris and frame it
  9. Buy a new DSLR upgrade (Definitely to be purchased before my birthday)
  10. Find and buy one pair of killer jeans

Health (15/101)

  1. Run/Participate in a 5k, 10k, and half marathon
  2. Participate in an olympic distance triathalon
  3. 30 day trial… bikram yoga 3 times a week (Managed twice a week this month. hoping to make it 3 soon)
  4. Visit a nutritionist/naturopath
  5. Do a master body cleansing/fast/colonic

Travel (31/101)

  1. Rent a beach house for a getaway
  2. Go surfing in Costa Rica or Hawaii
  3. Visit 3 national parks (i.e. Antelope Canyon, Grand Canyon, Muir Woods, Yosemite, Moab, The Arches, Grand Tetons)
  4. Take a working vacation at a winery in the south of France
  5. Play in the tulips in Netherlands and Skagit Valley
  6. Visit 10 friends (SF next month here I come! Yes it will only count as one friend but I am still happy about it :))
  7. Rent a convertible and go on a road trip
  8. Do an Ashram in India or Bali
  9. Camp out in Wadi Rum
  10. Climb up Macchu Picchu (Change in plans… but this will happen, yes it will!)
  11. Visit a buddhist temple
  12. Watch an opera at La Scala and a ballet at Opera Garnier (I went and saw the La Fille du Regiment Opera on Gala Opening Night no less, but at the Lincoln Center :))
  13. See the northern lights in Iceland
  14. Go to Ireland
  15. Go on a crazy Thelma Louise girls trip
  16. Stay in a luxurious 5 star hotel

Finance (42/101)

  1. Work to better credit score (by 50-100 points)
  2. Contribute at least 50% of max out to my Roth IRA annually (approx. $2000-2500) (I sucked it up and put $3000 in… camera will wait a little longer)
  3. Create, maintain and track my budget for one year (Got part of my medical reimbursements which goes back to savings, shipping reimbursements will be submitted next week… and while not budgeting I have lived within something close to my paycheck  and am working to rebalance all the accounts. Hopefully that will be done definitively in June)
  4. Pay off all credit cards and maintain zero balances (Financial flows still going buckwild and I am giving myself a bit of reprieve, but they are all close to zero balances)
  5. Save $5 for 1001 days (YUP)
  6. Do my taxes annually (2007 done, sent and buggered up but clearing up and looking forward to getting a tax rebate :))
  7. Invest in retirement and net worth (10% of income)
  8. Pay off 50% of remaining student loans (“High-ish” interest rate loan is set to be paid off possibly by around my birthday! Am also almost 18 months prepaid on the rest of the loans. And then I attack the unsubsidized amount)
  9. Invest in socially responsible mutual funds (2% of income)
  10. Get a major credit card: use and pay of in full monthly (so I got one… I am a big girl now! Waiting for it to arrive so I can hide it… Ok use it but try not to abuse it.)
  11. Save $10000 towards a major investment (purchase of property etc)

Learning (53/101)

  1. Take a photography course on light and flash (Going to a speaking engagement with a guru of light May 8th to see if I like him enough to take a class with him)
  2. Learn how to fly the trapeze (I am going to do an intro to silks class next month. And this is what I will be doing on the day of my 31st birthday!)
  3. Take an intensive Spanish language course in Spain
  4. Get my a scuba diving certification
  5. Learn how to drive a Vespa
  6. Take a wine tasting course
  7. Learn how to dye yarn
  8. Learn more about buddhism
  9. Research travel photography and writing
  10. Take skiing lessons in the alps
  11. Learn 5 Photoshop tricks

Reading (59/101)

  1. Go to 3 book readings
  2. Read 6 classics and 5 works pre- 1950
  3. Read a banned book, a booker book, a pulitzer prize book
  4. Read the Tao Te Ching
  5. Read 3 biographies per year
  6. Enter all my books into Library Thing (Need to add the boxes of books I just got from Paris storage…)

Creativity (69/101)

  1. Design my blog (Waiting to hear back from the Etsy designer for my banner… may put a bat-call out to the other savvy friends to get it done with)
  2. Do a photographic travel/documentary project (A high up from UNICEF has offered to open the door for me on this… now I need to get myself together on it and pick a place and a story!)
  3. Knit three sweaters for myself (Sweater #1: Finished the knitting, now to block and seam)
  4. Document all my yarn stash (the box from Paris is here… the accounting will be had shortly!)
  5. Print 10 of my photos for framing and hanging
  6. Keep a film and book list
  7. Sell 5 photos
  8. Participate in Sunday scribbles
  9. Go to the cinema once a month (Went to see Smart People… I REALLY want to see The Visitor and The Band’s Visit soon though!)
  10. Make a quotes book

Gastronomy (74/101)

  1. Go berry picking
  2. Eat at 12 new restaurants- one three star. (Balthazar’s- fun NYC “cool people” experience! Also part of a very long day/night)
  3. Try one new recipe a month
  4. Throw a dinner party for 8 friends
  5. Try 6 new foods and 6 foods I “dont like” (I had oysters at Balthazars, had never tried them before had thought I didnt like them. Only it wasn’t like I thought :))

Career (77/101)

  1. Take GRE Course and Exam (1350 score goal) (Must schedule a test date this month)
  2. Apply to 10 PhD programmes
  3. Work on creating a career path (While not a career path I applied to two jobs I would be happy to have)

Do (101/101)

  1. Go galopping on a horse out in the free range
  2. Participate in some volunteer/public service project (maybe dealing with sexual health or at a soup kitchen)
  3. Go canoeing in Central Park
  4. Watch one classic movie per month
  5. Go to a live music festival
  6. Go to Shakespeare in the Park
  7. Meditate for 5 minutes 3 times a week
  8. Purge my wardrobe (of at least 30%) (I think a spring cleaning and closet change is upon me this month…)
  9. Attend a meditation retreat (5+ days) (I heard about this one where you dont talk… could possibly be the biggest challenge for me, and something I so want to do! in a very odd turn of thoughts)
  10. Go snowshoeing
  11. Get rid of 101 things
  12. Consolidate and reduce my storage needs and use
  13. Go to the HCB museum in Paris
  14. Reduce my carbon footprint (by 10-20%)
  15. Donate “one meal out” per month to a Food Bank
  16. Spend 5 minutes daily in total silence and inactivity for a month
  17. Visit my grandmother and father’s graves and take flowers
  18. Go to an outdoor movie
  19. Live in a new city in 1001 days
  20. Hang my mirror, shelves and frames
  21. Trace my Irish geneology
  22. See a broadway play
  23. Preserve my family photos
  24. Go to a museum once every other month

I am still settling a lot of these things inside of me. Not a box of rocks rattling obnoxiously anymore, but there are some rocks that need to stop rolling.

This time it is a bit more than bittersweet, as this time when I left Paris… I left with all my belongings. This trip was to clean out the storage unit and really MOVE myself forward into the present. No more saying I am adjusting. This is where it is at and where I am. Time to be in the now. I know it had to be done, I even know that it is good that I did it (I should have done it 6 months ago as a matter of fact), but that doesn’t mean I wanted to. But limbo is not a good place for me, and swinging around for la vie en rose isn’t productive either. So a year later I am closing that door for the time being. Paris will always be a part of me, I still am there at least 2-3 times a year on average, and I will live there again, I dont doubt that at all… but for now I am not grounded there with my things, just my friends. At the same time I am not 100% grounded in NYC, but I am trying to move it forward.

That said the best part of my trip was catching up with my friends. Sometimes you forget how rejuvenating certain people in your life are to you. To be there with people that I know know me and love me for me. As I bounce around the planet and they do too, we all realise with those who matter and how much that community and its acceptance can mean to you. To recharge to feel like you FIT (like that perfect little black dress you have does or how that “designed for you” sweater does) makes a girl happy. The battle is just to remember, that there are those people in your life. And that despite whatever you might think… They like you. Yes Mikey they really do, and on top of that they know you too and they still LIKE YOU.

And then there is a back that is finished. Actually there is a back and one of the fronts that is finished with the last front started. But I cant really make them more interesting than I will make them when they are all in one pile and done (knitting photos leave me a little confounded sometimes). In the final knitting stretch now. Luckily for sweater possibilities, mother nature and the weather fairy seem incapable of taking their pills like the rest of us and the weather has been of a schizophrenic nature… so if I can manage to get my act together I could plausibly by next week have a finished knit to figure out how I am going to block and then force myself to seam up.

And for those interested a few small photos from Kobenhavn :

You know it is starting to get pathetic that I can barely bring myself to update more than once between my 1001 posts… even though I have done creatively related stuff. Even finally visited one of the yarn stores in town (hello Purl you are WAY tinier than I expected).

So this time I am writing from my old home (Paris) and feeling a bit off not knowing where is home etc (am here to go through my storage unit and ship things back before you get all romantic on me- well that, visit friends and take a weekend in Copenhagen :)). Anyways, I think we can all just count off the month of March as a slag month and try to step into Spring with a new step! And for whatever the reason, this time I am doing it with an uncharacteristically positive spring in my step 🙂

Purchase (10/101)

  1. Treat myself to a massage or a facial once a year
  2. Buy a Lomo camera
  3. Buy one piece of art
  4. Buy fresh flowers for my room once a month for a year (Ummm nope. BAD me. Though I was only in town half the month)
  5. Buy a new “professional” set of luggage
  6. Buy one piece of investment furniture
  7. Get a subscription to National Geographic Traveller, New Yorker, Economist
  8. Buy an antique map of Paris and frame it (looked but didn’t find one I liked enough… next trip the hunt will continue!)
  9. Buy a new DSLR upgrade
  10. Find and buy one pair of killer jeans

Health (15/101)

  1. Run/Participate in a 5k, 10k, and half marathon
  2. Participate in an olympic distance triathalon
  3. 30 day trial… bikram yoga 3 times a week
  4. Visit a nutritionist/naturopath
  5. Do a master body cleansing/fast/colonic

Travel (31/101)

  1. Rent a beach house for a getaway
  2. Go surfing in Costa Rica or Hawaii
  3. Visit 3 national parks (i.e. Antelope Canyon, Grand Canyon, Muir Woods, Yosemite, Moab, The Arches, Grand Tetons)
  4. Take a working vacation at a winery in the south of France
  5. Play in the tulips in Netherlands and Skagit Valley
  6. Visit 10 friends (Visited more than 10 friends in Paris and one in Copenhagen, but I am only going to count it as one… Nine more to go!)
  7. Rent a convertible and go on a road trip
  8. Do an Ashram in India or Bali
  9. Camp out in Wadi Rum
  10. Climb up Macchu Picchu (Will be booking my tickets for June in April- who said turning 31 wasn’t going to be fun??)
  11. Visit a buddhist temple
  12. Watch an opera at La Scala and a ballet at Opera Garnier
  13. See the northern lights in Iceland
  14. Go to Ireland
  15. Go on a crazy Thelma Louise girls trip
  16. Stay in a luxurious 5 star hotel

Finance (42/101)

  1. Work to better credit score (by 50-100 points)
  2. Contribute at least 50% of max out to my Roth IRA annually (approx. $2000-2500) (I have the money set aside but it will be contributed in the beginning of April)
  3. Create, maintain and track my budget for one year (Submitted my medical reimbursements, shipping reimbursements in April… and while not budgeting have lived within the paycheck limitations and am working to rebalance all the accounts)
  4. Pay off all credit cards and maintain zero balances (Ummm financial flows going buckwild for the next 2 months- so I am giving myself a bit of reprieve)
  5. Save $5 for 1001 days (YUP)
  6. Do my taxes annually (2007 done, to be revised once more next month and sent in on the 1st of April)
  7. Invest in retirement and net worth (10% of income)
  8. Pay off 50% of remaining student loans (“High” interest student loan officially now paid OFF, next “High-ish” interest rate loan is set to be paid off in a few months)
  9. Invest in socially responsible mutual funds (2% of income)
  10. Get a major credit card: use and pay of in full monthly
  11. Save $10000 towards a major investment (purchase of property etc) (Created the Investment account)

Learning (53/101)

  1. Take a photography course on light and flash
  2. Learn how to fly the trapeze (I found courses, I am going to do silks first and wait for it to warm up but this… it is sooooooo on! This is what I might just be doing on the day of my 31st birthday!)
  3. Take an intensive Spanish language course in Spain
  4. Get my a scuba diving certification
  5. Learn how to drive a Vespa
  6. Take a wine tasting course
  7. Learn how to dye yarn
  8. Learn more about buddhism
  9. Research travel photography and writing (Bought a reference book on travel writing that I need to read now 🙂
  10. Take skiing lessons in the alps
  11. Learn 5 Photoshop tricks

Reading (59/101)

  1. Go to 3 book readings
  2. Read 6 classics and 5 works pre- 1950
  3. Read a banned book, a booker book, a pulitzer prize book
  4. Read the Tao Te Ching
  5. Read 3 biographies per year (Finished Ms. Parker- one down for this year two to go)
  6. Enter all my books into Library Thing

Creativity (69/101)

  1. Design my blog (Working on finalising the banner font as I type)
  2. Do a photographic travel/documentary project
  3. Knit three sweaters for myself (Sweater #1: Finished the sleeves, and the back, this weekend I will probably start a front)
  4. Document all my yarn stash (when that one box from Paris gets here… the accounting will be had!)
  5. Print 10 of my photos for framing and hanging
  6. Keep a film and book list
  7. Sell 5 photos
  8. Participate in Sunday scribbles
  9. Go to the cinema once a month
  10. Make a quotes book

Gastronomy (74/101)

  1. Go berry picking
  2. Eat at 12 new restaurants- one three star
  3. Try one new recipe a month
  4. Throw a dinner party for 8 friends
  5. Try 6 new foods and 6 foods I “dont like” (I tried tofu, had never tried it before and it was eh- 5 new foods left to go)

Career (77/101)

  1. Take GRE Course and Exam (1350 score goal)
  2. Apply to 10 PhD programmes
  3. Work on creating a career path

Do (101/101)

  1. Go galopping on a horse out in the free range
  2. Participate in some volunteer/public service project (maybe dealing with sexual health or at a soup kitchen)
  3. Go canoeing in Central Park
  4. Watch one classic movie per month
  5. Go to a live music festival
  6. Go to Shakespeare in the Park (saw Macbeth at BAM- really really good though!)
  7. Meditate for 5 minutes 3 times a week
  8. Purge my wardrobe (of at least 30%) (does getting rid of 30% of the clothes I had in the box in storage count?? 🙂
  9. Attend a meditation retreat (5+ days)
  10. Go snowshoeing
  11. Get rid of 101 things
  12. Consolidate and reduce my storage needs and use
  13. Go to the HCB museum in Paris (GRRRR Next time I am in town their hours will not confound me!!)
  14. Reduce my carbon footprint (by 10-20%)
  15. Donate “one meal out” per month to a Food Bank
  16. Spend 5 minutes daily in total silence and inactivity for a month
  17. Visit my grandmother and father’s graves and take flowers
  18. Go to an outdoor movie
  19. Live in a new city in 1001 days
  20. Hang my mirror, shelves and frames
  21. Trace my Irish geneology
  22. See a broadway play (well I saw a play at Bam but that doesn’t really count, still it was Patrick Stewart as Macbeth and was very good!)
  23. Preserve my family photos
  24. Go to a museum once every other month (I went to the Glypotek in Copenhagen, and the Round Tower if you consider that a museum too 🙂

And this is a knit blog. Thanks to the glory of Scout (really can I tell you how much I love her- oh let me count the ways :)) I am no longer in the knitting Ice Age. I have joined the real world of grown up knitters.
I haz ball winder and Iz not fraids to use it…

yarn cakes

See those nice little uneven cakes of soft pretty alpaca yarn… Let’s all clap for them, they took me long enough to wind. Next on my path to enlightenment (aka being a real big girl knitter) get a freaking swift! Though I have to admit the roommate swiveling her hips around to untangle the skein and keep a winding rhythm was entertaining. But they, they are going to become a sweater. There will be knitting on this blog! And in the not so very far future a photo of a sweater I predict. Well at least knitted bits of a sweater… we all know how I am with that whole FINISHING stuff. Nope no questions here, I am a process knitter!

Yes… of all things not only am I knitting, but I am making a sweater! Watch out the lightning might strike and smite us all 🙂 Indeed. Back at the end of January I finally got futzed enough to say “yes I go gather yarn, hand-wind it into ball I can throw at people and I knit sweater. *grunt*” You know like the good cavewoman I was. That simple sounding step took enough of an internal debate as I am currently in a life wide funk known as Indecision Central or WHAT THE HELL DO I WANT?? I don’t know… Do I want grey? I don’t know. Do I want claret? I don’t know. Do I want neon yellow? I … wait I do know- no I do not want neon yellow. Thus with my impetuous impulsivity, I decided I will go with a peacock teal-ish colour instead. Nothing screams spring like a jewel tone colour you know.

texture

Then it took me and Google harvesting the powers of evil for good old fashioned internet research. Seriously, what the hell is this I live in NYC and I couldn’t find a store with the Berrocco Ultra Alpaca yarn in stock?? I like to touch the yarn and see the colour if possible before investing in a sweater worth- call me old fashioned. Oh internets again let me declare how I loves thee. I cannot heap enough praises on the Yarn and Fiber Company. When I wanted to “test” out the Berrocco Ultra Alpaca for the Minimalist Cardigan, they not only had the yarn, competitively priced and in the colour I wanted but also… they sent it with free shipping, even for one skein (but also for the additional five I got to make the sweater more than an indecently proposed sleeve). SCORE! I love you, hug you and call you GEORGE!

Sleeves

Even better at this point, I swatched a sleeve, actually I have both sleeves done and the back half way done as well. This was followed by the realisation that it would have been smarter to knit the fronts and backs as one unwieldy piece as seaming moss stitch is not exactly a favorite pastime of mine. Eh. Smart never claimed to reside here. An aside… photographing two sleeves is a definite challenge. Really how interesting can you make it look? Silvia managed to have an Orchid that helped. Me I only had the anemic jade plant… I so obviously lost that battle. Anyways, since I have travel going on (am back in Paris and Copenhagen this weekend, and before you get jealous Paris is for storage unit clearance action, and Copenhagen is to visit the best friend) I might just finish this sweater before spring if I am a good and dedicated girl.

That said I don’t know how this sweater is going to work out on me. It could be a bit boxy on me. Being the petite linebacker I am, that could make me look like I am GOING WIDE. And I am a bad swatcher as I haven’t gotten the sleeve wet to see if it is going to expand in gigonormous proportions… Life on the edge- I is living it!

Next up… the fronts let us see if I can get them cast on before I leave the RIGHT side of the pond 🙂 Until then let us all ponder upon the beauty of my one perfectly wound yummy yarn cake!

perfection