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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

visual aids

Home. So tired.

I didn't take a lot of photos, but here are a few:

One of our only photos together; I need to be more aggressive about asking people to take our picture!

This is Homie, who lived at our hotel. We called her Dutch Gracie.

Dennis facing off with statues

The stairs at our hotel; Dennis provided for scale

The last days in Amsterdam were very fun, and involved tons of walking, so our feet are completely trashed. We visited the Cat-Boat, which was an excellent kitty-petting opportunity.

The trip home was pretty painless, and we were greeted with great enthusiasm by Gracie. She was so happy to see us, and we were treated to TurboPurr for hours. Dennis' mom came by a couple times a day to fill up her bowls and give her some love, so she wasn't exactly neglected. Grandma apparently bought out Petco, too, since there are plenty of new toys here, and we have seen some very cute Gracie frolic action.

One thing we learned is that you really shouldn't leave the iPod charger in the car plugged in for a week. Because it will drain your battery, and your car won't start. Sigh. I had no idea. I had to get it jumped, and was very grateful that we have towing coverage and my airhead move didn't cost us anything.

I have a bit of an airplane-induced cold, so I can't go visit Nathan and wish him a happy three-week birthday. I am bitter about this, since I need a baby fix.

More later, when my body figures out what day it is.

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Saturday, March 25, 2006

New plan

We're just not coming home. We're going to stay here.

I wish, anyway. I'm so in love with this city.

We are in a cafe right now taking a break, because we walked all over the place this morning. We hit a couple of flea markets, which weren't exactly close together, and walked through some neighborhoods we hadn't seen yet.

We got drenched last night on our way back from the Crowes @ the Paridiso; when we got back to the hotel we draped our wet things on any available surface or hook we could find, so our room didn't look all that different from some of the booths at the flea market. My hair was damp when I went to sleep last night and I woke up with an amazing fright wig look. We had a little rain today, and tomorrow might be more rain. So we're not really making plans and clinging to them all that tightly, but we're having a great time. I don't think we're going to end up doing half of the museums and cultural activities we planned while we were checking out guidebooks, but that stuff became less important pretty quickly. I'm feeling very relaxed and peaceful and I'm with Dennis and pretty much anything is fun when we're together.

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

I'm from the future

It's weird being so far ahead of the time curve. We are many, many hours ahead of the US.

Very slow day today; apparently I got up and had breakfast (my favorite thing about breakfast at our hotel is the loaf of bread and toaster on the table, so I can just sit there and eat toast and Nutella) and then went back to bed and finally got up around 1:00. I am fully embracing the laziness aspect of vacation.

Dennis had to go do writer-boy stuff today, so I've had most of the day to poke around stores and wander. The one yarn store here blows; nothing but Rowan and the selection at home is better and cheaper. This is probably ok given how much yarn I already own, but it would have been fun to find something unusual and fabulous. I did find the shop all by myself, though.

My primary shoes died here, much to my annoyance, so I went to the Dutch equivalent of Payless today and got some cute green suede sneakers. I also went to the Rite-Aid equivalent and got giant bandaids to deal with the gianormous blister caused by the death of my other shoes. Stupid feet.

Now I'm going back to Ralphs Asian Wonderfood to grab some dinner. We've eaten there pretty much every day. They call it Piggy Perfect because it is.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

just plain happy

I freaking love Amsterdam.

We've been here for over 24 hours now and I'm totally in love. We've just been walking around the streets today, and limping slightly every so often in my case, because I don't really have my cobblestone legs yet and I keep stumbling and wrenching my ankles. A sit-down in the nearest cafe with a Coke Light seems to help. Coke Light is not to be confused in any way with that which we know as Diet Coke.

Tacky Dutch souvenirs reach a level of sublime wrongness that most places can only dream of. I am tempted by the ceramic salt & pepper shakers which are shaped like penises and have ersatz blue delft windmills on them. But my mom's birthday isn't for several months, so maybe not.

Plus, of course I'm holding out for the Last Supper painted on a wooden shoe.

Went to see Syriana today, because movies here are shown in English and subtitled in Dutch, and our last attempt to see Syriana at home failed because the sound and projection were awful. If you've seen the movie, you may have guessed the problem today...big chunks of the dialogue are in other languages, and therefore are subtitled. Now in Dutch! Duh.

I made a whole bunch of progress on my Rogue sleeve on the plane, but it turns out that reading really IS fundamental, especially when it tells you how many stitches to increase on the increase rows. Had I actually read it yesterday and not assumed I just remembered it, I would not be short 20 stitches after finishing the cable panel. Sigh. Guess that was the practice run. It looks great, though. I haven't found an internet cafe where I can upload photos off my memory card, but when I do I will post a photo because the cable looks great. In its tiny, tiny little sleeve.

We took a canal boat tour last night. The boat wasn't very full, so we amused ourselves by whispering additional commentary to the very very serious narration recording on the boat. The man who did the English version really sounded like he was reporting horrible news on local TV, not saying that a certain mansion was now a museum. Every little blurb really needed to end with, "...and there were no survivors," to match the tone.

Going back to the hotel now to rest for a bit and then get into something warmer for the evening excursions.

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Sunday, March 19, 2006

Kureyon My Wayward Son: recent knitting

Yesterday I knit both of us hats for our trip.

Dennis' hat is Basic Cable from Stitch n Bitch Nation in Kureyon. Mine is a variation that I came up with because I really wanted to use that particular cable. It's 2 strands of elann.com's Baby Cashmere.

And here is the other project I finished last week. It's a sweater for Dennis. Who isn't wearing it because it doesn't actually fit him.

Shown here unblocked, because there isn't time to do that before the trip and I'm just a rebel and I'm no good and I'm wearing it anyway.

Yeah. I originally knit this Kureyon yarn back in November/December, into a Dennis sweater which turned out to be entirely too big for him (Hello, I'm Correct Gauge, and I'll be kicking your ass on this project) so I unraveled it and reclaimed it (skipping really boring part here about making hanks and soaking them and drying them) and started knitting a different pattern, thinking that a cardigan would be fun. And I kept a very close eye on the body circumference, to be sure it wasn't growing out of control. Should have paid attention to the shoulders, though. Dennis has big shoulders. The sweater doesn't.

Guess I've knit myself a sweater now after all. I do really like it, and it's going to be great for Amsterdam. I especially like the two-way zipper. I tied red and black beads to the top zipper pull.

See, but why should I make stuff for myself when other people make it look sooo cute?

That's a 10-day-old Nathan in a blanket I knit for him. It's a really simple bias blanket, but he knows how to work it.

Gracie was obsessed with my sweater as I was knitting it, and would make sweet sweet love to it whenever I let her, so I used some of the leftover yarn to make a little Kureyon mini-blankie that she can knead and suck on as much as she wants to. Whch is apparently a lot, although now that I have actual batteries in the camera, she doesn't want to do it.

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Saturday, March 18, 2006


I'm starting to pack for the trip, just making piles here and there, and I've determined that the bra I caught Tom Servo trying to run off with last month has in fact gone missing. It really is nowhere to be found. Just my luck to get a roomba with Magpie technology. I wonder what other shiny things and/or underwear he has stashed in his nest. Next thing you know, it will be cockfighting.

I hope by the time Nathan is old enough to command a robot army, they have learned how to behave a bit better. Or at least that there is a Protocol Droid around to keep them in line.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2006


The last week has been such a blur. Well, probably not as big of a blur as it has been for Nathan's parents, but still a blur. I get to go over to see him tonight and celebrate his first week of life and hopefully get to play with his little feet. Which are actually pretty big for baby feet, since he's kind of a big guy, but by any objective scale, they're very tiny.

We leave for Amsterdam in less than a week, which adds that extra bit of drama to everything I need to get done between now and when we get on the plane.

A cool thing happening soon is the release of the Black Crowes' Freak & Roll DVD, which features liner notes by this Dennis guy I know. Oh, wait, I'm married to him. So that's pretty freaking sweet and of course his fee is helping to underwrite the massively irresponsible trip we're about to take.

It just feels so self-indulgent to be heading off to Europe for no other reason than to have fun. And during Lent! But it's probably the last chance we'll have for a long while to travel like dirty hippies and stay in cheap funky hotels with shared bathrooms and sleep late, since we hope to have a baby before too long and they aren't really into that sort of thing. Shall I continue my litany of justification or is it as boring to you as it is to everyone around me?

I'm taking a challenging knitting project with me, since I have 11 hours of plane time to kill each way. I'm doing the Rogue sweater. It's easily the hardest thing I've ever tried, and here's the real shocker - it's actually for me. First thing I've knit for myself. I'm doing it as a cardigan in dark green Jaeger shetland I got cheap from England off ebay. I'm also taking a simpler lace project in case the cables make me crazy, the scarf from the new issue of Interweave Knits. But I've already cast on a sleeve of the Rogue and I'm well into the cable part, so go me. I'm starting with the sleeve instead of the body so that I can make my stupid learning curve mistakes on a smaller scale.

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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

welcome, Nathan!

So, what did you do at 4:45 this morning? Ryan had a baby!

Nathan Clark took his time getting here, which gave him time to grow to 8 pounds, 5 ounces, and a full 21" of cute. He's just perfect, and his parents are amazing and he doesn't know it yet, but he is one seriously blessed little boy.

Today is going to be a good day to embrace coffee, I think.

[edit - photo!]

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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Amazing Gracie

How long do you suppose that nice neat stack of CDs looked like that? Hint: not very long.

As long as I'm posting photos, here's the shawl I finished last week:

The yarn is Elegance by KnitPicks (6 balls, DK weight alpaca/silk) on size 8 needles. Finished size is about 32 inches at the center, a little over 5 feet wide. The pattern called for a lighter yarn, but I wanted it be more substantial so the yarn was perfect. This is 122 rows before the edging. The pattern is really easy so I know I'll make it again. It took me a little over a week, but I had a lot of time to knit so the next one will probably take a bit longer.

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thought for the day

Dennis, after being sucked into a neighbor's drama:

You can't just not help people. Well, you can, but then you're just another one of those assholes.

Christ has no body on earth but ours, no hands but ours, no feet but ours. Ours are the eyes through which the compassion of Christ looks out upon the world, ours are the feet with which he goes about doing good, ours are the hands with which he blesses his people. [St. Teresa of Avila]

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