Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Personal grooming on the subway. Necessary? Really?

I have a few hang ups about the subway-- the most obvious one is a distaste for hands/germs. I don't want to touch anything, and I CERTAINLY don't want anyone to touch me. There are a few particularly distasteful scenarios which involve fake nails touching me, or people accidentally grabbing my hand when reaching for the center pole.

I also categorically do not hold on to the railing on the stairways, though I do like to lean on them for balance, which I imagine makes me look like an amputee or an elderly person, since my "hands-free" technique involves sliding my forearm up or down the banister-- I'm tall enough for this to require a severe diagonal bend at the waist. I would go so far as to say that it distorts me to the point of quasi-quasimodo-dom.

A few times Drake has made the terrible mistake of trying to hold hands with me on the subway. I squirm and writhe as if I had just unwittingly submerged my hand into a vat of monkey brains or something. Not even his hands are safe since I know he takes no precautions whatsoever insofar as avoiding touching things in the subway.

I haven't always been like this... not even since I lived in NYC-- I think it all started with the chicken bone incident of 08. I've been doing rather well this winter since most people are required to/choose to wear gloves, and I was beginning not to worry so much until I sat next to someone yesterday who plucked her eyebrows all the way across Manhattan on the L. Really? Must you remove dead bits of yourself and scatter them to the wind in an enclosed space? I find makeup application on the train slightly questionable (again, ANYTHING could get on your hands in the subway, and then you're touching your face... bleh) but that's your own life you're taking into your hands. You are applying things TO your face, not removing things FROM your face and letting them fly about on to other passengers.

I wasn't able to track what she was doing with the eyebrows, so I have to assume that several landed on me. Why does this bother me?

1. I don't like to have such easy access to other people's DNA-- I'm not so sure that I've earned strangers' trust not to misuse it.

2. I've decided that people who pluck their eyebrows in public are in the category of compulsive-eyebrow-pluckers. You know, the ones with the tiniest threads of eyebrows who look like malformed factory versions of grown doll babies.

3. I wish that people would shed and groom themselves at home. At home where I don't have to watch and then come up with terrible things to say about the perils of public over-plucking to "make peace" with being unwittingly covered with dead bits of you on my evening commute.

Also, why is the woman in this vintage mag ad wearing what appears to be a carnation/parsley arrangement on her head? Love it. clean hands too...

Tiny feet

Originally uploaded by Alta Marie
My friend is having a baby soon and I made these this weekend, and sewed on the buttons last night! It's hard to imagine such tiny feet. The pattern is "Saarjte's Baby Bootees" (sic) very lovely and an easy/quick knit.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Tonight I cast on with this. I am beyond thrilled and will post regular updates on my first Baby Surprise Jacket.

Will someone please do an EZ (Elizabeth Zimmermann) Knitters Almanac knit-along with me one year? We could start now if we're fast with the February Baby sweater on two needles (or the coveted Lady Sweater adaptation....

Why is it still freezing?? I blame YOU, groundhog...

Turn a Square
Originally uploaded by Alta Marie
Today we had a safety incident. We encountered a trash tornado on the sidewalk in Tribeca, and Drake couldn't decide whether his chivalry would be better applied to keeping me on his right (away from traffic) or on his left (away from trash tornado). In the end he decided to stick with protecting me from traffic. I did, however, fear that I would be beaned with a Whopper box.

I don't know that I've ever actually seen such a thing! literally there was a whirling column of trash on the sidewalk... stacked by weight. Swirling around on the ground was a full bag of trash, then slightly above were the whopper boxes and such, topped by the lightest items like napkins and leaves.

I felt like one of those weather chasers getting so close to it and all.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Looking for the next project....

Men's Clock Socks
Originally uploaded by Buhnuh
Don't those socks look marvelous?
I've been poking about the internets looking for some vintage patterns to work on after Kavi's Baby Surprise Jacket... There's something about vintage sock patterns that has been catching my eye. I may just have to pony up and buy Nancy Bush's book on knitting vintage socks .

Vintage Purls has a bunch of great women's sweater patterns. But there's another baby to knit for too!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Alta needs...

Originally uploaded by Alta Marie
My dear friend MoMP posted a lovely meme today wherein you type your name followed by the word "needs" (i.e. Alta needs) into Google and post verbatim the first 10 hits- which for me are as follows:

1. Alta needs to go overtime to avoid historic loss
(I work enough. If I'm to suffer an historic loss, let be it done unto me.)
2. Alta needs a rally to down Beetdiggers.
(I never liked beets...)
3.Alta needs more income-based apartments due to the fact of incomes here are becoming lower and bills are becoming higher.
4. Alta needs to get tougher on oilfield gas emissions
5. Alta needs help to replace its ski chalet.
(Please, people, think of the ski chalet!)
6. Alta needs more touches such as these.
(brilliant. just brilliant)
7. Alta needs to decide if the Estate can use the Town’s sewer system.
(it's unfortunate that my name is so highly linked to banal real-estate-ish items)
8. Alta needs some tags. Everyone benefits!
9. Alta needs elite wins
10. ALTA needs to help energize communities
(c'mon people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together try to love one another right nowww....;)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sundara yarn will finally be mine (in May...)

This woman has it figured out. She has the most beautiful yarn I've ever seen depicted in hanks and finished projects on the internet. I have been desperately trying to obtain some of this yarn for my very own, but she usually offers only three colorways per month and since December I've been waiting for the perfect colors. In February she launched "The Crusade Against Winter Gloom" and every other day she put up limited edition colorways at different times. After 3 failed attempts at acquiring yarn in February, I literally set an alarm for 1 am in a last-ditch attempt to get there in time to actually purchase the yarn. Still failed. you had to have been the the speediest typer with the speediest internet connection in the world to even have a shot at this stuff. Drake will testify that I spent most of February in the depths of despair. My only ray of hope was when Katie got some of the silk lace yarn... I actually knew someone who bought this yarn! All was not lost!

So today she started the new March sales: "Flowers from my mother's garden" and it's mine! all mine! 2 Skeins of Poppy (the middle one, though truthfully, I love all three.) Unfortunately I have to wait till May for it to be shipped, but I don't mind. I know it will arrive sooner than I think and that one fine day when this arrives on my doorstep, I will be happy indeed....

Catch-up time!

So this weekend went really well. Pictures are prohibited in the entirety of Carnegie Hall which broke my heart a great deal. A couple times during the week there was a photographer who came in ad I saw him in the back during the performance, hiding under a giant black mantle all old-timey style. I'm hoping that I'll be able to swing acquisition of a picture or two. Obviously I'll share.

Many things! Here are some of the lovely flowers Drake gave me for V-day/Carnegie hall day :) they were lovely. He gave me some at home and then had some waiting at the Stage Door too, which was really lovely. The concert went well-- two days before the soprano canceled and they brought in Heidi Grant Murphy, with whom I did a Master Class about 10 years ago. During the dress rehearsal, I reminded her of this and then we both felt old. Then, on the day of the concert, the tenor had to cancel due to illness and they brought in a new tenor, Nicholas Phan, to sing it that night point blank! no rehearsal. He had done The Creation before, but in English, not German. He was really quite excellent.

An exciting week, all in all! Although, I am looking forward to a day off tomorrow to catch up on a bit of photo processing and knitting.

Kavi's Baby Surprise Jacket

One of my very dear friends just had a baby, which is of course a wonderful occasion to knit something, don't you think?
Here's a sneak peak at what will soon become a Baby Surprise Jacket. I cannot WAIT to cast on for this one....

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

World's Tiniest Solo at Carnegie Hall :)

Just found out that I'll be singing the Alto Solo in The Creation this weekend at Carnegie Hall, which is of course exciting. It literally is a total of four measures in a quartet, but heck, it's Carnegie Hall and Helmuth Rilling, so I'm thrilled.

It's been a fun week, and a totally different way of using my voice. I haven't sung a lot of choral music lately, so it's been fun to freshen up on that skill set. It can be very very different from opera, and definitely is in this case. It makes me want to dust off my volumes of Schubert and Brahms and rework some of the German pieces that I haven't sung in 10 years since German Camp.

Ah German Camp, the hallowed halls of Middlebury College where we all signed a pledge to speak only German for 8 weeks one lovely summer... 4 hours of grammar and between 1-4 of music each day, and voice lessons in German. All I remember from my first lesson is the idea of "Flugzeug Ohren" (airplane ears...) My teacher, of course, had to mime it for me as my terminology on day one was shoddy.... and Flugzeug was not on our vocab list.

Quick morning update

Drake and I are currently in a workshop at Carnegie Hall, and it's great fun. It's like vacation week for us. We start rehearsals at 10 am and don't finish up until 9 pm, hence my general absence from blogging. At night we come home and watch Big Love (we're now on Season Two) and talk about what a very bad idea "plural marriage" would be in our particular case. (And most cases, let's be frank.)

So we spend the day at Carnegie Hall, lunch in Central Park, get dinner out somewhere in midtown, sometimes practice a bit on the dinner hour or for instance get Thai food with Ashley, and then rehearse some more! It's fun, and I am coming to appreciate Haydn's Creation. Also, sometimes I work on my sock, although when they voiced us, they put me right in the front, so there's no knitting for me during rehearsals. just during master classes and such where I can hide...

Had three great sessions this week, and I can't wait to post some pictures from that. I have a new lens that is AWESOME! and! my brother Joe came out to be my assistant on the last one and I now realize that I can't possibly shoot with out him, so hopefully he will be available for all of my shoots and not be too terribly bored with holding lights and reflectors (and cooking eggs-- he cooked us egg sandwiches)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Many Great Ideas!

I am full of them today. I think while I was sick I was storing up all of my joy but didn't know it until just right now. Several wonderful things are happening this weekend:

1. Three photo-shoots (which leads me to...)

2. New lens audition! (it's my first L series try-out for any Canon-philes out there. I rented it from Adorama and Drake picked it up today at lunch and I shall shoot with it all week long!

3. Crafty things! I am working on Sock 2 of Pair 2, and can't wait to begin a tiny baby surprise jacket for Anjali's new baby! Must somehow trick Drake into walking by a yarn store tonight on our way to....

4. Dinner with Josh and Erin at the Risoterria! I've never heard of such a thing, but it sounds creamy and delicious, doesn't it?

5. Perhaps crafting some sort of genuinely sweet Valentine? By this I mean that lately, since I've been feeling better, I've kind of been making fun of Drake. Goodnatured-ly naturally, but nonetheless, I have been breathless with laughter a couple of times the last few days and I think out of the corner of my eye, or then again in plain sight I saw his disbelief/squinty-eyed-headshaking. This Valentine will have no jokes, it will be just very sweet to all appearances.

6. Workshop at Carnegie Hall with Maestro Helmuth Rilling! We're working on Haydn's Creation and perform it on Valentine's Day Night. (which thwarted Drake's secret plan to whisk me away to surprise Valentine's Dinner at the Monkey Room in W'burg. curses! I wonder if they have real monkeys there... if so, then perhaps we should reconsider this Carnegie Hall gig....)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

It wasn't a bad reaction to working out. It was Strep Throat

Yes. Every singer's worst nightmare. That's what I had. I started feeling faint-y on Sunday but part of me felt that maybe I was feeling that way because we were singing Purcell in Dec and Can-- which means the 8 of us were split into two groups of four, which maent we were one on a part instead of two. This always makes me slightly anxious when I haven't had a chance to rehearse.

So on Sunday my general malaise and faintiness was attributed to 1. working out and 2. Purcell. There were a couple close calls. I came very close to fainting during the final hymn. Monday morning I wasn't entirely well, and by Monday afternoon I seriously considered that I might curl up on the fainting couch in the ladies rest room at work. (yes we have one. I wonder what men have in their rest rooms?)

Tuesday I was entirely unwell, and stayed home from work. I went to meet my new Doctor at HelloHealth here in Williamsburg. A wonderful thing, this HelloHealth! I arrived at the office, and my Doctor was sitting there at the front desk-- he was the only one there. I arrived early thinking that I'd have to fill out a million forms (even though I had filled out my online profile) but no! He finished up a call with a patient and we started my appointment early! Then, after he determined that I had strep throat, he went into their mini pharmacy and just gave me the medicine. So I was in and out in a half hour, and left with my medicine in hand. I cannot recommend this highly enough.

I was advised to take 2 full days of antibiotics before returning to work and so I did. Day 1 was miserable and consisted of changing a million times into warmer and cooler lounge clothes, napping, making soup, and trying not to swallow since it hurt so much. Day 2 was much more enjoyable (comparatively) and I finished Sock 1 of Pair 2. I love it. Maureen gave me the sock yarn for my Birthday, and Katie suggested the pattern. It's Monkey by Cookie A. and is available for free. A lovely pattern, and my first attempt at lace work. I am pleased. Sock 2 now travels with me and will be completed anon.

Movies I watched (or slept to) while infirm:
1. Catch and Release
2. A Room with a View
3. Wayne's World
4. Being Julia
5. A Prairie Home Companion
6. The Notorious Bettie Page
7. Little Miss Sunshine (again)

Monday, February 2, 2009

I don't want to talk.

Originally uploaded by Alta Marie
My glands are swollen. It's bad and I'm miserable. All I want to do is sit at home and knit socks. Drake says that it could be because I started working out again.

Have you ever been to an aerobics class, blog? They're strange aren't they? In this particular one we just jumped all around for an hour. There were many times that I was tired and I thought I'd better stop jumping for a while, but then I thought to myself "What would the contestants on the Biggest Loser do? Would they stop? NO! they would jump themselves all over the place and then wake up the next day and do it again!!" I woke up the next day with temporary paralysis and swollen glands.

I've been trying to order yarn from Sundara Yarns for a while now, and I'm beginning to think that I'll never get any. She only does limited editions, and the moment she releases them, they're gone. Yesterday I missed out on several wonderful colorways due to an Evensong at Grace Church. I was singing Purcell and knitters all over North America were snatching up all my yarn.

She has another release tomorrow at 1pm PDT. Now I just have to find out when that is here. I never know when there is Daylight Savings time involved and such. I am going to set an alarm, and heaven help me, I will have yarn tomorrow. (Actually I will not have it till a month or two from now even if I am able to purchase it tomorrow) I have never seen such beautiful, silky, lovely and elusive yarn. I feel like I'm some Jane Austen novel. In case you're wondering, this is what I shall make with it: from the wonderful BrooklynTweed

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The 25 Things that you might not know about me thing from Facebook

I tried not to include anything that you may have already read here...

1. I doubt that I'll list anything here that you all haven't heard before, my life is kind of an open book due to my blog: http://texification.blogspot.com

2. I pick onions and celery out of most things (we share that Jami). I do, however cook with them. Usually though, I puree them.

3. I accidentally found out about the holocaust too young and lived in constant fear of Nazis putting me in our oven. Fortunately (?) mom told me that they didn't burn musicians, which if you ask me, is a sneaky way to get someone to practice the piano....

4. I called 911 once at a babysitting job and hung up quickly, just so that I could have it on speed dial. Then when the police came, I told them that the kids must have done it.

5. I found a dead dog in the chicken coop once, and that's the excuse I used for never feeding the chickens.

6. I sincerely believed that chocolate was dog poop, until my sisters Bridget Dawn and Anne forced me to eat an ice cream sandwich at the beach once (mom warned me that they would try to trick me into eating it just to see the look on my face.)

7. I have a wall in our tiny apartment that is devoted to other people's ancestors. It's old pictures of people that I found interesting. It creeps Drake out, and so I volunteered to take down the picture of the "mongoloid" (I SWEAR that's how it's labeled)

8. When I was little I would frequently choreograph dances to popular songs, such as "Kokomo" and Billy Joel's "Runnin on Ice." Naturally, Kokomo consisted of labeling different parts of the room and then running over to them when the Beach Boys called them out in the song, and Runnin on Ice, was mainly slipping and falling down.

9. I had a moderate to severe Massachusetts accent, which was beaten out of me in prep school. After that, I can't tell you how many people ask me if I'm Irish, as in from Ireland because of my "accent"

10. When I was abroad in Paris in 1998, more than 10 people stopped me on the street to ask me if I was Monica Lewinsky

11. In 8th Grade my friend Brooke and I were co-editors of the Venerini Academy "news wall" (Catholic School.) We were pulled aside and chastised by the principal for publishing a weekly comic strip entitled "The Adventures of Man-Fetus"

12. Speaking of fetuses, I found a fetus in formeldahyde in the Biology lab on my first day of high-school. That's how I met Cam and Jason (hi!) There are strange strange things in those hallowed halls

13. I ate a lot of Easter candy one year (well every year, but bear with me) because "I was saving the wrappers to use in a stained glass project."

14. I completed a tri-athlon

15. I sing Verdi when I'm sure that no one is listening (for non-singers, it's big rep, and I still think that someone's going to bust into my practice room and slap my hand for daring)

16. Dear God, 25 things is a lot.... diggin deep.... OK. In 5th grade I spearheaded an April Fools trick wherein Danielle was to pretend she cracked her head open in the bathroom, and was unconscious. That did not go over well.

17. Also in 5th grade, Brooke and I managed to work the Swedish Chef into our presentation on Kentucky (because the capitol was Frankfurt, and the chef was cooking Frankfurters)

18. Also in 5th grade, I broke my hand in a cheerleading competition. (It was a big year, and I was profoundly awkward.

19. Once I ate a whole carton of Twinkies while at my Aunt Denise's house because she said I could have as many as I wanted. I've never even glanced at a Twinkie sideways since.

20. When I was little, I wanted to be a singer photographer or marine bioligist. With Marine Biologist being thrown in so as to appear "legit"

21. Once I lied to my mom and told her that I had a project due on Monday on Humpback Whales, so that she would buy me clay to make one for the "3D Element." I lied mom, there was no project due. I just liked whales, and liked to present projects.

22. Once my mom lied when I actually did have a project due on Monday on Meteorites. It did require a 3D object, and mom got a big rock from the driveway and told me she saw it fall from the sky and hit our driveway the night before.

23. I hate strategy board games. I would rather run a marathon than play Risk, Stratego, and especially Settlers of Kattan.

24. When I was young, I always wished that mom named me Sylvia or Crystal (cause they were both shiny.)

25. I've written several stand-up routines and have them archived on a disc called "Chemistry Labs" so that no one will think to look there and sneak read them behind my back.