Friday, April 28, 2006

Do-over almost done

Do-over

This is a picture from earlier this week, so tonight the sleeves are much farther along. Though now, I'm starting to worry that I might not have enough yarn to finish... and of course when I mention to Max we might need to go to the store to get more, he asks, "Do you think they'll have it?"

Nice.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

German words I learned (or knew) on the trip

Apfel (Apple)
Biere (Beer)
Bitte (Please)
Blau (Blue)
Brote (Red)
Coke (Coke)
Danke (Thank you)
Deutch (German)
Döner (Kebab sandwich)
Doppel (Double)
Ein (One)
Eis Creme (Ice cream)
Gesundheit (Bless you/Health)
Guten Tag (Good day)
Haus (House)
Ja (Yes)
Kaffe (Coffee)
Käse (Cheese)
Nicht/Nein (No)
Passportkontrolle (Passport Control)
Stop/Stopp (Stop)
Straße (Street)
Wall (Wall)
Wasser (Water)
Weiss (White)
Wit gaz (Carbonated)
Wurst (Sausage)


Edited to add: Toiletten (Toilets)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

European Fashions

European Fashions to hit the US in 2007 Max Mara, Berlin

In my experience, whatever is in fashion in Europe usually takes a year or so to hit the United States. Styles, colours... doesn't seem to matter. On my honeymoon in Paris, I bought two plum shirt tops. They were so different than anything I had in my waredrobe... about 18 months later, it was all over tha place. Next summer we'll be wearing dresses with stripes and flowers, sneakers with jeans, or high heels with shorts - and it will be cool!

Unfortunately, since it was Easter while I was in Berlin the only piece of clothing I bought is a hoodie sweatshirt from the Pegasus Hostel.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Catching Up

on my blogging... on my emails... on work… on sleep... on Bloglines... on my knitting... well, maybe not totally caught up on any of these things but at least the normal rhythm is coming back. I will need to wean off my dependence of caffeine slowly in the next few weeks. To start, I'm drinking some weak ass American coffee. Mmmm Mmm.

Green Grass Sweater
Over the weekend I finished knitting the front and back. I bound off last night. There are no pictures. Tonight I will cast on the arms and knit these simultaneously. There's still hope that I could finish the sweater by the end of the month (Sunday) but, we'll see.

Exercise
Max and I went to the gym on Saturday and Sunday. It's been awhile since we've done this. And though I gained a little weight on vacation, I'm actually in better shape than when I left. Maybe it was all the walking on so little sleep or maybe it was breathing the thin air (read: smoky). In any case, my workout yesterday was great - a joy. Almost an entire hour at the gym (alot for me) and I still felt great. Now, if only I can keep it up.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Berlin: Part Three of Three

I did not make it down for breakfast on 4/16 and I really wanted to because Jan and Inga were leaving first. Luckily I did manage to pull it together before noon and make it downstairs before they left. Max even saved a little something for me from breakfast. Next Vanessa, Javi and Silla left. It was probably only 2pm but it was time for a nap. Peter was gone when I woke up. The remaining group was in the Game Room in the basement of the Pegasus Hostel playing pool and foosball, drinking and smoking. I was hungry and so I went to the Doner Kebap place for a börek. I had no idea what it was when I was eating it but it was pretty good. Mostly pastry. After I'd finished eating, Darren and I played a game of pool against Hary and Linda. We won! Claudia met us at the hostel at 6pm and we all hung out until 7:30pm when Tilman and Linda left for the airport.

Spinning wheel at a German restaurant in Berlin

For dinner, alot of places were closed since it was Easter Sunday. Ida, Darren, Melissa, Anthony, Claudia, Hary, Max, Vince and I went to a Greek restaurant. I had a semi-sweet white wine (turned out to be a Greek summer wine) and a gyro dish. I had originally ordered lamb cutlets but when it came, it wasn't cutlets but cuts of meat. So I made Darren trade with me. Ida saw an old co-worker at the restaraurant haviing dinner with his girlfriend. We all received complimentary ouzo after the meal. I think Ida was the only one who liked it. Then we went back to the hotel. We sat in the common room and played "who am I?" (Michael Jackson? Jesus Christ? Nicole Kidman? Tiger Woods? Shirley Temple? Mao Zedong?) and a few rounds of Uno. By then it was 3:30am, so we all went to sleep - an early night!

In the morning, Darren, Max and I said good-bye to Ida and Melissa. Max and I went for a walk, hoping that by 11:30am, the other three guys would be awake and ready to go out.

Graffitti in Berlin is everywhere

We passed by a church that had been converted into a kind of concert hall, walked through the cemetary next to it - all the plots were really small and it was very quiet. At 11:30am, we went back to the hostel but only Darren was ready to go out. He had left a note for the guys to meet us later for lunch at 2pm.

The three of us took the subway for the first time sans Germans and headed towards Checkpoint Charlie. Stopped for Starbucks on the way. Was sidetracked by a cool building, which turned out to be the Museum für Kommunikation Berlin (we only went to the gift shop since you had to pay to get in). Made it to Checkpoint Charlie, took some pictures, stood in line for the Museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie but didn't go in because the entrance fee was 9,50 EUR. Instead we went into the giftshop and Darren got a piece of the wall for his brother. We kept on walking, stopped at an ATM (as it turns out, cheaper than changing money at the airport), and went into this awesome chocolate store, Fassbender & Rausch. They had a huge Titanic made out of chocolate in the window. Max and I bought a little chocolate for ourselves and some for Gretchen who was looking after Erin and Brookline while we were gone. My feet were killing me from all the walking and so after we left the store, I began walking very slowly. We passed the Berliner Ostermarsch (couldn't tell if it was a parade or a political rally) on the way to meet Anthony, Hary, and Vince at the Sony Center. Max took a picture of me and Darren outside the Canadian Embassy.

For lunch, we went to Andy's Diner & Bar for lunch. It was one of the few places during the whole trip that was not that smoky. There was only one person in the whole place smoking. It was such a relief! Most of us had hamburgers since all the food on the menu was American anyway. After lunch we walked to the Berlin Jewish Musem. I looked all over for something about knitting but this was the best I could find:

Pigments and writing tools

After we left the museum, we sent a text message to Claudia to meet us back at the hostel at 7:30pm for dinner. We went to Gruss Gott im Alpen-Wirt, a very German restaurant only one block from the hostel. Very good food. Darren and I started bickering across the table (in fun) like brother and sister (according to Hary). Claudia had to leave after dinner and said her good-byes to me and Max. The rest of us stayed for dessert and more beer. We returned to the hostel, played Uno, had some more döner and Turkish pizza around midnight and called it an early night around 2:30am since me Darren, Max and I were leaving in the morning.

On 4/18, I woke up early because of Max's Blackberry. Once we were ready, we stripped the linens (as the hostel requests) and brought them downstairs before we had our breakfast in the cafe. Darren was able to go across the street and get an open-faced egg sandwich from a place that had been closed all weekend for Easter. After breakfast, Hary, Anthony, and Vince were all awake to see us off. Max, Darren, and I took a cab to Tegel around 10:15am. Max and I checked in - the security was a guy named Andrew Hoffmann from British Columbia who checked our passports. We said our good-byes to Darren and went through security - WAY too initimate of a pat-down. Felt like she was rubbing down a horse. Ugh. Had no problems with our flights and we were back in DC on schedule.

Did I miss anything?

Friday, April 21, 2006

Berlin: Part Two

I don't know the German word for two. Where were we? [Checking yesterday's post and the pictures]

On 4/15, most of the group made it down to the cafe for breakfast. Some looking worse for wear than others. I sat with Max, Melissa, and Peter. Very little talking, we just drank our coffee and waited for our brains to wake up.

Waiting in the courtyard of the Pegasus Hostel

We took the subway to Potsdamer Platz. I rode with Darren as his "guest" on his ticket. Not that anyone checked. There's a great group photo on Mattie's camera. After we walked over to the Sony Center, the group split up into smaller groups. I stayed with the "let's sit outside in the sun, relax and have coffee" group... Max, Jan, Inga, Linda, Anthony, Vince, Darren, Hary, Tilman, and Peter. There was Döner. After awhile, we took the subway back to the hostel. I took a nap for a few hours. Anthony and Tilman were playing ping pong in the court yard when I woke up.

For dinner we had Indian. I was a little afraid that, even though I took Zantac before we started eating, my stomach may not be able to handle it. And with 20 other people, I didn't want to be the one person who made everyone else eat somewhere else. At our end of the table, Mattie, Ida, Anthony, and Max decided to order off the menu instead of getting the fixed price menu. We ordered nan, garlic nan, rice (of which I ate alot), tandoori chicken (tried a little and it was not bad), spinach and cheese (seemed too risky to try it), and a duck dish (that was only a little spicy and very tasty). We also had white wine and a mango mixed drink that was good.

After dinner we took the subway to meet Celia at a bar, San Remos. It was the last night the whole group was together. Hary convinced Darren to move to Australia. More pictures were taken. It was very smoky and half the group left around midnight (drinks in hand) to go back to the hostel to drink. It was a very late night, just talking and drinking. Mattie and Tish said their goodbyes since they were leaving in the morning before most people would be awake. It was sad for me seeing the group start to break apart.

To be continued...

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Berlin: Part One/Ein

It's not possible to recap in one post, so consider this a mini-series.

We left on 4/12, met up with Anthony in New York, and the three of us flew to Berlin together. We arrived in the morning on 4/13 and took a taxi from Tegel to the Pegasus Hostel. Right away I noticed the cigarette smoke and everyone smoking everywhere. It was cold too, spring had just barely arrived. Good thing I brought my winter coat.

Linda was already at the hostel, having just arrived minutes earlier from the airport. Darren, Hary, and Vince were already checked in and upstairs asleep. Anthony went to wake them up at 10:30am. We hung out in the common room as more people from our group started to arrive, hugging and talking and the first beers came out at 12:15 (only 2 euro).

Playing Uno at the Pegasus Hostel in Berlin

By 2pm, the Germans (Tilman, Jan, and Inga) had arrived and began to organize us. Our room was on the 5th floor - no elevators. We went out for lunch/dinner to an Italian restaurant. Passed the Berlin Wall on the way there. Claudia met us at the restaurant. Really good food and great service. Vince was in the corner working on his taxes (on his laptop) because he had forgotten that tax day was going to be while he was away. The wait staff was so patient about settling everyone's bill individually. After our lunch/dinner, we went to a bar. Mattie and Vanessa arrived after we had been there for awhile. The smoke burned my eyes and bothered my throat but we stayed until 10:30pm. Max and I went back early while everyone else went to another bar. By the time we went to sleep, we had been up for 36 hours.

The next day we had breakfast in the cafe attached to the hostel. Nothing fancy for 5 euros... bread rolls, sliced cheese, sliced meats, nutella, plain cornflake cereal, plain yogurt, muesli, strong coffee or cappuccino, and orange juice.

After breakfast, we took the subway to the center of Berlin and walked around before splitting up into three smaller groups. Me, Max, Darren, and Anthony headed over to Museum Island. We took pictures, went into two of the museums but only briefly to look around near the entrance and buy a postcard, walked through a marketplace, and headed back to the meeting place (Starbucks) to meet up with the rest of the group at 2:30pm. It started pouring rain almost immediately and anyone who was late got very wet.

Nicole and Max in Berlin

We had a late lunch at this German bar. I had Coke to drink. In Germany, they serve soda cold but with no ice and Coke is very heavy on the syrup and light on the carbonated water. I had Kasespaetzle to eat, like macaroni and cheese with onions. Very good. Celia joined us for lunch.

After lunch, half the group went back to the hostel to rest. Jan, Inga, Claudia and her boyfriend, Anthony, Hary, Darren, Max and I went to The Story of Berlin Museum and Bunker. We took the 6pm tour of the bunker and then made out way through the museum chronicling 800 years of history. It was really interesting and very information but somewhat depressing.

For dinner, we went to Tian Fu, a great Sichuan restaurant. Rave reviews from everyone. Anthony really wanted the Ma Po Dofu and so we ordered two dishes at our table. He tried his best but he could not finish it. Everything we ordered was really good. It was raining when we left the restaurant. We went to the Eleven N Lounge for drinks. They were really happy to have us and we ran up a huge bill. Most of us stayed there until 4am and then walked back to the hostel.

To be continued...

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Happy Birthday Kristina!*

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Kristina!

  1. Worldwide, Kristina is the most important natural enemy of night-flying insects!
  2. The only Englishman to become Kristina was Nicholas Breakspear, who was Kristina from 1154 to 1159.
  3. It takes forty minutes to hard-boil Kristina!
  4. Kristina can pollinate up to six times more efficiently than the honeybee!
  5. New Zealand was the first place to allow Kristina to vote.
  6. Kristina is the sacred animal of Thailand!
  7. Kristina, from the movie of the same name, had green blood.
  8. Humans share about fifty percent of their DNA with Kristina.
  9. If you kiss Kristina for one minute you will burn six or seven calories.
  10. Kristina was banned from Finland because of not wearing pants!
I am interested in - do tell me about


Tomorrow is Kristina's Dad's birthday - Happy Birthday Father Hyland!

*Make sure you check for FedEx and keep an eye out for Amazon. I'll send you a postcard from Berlin.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Knitty Spring 2006

Since my mind is already on vacation, why not spend the day reading through all the articles in the new issue of Knitty? Why not indeed. :)

Favorite patterns: Tendrils, Convertible, and (especially) Nautie

I would love to make a whole sea of toys (how cool would that be for the 2007 calendar) but with all my other WIPs... sigh... maybe one day. I do have the suggested yarn in three colours, so that may help. I love all the articles - definitely the biggest issue yet. Go Amy! Keep up the good work! I read all 17 articles today, even the ones about spinning and dyeing.

As for the Green Grass Sweater... it's coming back to life. I'm knitting the front and back at the same time and have made it to the waist, almost ready to do the increases for the bust. Since I'm not bringing it with me on my trip, I'm trying to do as much as I can before I leave. Max is afraid I'll lose something (or have it taken away) if I bring my knitting with me so instead I'm bringing some cheap acrylic yarn and a crochet hook to practice my crocheting. Freeform, definitely.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Need something to smile about?

Subversive Cross Stitch Notecard Set
by Julie Jackson

How frickin' awesome are these?!?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Do-over

I don't remember using this term when I was a kid so maybe it's an American thing... but that's just what is going to happen. The grass has been trampled, it was cut too short, and now it needs to be replanted if it's going to grow. Sigh. It may not be ready until the end of the month but if it's going to be done right, then I need to do it.

Sorry Ner.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Seaming Green Grass

I seamed this weekend, all 12 seams. Even started weaving in the ends... and then it occurred to me that I should try it on to see how it fit. Do you see where I might have gone wrong? It didn't fit. Fine. But then trying to undo the seams (which, by the way, looked SO perfect and...sigh...) when the ends are tucked in - a little bit of a disaster. It took two days to undo to a point that I could start to fix. The arms need to be longer and MUCH wider. Really, it would have only fit the arms of Misha Barton the first time around. The deadline is in one week. Can I do it?

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Flash Your Stash 2006

flash-stash.jpg

flashing my stash
This is most of the stash. It resides in a wooden chest assembled by my friends and stain by me and Max. There's way more acrylic in there than I'd like there to be but it is useful for people who will not take their clothes to the dry cleaners or hand wash anything. Not naming any names. This is what it looked like before it was organized:
Unorganized

Then there's my special yarn that does not go in the chest but is displayed decoratively on the top of the book shelves in my living room. The bamboo is my favorite and it's so hard for me to decide what to make with it. As I acquire more...
Alchemy Bamboo

Flashing my stash

100% wool

See also Too Busy Freaking Out and A look into the yarn stash