Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I love that dirty water . . . .

. . . Oh, Boston, you're my home

Ok, it may not be my home anymore, but that song by the Standells was playing thru my head the entire time I was back in Beantown. I was back in Boston yesterday for the first time since I moved to Philly 5 years ago. I can't believe it's been so long. I have so many great memories and it was hard to try and relive them (if that's even possible) in the 3 hours I had to spare.
I had flown up to Boston for a retirement celebration for the judge I clerked for on the Land Court. All but one of the judge's 13 law clerks convened to surprise him and give him a nice send off. It was great to meet the clerks that came before and after, but it was especially nice to see my judge and catch up with him. Although the court was in a new location, right on top of the new Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge, nothing seemed to have changed. It was great to catch up with the other judges and administrative staff at the court.

Before our little celebration, I made it a point to drive around and see how the city has changed. The biggest change is the Big Dig and the fact that it is over! This project started when I was in college. When I left in 2003, they had just opened the northbound tunnel of 93 and the Zakim-BH Bridge and the expressway still existed. Now, there is no visible sign there was ever a highway dividing Government Center from the North End. At the end of the open greenway is the spectacular Zakim-BH Bridge.

Most surprising was when I turned down Causeway Street. The Green Line used to be an elevated train on this street and it was always dark and dreary. Now, it's bright and open! If you see the clover on the left, that's the entrance to the Garden.

After our get-together at Boston Beerworks and a Bunker Hill Bluebeery Ale (just like old times), I trekked up to Brookline for a grilled veggie burrito at Anna's Taqueria. I couldn't come to Boston and not have one. YUM! I used to stop off there on my way home from work all the time.
It was just such a beautiful day out and I couldn't help but take pictures of the Charles River and the Boston Skyline.

Tons of folks were out riding, blading, and biking on either side of the river and I just wanted to jump out of my car and join them. Of course, I didn't since I didn't want to show up at the courthouse sopping wet. :( I definitely need to take an extended trip back to New England where I can spend more time in Boston, trek up to VT and NH, and spend some time on Cape Cod. I just need to find the time!


On a side note, I wore my new blue Lilith shell yesterday. It looked great w/ my "suit" and as I had expected, really brought out my eyes. However, toward the end of the day, I noticed that the shell seemed to be longer than my jacket. That seemed odd since it hadn't been earlier that day. I didn't think anything of it until I got back to the hotel and took off my jacket. Um, the shell stretched about 3 inches over the course of the day! My arm hole, which was originally 8" deep, was not close to 11" deep. I am going to have to do some tweaking if I ever want to wear it again. I'm so bummed since I really liked that color. Luckily, when I took the jacket off earlier in the day, it had been before it had stretched significantly and showed off more of my chest area than I had wanted. At least I hope that was the case!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day!

This has been a great, relaxing weekend. My pool opened up, so I made it a point to relax there for a bit on Saturday and Sunday. I had a nice, long ride yesterday on my bike. I managed to go dress (and shoe) shopping for my cousin's wedding and it went quite smoothly, which is odd for me. Not only that, but I got some great deals on one dress and the 2 pairs of shoes.

Today, after a personal training session at the gym, I met up with my friends from knitting circle for an afternoon in Rittenhouse Square. The weather was perfect and the company was also great. I also managed to finish the back on my Josephine top. It is looking really good. Hopefully, I can crank through the front and finish it. Here's how it looks so far:

I also finally finished the Lillith shell I had started (and mostly finished except for seaming and edging) last summer. I made this in bamboo and really like the drape. I also love the color, which really brings out my eyes.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My very own clap - oh - tee

Over the weekend I finished the clapotis I had been working on over the past couple weeks in my favorite yarn - Handmaiden's Sea Silk. For some reason I had thought that it would be a much quicker knit than it was, but at 18"x64", it's understandable that it took so long (3 weeks).

Friday, May 16, 2008

Go Big or Don't Bother

Yeah, that seems to be the way I do things -- I don't start out small, I go big. Case in point:

  • I don't just walk a 5k or even a 10k when all I've done is walked 4 miles. Instead, I go and do a full blown 26.2 mile marathon in Ireland.
  • I don't just do one event in a year, I decide to do a Love the Half challenge and do 7 half marathons in 1 year.
  • Instead of trying a sprint triathlon, I signed up for an Olympic Distance Triathlon as my first attempt at the multi-disciplined race. Crazy, I know. Of course, that didn't work out due to a nasty case of the flu.
And now, to satisfy my renewed interest in cycling (and boredom w/ walking), I took drastic measures last night. I signed up to do a Century Ride. What is a Century Ride, you might ask, well it is . . . . drumroll please . . . . a 100-mile bike ride . . . . in 1 day! I had thought about doing the Nation's Triathlon, but this race sounded way more fun.

Which race will I be doing? I will be doing the Sea Gull Century in Salisbury, MD on October 4. Unlike a marathon, where I was out for close to 8 hours, constantly walking and only stopping for the port-o-potty, a Century Ride actually incorporates rest stops . . . . and lunch! Talk about a relaxed ride. The best part is the lunch stop happens to be on Assateauge Island, which is part of the National Park Service and just south of Ocean City, MD. Assateague is beautiful and is also known for the wild horses that live there.

Of course, since I'll be doing the race with Team in Training, I will also be fundraising. Once I get my fundraising page set up, I'll put a link up on the side here. If you are wondering why I keep doing these races with TNT, click here.

Even w/ the cycling training this summer, I still plan to do the Viriginia Beach Rock n' Roll Half Marathon Labor Day Weekend. In addition, one of my former walk team buddies is doing a sprint triathlon in July and I think has talked me into it. Why not. It's only 2 laps on Kelly Drive, a 3-mile run (or in my case, walk), and a 750 meter swim. Totally doable, right?

Would this be considered dreams of grandeur and would that be a problem?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

How many of these books have you read?

As some may or may not know, I was not much of a student in high school. If we had a reading assignment, I usually had someone summarize the book for me instead of reading it or the clif notes. I don't know if I had to read some of these books for school (Catch-22, maybe), but most of them I didn't bother reading until I was an adult. I was on a kick in the late 90s, before law school, where I would browse thru the summer reading table at B&N and buy the books I hadn't read, but should have, when I was younger. I tackled stuff that most found were a chore to read. I guess b/c I was older and outside of the school context that I actually enjoyed reading some of them (well, except for Catch-22, maybe).

So, when several of my friends posted this bookshelf assessment on their blogs, I had to jump in. This place called LibraryThing (an online catalog of your bookshelf) has a list of the top 106 books that are listed as unread by LibraryThing's users. Basically, they sit on the shelf to make you look smart or well-rounded. Bold the ones you’ve read, underline the ones you read for school, italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
Catch-22 (this is one of the books I probably had to read in school, but didn't bother)
One Hundred Years of Solitude (I love Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi: a novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick (I tried to do this one on my own and just couldn't)
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice

Jane Eyre
A Tale of Two Cities (attempted to read this for book club - what were we thinking?)
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Iliad
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner (amazing book. currently reading thousand splendid suns)
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged
(i was on a huge ayn rand kick right out of college and read all of her books)
Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books (i tried, i really did - it's just too dry)
Memoirs of a Geisha

Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian : a novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible : a novel
(amazing book!)
Angels & Demons
The Inferno (and Purgatory and Paradise)
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
(i hated this book. i had to somehow compare this book to A Room With A View and the only parallels I could find were thru the flowers. I still cringe when I think of it)
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Miserables
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Prince (poli sci major - of course i read it)
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes: a memoir
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present (I don't know if I have finally finished this book. I pick it up off and on)
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake : a novel
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values (I technically read this book, but sort of skipped thru the philosophical crap and focused on the actual road trip)
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit (read this after seeing and reading the lord of the rings trilogy)
In Cold Blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

Looks like I've managed to read and complete 38 of the books on the list. All in all, not bad for someone who didn't really start reading until her 20s.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

I guess once you get up to a certain age, people just assume they should wish you a happy mother's day. On may way back from my bike ride today, the security guy did just that. Although I am tempted to tell him I'm not a mother, I've learned to just smile and say thank you.

So, to all of you that are mothers, Happy Mother's Day!

In Philly, Mother's Day is also known for the Race for the Cure. Although this was the first year in a while that I was actually here for Mother's Day, I opted not to participate. Too many slow walkers that you can't actually do the 5k as a race. Still, the Parkway was packed w/ people in pink bright and early this morning.

Instead of driving up to NJ to see my mom (she told me not to come, really), I took a nice, long bike ride, doing 2 laps on West River Drive. I thought I was going to be out there forever b/c the headwind heading back into Center City was a killer.

Yesterday, I got together w/ some of my knitting friends from Rosie's for a "knit-out" in Rittenhouse Square. The weather wasn't as cooperative as I had hoped (overcast and chilly), but the company was good. (Thanks for the picture Lisa)

At one point, a group of 4-year-old girls came over and wanted to play w/ the yarn. It was really cute.

Sherry even taught Mindy how to spin yarn. Looks too complicated for me. I'd rather just buy it already made up.

During the afternoon, we were serenaded by a group of Mummer's who seemed to at first be part of a wedding reception, but then circulated their way around the square. We also saw some interesting bicycles: an ice cream sundae and a baby carriage. The sad part was, they weren't giving out any ice cream. :(

Oh and on the knitting front, I am 3/4 of the way done w/ my clapotis scarf/stole. This picture is a little old (doesn't show any of the dropped stitches), but it gives you an idea of how nice the sea silk knits up.

I also cast on for this adorable little baby hat. Sure, it's summer and Leah probably won't get much use out of it, but it's so darn cut, I couldn't help myself.

Finally, I finished my first Monkey Sock, and will eventually cast on to finish the 2nd one. I'm not in a huge rush since I won't be wearing wool socks (hopefully) for a few months.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Mural arts tour

Tonight I hopped onto a trolley w/ the Neshama Group of Haddassah for a Cinco de Mayo happy hour on wheels. We did a group tour with the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program that focused mostly on Center City from 7th to 21st and South to Spring Garden. I tried to get pictures of some of them, but all I had was my cell phone, so I apologize in advance for the sub-par quality of the pictures.

This mural, entitled Fantasy Landscape, is near Rittenhouse Square.

This mural is on Callowhill, just north of Broad Street and as you might have guessed, is dedicated to the Girl Scouts of America. It is called Where Girls Go Strong, by Michelle Ortiz.

This is called the Lincoln Legacy Project and is the most expensive mural in the city. It is located on Chestnut near 7th St. It cost over $250,000 to make and is made w/ thousands of glass tiles.

This is an interesting "mural" since it's not the traditional type of mural that is painted onto a building. Instead, these are panels that hang in the windows of the parking garage on 8th Street.

This mural is called Philadelphia Muses and emphasizes the arts in Philadelphia. Turns out that I actually met the artist, Meg Saligman, a few years ago at a Christmas party. Her husband is partners with my cousin. She gave me her card, but I never did try to connect up with her. That was stupid of me.

Then, there were so many others that I either couldn't get good pictures of or came out blurry. All in all, I was amazed to learn there are over 2700 murals in the City of Philadelphia -- more murals than any city in the world. They have different tours throughout the city and I hope to take more tours in the future. I also learned that they have Community Paint Days where you can come out and help paint the murals. Sounds like a fun activity for a Saturday or Sunday.

Sunday, May 4, 2008


Yesterday I went to my first Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. My knitting friends had been talking about this festival for months and I decided to hitch a ride down w/ them and check it out for myself. The day started out cool and foggy, but w/ no real rain predicted in the forecast. I was picked up around 7AM and we were on the road by about 7:20 or so. After a brief stop at Chesapeake House on I-95, we made it to the festival around 9:30. I didn't even wait for Marissa to park the car and hopped out to get in line at the potty.

Sherry had warned me that if I wanted Socks that Rock, that I had to get over there first thing b/c the line was long and they usually sell out by noon on the first day. I had heard the socks were great, so I hurried over there first. Snagged up a few skeins and then got in line. I must have been in line for a good 45 minutes to an hour! This picture was taken as I was in the barn almost ready to pay. The line was out the barn and around the bend! Look how many skeins the people in front of me were buying. Sherry wasn't lying when she said folks rush over there. The line/wait really wasn't so bad considering folks were chatty. One woman next to me was from outside Breezewood, PA and another guy was from Altoona. We got to talking and he totally remembered Glosser Brothers and Gee Bee (how cool is it that Gee Bee/Glosser Bros. is in Wikipedia).

Afterwards, I went up to the tent where they were selling Brooks Farm yarn. I ended up spending a lot of time up there, waiting in line, seeing something I liked after paying for something and then getting back in line to do it all over. Sheesh! Here are some pics of the yarn in the Brooks Farm tent and the back half of the line I was in the 2nd time around.

Eventually, I wandered thru the rest of the barns, but couldn't really enjoy them b/c there were so many people and I felt a bit trapped. Think of trying to get around mall walkers, but in a much smaller walkway. It made me batty. I was mostly on my own during the day since everyone had their own plans of attack. I met up w/ folks here and there as the day went on.

Around lunch time, I met up w/ Bari from camp, her 2 daughters, and her sister, Robin. It was great to see Bari again. I got a kick out of all the people walking by and staring at her little girl, not b/c she was the cutest little thing (she was, especially when she laughed at my crazy faces), but b/c of the sweater she was wearing that Robin had made her. I forgot I was at a knitting thing and folks actually focus on that stuff. I forgot to get a picture of Bari and me, but here's one of her and her daughter Jamie.

The fog lifted around noonish and it became a beautiful sunny day. Forget the fact that I was exhausted when I got there, but by the end of the day, I was really wiped. I ended up buying far more than I had ever expected. Some yarn was regular price, but some was significantly discounted that I couldn't not buy the yarn. Here's what I came home with (in the bag and out of the bag):

All in all, it was a fun day and I'm glad I went. Now I have more yarn that I could have ever imagined, which means I need to find lots of projects to do. I hope my knitting obsession doesn't die off before I use up this yarn!
And finally, here are some pictures of the folks I came down with.

Ok, most are of folks that came down w/ us. The llama alpaca was there already. :-)

Friday, May 2, 2008

Itty bitties

I was out on my bike after work and just had to stop and take pictures of the little baby geese. This group was just huddling in a bunch keeping warm. I swear, their parents were eyeing my down as I got closer to take a picture.

This other group was a little more adventurous (if you can even see them in the grass), following mother goose toward the water.

On another note, I've been working along on my clapotis wrap. I thought I'd be much further along by now, but I guess work and life have gotten in the way.

I'm sure I'll have loads of time tomorrow on the car ride down the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. Not sure what to expect, but it should be interesting.