Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Summer Storage

One of the many advantages of living in the Bronx instead of any other place is that even the one bedroom apartments are not too small. My building is a post WW 2 walk up and the space is descent size for one person. But I have way too much stuff for a one person, but I am working on changing that little by little.

Of course is doesn't help that I have a yarn addiction that has taken over my living room. I had to desperately clean up the corner of the room so that I could actually get to the window.
So after some searching, four day wait...a cab ride to the Bronx and the hauling up the stairs...I have this.
This comes from Target.com and it serves me well. I needed something that would look good and that wouldn't take up too much space.
Trust me .. it did not take me too long to fill it up.

I barely found space for the last four skeins of sock yarn. The first shelf is full of sock yarn, I have way too much Regia sock yarn.

All the Debbie Bliss yarn will be used up soon, I have to start working on some cute baby items and that will use up a lot of the baby cashmerino I have been hoarding. Now I have to find something to do with the eleven skeins of Lambs Pride I bought last year for a sweater which I still haven't used and don't know if I like anymore.

So who is getting addicted to Etsy? I am blaming Chante for my new found addiction to Etsy.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The little things

So there is this tagging thing going on these days...sharing about share 7 to 8 things about yourself and then sending it to other people and so on. So I will do the random things about myself but I really don't have that many people to tag ... so I am flying solo.

1. Something that took me awhile to realize is that I am the youngest of nine kids, not 5 as I grew up with. I have four brothers on my mom side who I grew up with and then there are the kids my dad had a long long time before I came around. Those other siblings weren't a part of my life. My dad didn't make the effort to have us know each other, so my new found connection with another brother and sister did not happen until my dad's passing.

2. I secretly have always wanted to be a backup singer. One of those standing behind a mic stand doing the ohhs and ahhs. Just enjoying the singing and the touring but the one problem is that I cannot sing. One chance to sing backup for a salsa band is all I need ... lol

3. Remember all those Freddy films and Chucky movies, those infamous horror films that came out in the 80's and 90's ... haven't seen any of them and I never will.

4. Someday I will get on that hot air balloon. Almost did it in San Diego but my mom would have had a heart attack if I went up in the air.

5. In my closet I still have my Donny and Marie dolls. There were a Christmas gift and they are still in good condition. I loved watching the Donny and Marie shows and all those variety shows in the 1970's. My Donny doll was heavily involved with my Barbie doll for a bit there.

6. It is ironic that out of most of my friends I am the one who is still single and with no kids. Trust me is not from wanting or the looking for 'mr right' but I was always the one who was domestic and should have been settled down by now.


8. I was once totally obsessed Montgomery Clift and I even found the brownstone that he lived at in 60's. I still have issues with his friendship with Liz Taylor.

See I am just a simple, good girl from the Bronx.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

New Orleans...part 3

One of the best parts of my trip to New Orleans is hanging out with my friend Cindy and her family. Even though Cindy now lives in North Carolina, she travels to her family in New Orleans. This amazing lady is Dot..or Grandma to everyone else. Dot has officially renamed me Caramel and I love it...but she is the only one who can call me that.
At 85 and standing strong, Dot is still independent as she is the matriarch of the family and it is beautiful to see how everyone rallies around her.
The whole family welcomed me to the city...and that is a big family.

Cindy made every effort to make the city come alive for me. From taking to the Garden District and showing me all the beautiful homes to all the parts which are still struggling years after Hurricane Katrina.
It is amazing to think of the hardship that everyone is still dealing with on the daily basis. Even in the oldest areas, the old "money", the homes are not the same. There is that feeling of total frustration and fear of flooding happening again.

There is an underlying amount of love and warmth in this city but it is still clouded with fear and uncertainty.

My last night in New Orleans was all about Bourbon Street. Starting with an amazing dinner to too many margaritas and lots & lots of dancing. Cindy and I had a fantastic time strutting our butts down Bourbon Street..and we were not the only ones.

Lets just say...what happens on Bourbon Street stays on Bourbon Street.

Brunch of course was at Brennan's ... Bananas Foster enough said..( which was created by Cindy's husbands grandfather) .

All I know is that I have to back to New Orleans. The beautiful and lovely people, they were helpful and grateful for all the visitors and on top of all that...the are still so proud of their home.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

I love New Orleans ... Part 2

The four days that I spent New Orleans were just enough and then again not nearly enough time to enjoy this wonderful city. I spent the first day on my own walking around the French Quarter but then on Friday I met up with Cindy.

Cindy flew in to Baton Rouge from North Carolina and she drove to meet up with me. The skies decided to open up and let the rain come down. I have never seen rain like that in my life, but we were not letting that stop us at all. We headed to the Central Market to have my first muffaletta... yes I did try all the food that was to be had.
I had to make a stop at the oldest voodoo shop in the Quarter...weird for a good Catholic girl like me.

Of course I would choose to go to NOLA during Jazz Fest. Since it rained on Friday, the festival was packed on Saturday and the heat was amazing. I have never felt that kind of heat in such a short period of time and I am still dealing with the sunburn a week later. Cindy wanted me to get the full Jazz Fest experience from all the food to the Southern Comfort hurricanes, but when the sun decided to beam on me and her daughter Kaitlin, we decided that it was time to go. The event was amazing and the people plan there year around this week long festival.

The beauty of the city was enhanced for me when Cindy drove me around the town. All the plantation style homes, the oldest homes in Louisiana and of course Anne Rice's home which is beautiful and now it belongs to the city again. The St. Charles trolley is not running yet which was so disappointing. Cindy took me to some of the oldest parts of the city, along with seeing Tulane and Loyola Universities.
The hardest parts of the city to see where those that were still dealing with the after effects of Hurricane Katrina. I can't even express the how hard it was to see those homes with water lines where the water settled, and those 'x' marks made by the rescue teams. The canals that overflowed and the walls that broke. The water had no where to go...I can't even imagine living and trying to survive those days.

So of course I had to make the effort to find a yarn store in New Orleans. The one I ended up going to was not the one I was looking for but it was quick find and on the corner of Jackson Square. The ladies at the Visitor's Center wasn't surprised when I told her I was looking for a knitting store....hmmm

I found this sweet store called The Quarter Stitch. Now this a new store and they specialize in needlepoint and they have a lot of novelty yarns but they had the one thing that made me stop and shop...KOIGU.
So I found myself some of the coolest purple sock yarn but this is how they wrapped the yarn.


The ladies at the shop were hilarious, telling me stories of working at the New Orleans Zoo and their amazing gorillas.

Part 3 in a few days.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

New Orleans ... I love the Big Easy ! part one

So earlier this year when trying to decide where I wanted to go on vacation, I went through what everyone goes through...all the websites and travel magazines and trying to see what I could afford.
I decided on the one place that I have wanted to go to for years and the place that needed my money more than those Spaniards.


My fantastic friend Cindy ( who left me to move to North Carolina ) had lived in New Orleans all her life. A school teacher who left her hometown after the effects of Hurricane Katrina. Cindy was blessed in evacuating her family and her loved ones early but she did see everything we saw on television first hand.
So after making the decision to move and looking for a new job, Cindy ended up in NYC working at my store...and my bookstore was never the same again. She brought with her all the heat of Louisiana and lots of love to share with everyone.
So after hearing all the stories, I made the decision to go visit this amazing city and contribute to their "recovery"
Cindy arranged her new life in North Carolina around meeting me in NOLA to show me her hometown the right way.
I was so lucky to have Cindy be my tour guide...and she pulled some strings for me while there.

If anyone ever goes to visit NOLA and they want to stay in the French Quarter, I highly recommend the Hotel Montleone. Now its a little pricey and I lucked out with a very good deal, but its so worth it. With its famous Carousel Bar and amazing service, this hotel is just one block away from Bourbon Street and the Acme Oyster Bar.

On my first day in New Orleans I was on my own. After checking in and plotting my route I headed out to explore. The French Quarter is not big and so easy to get around, it reminded me of Old San Juan. I headed straight to Jackson Square and of course the first thing I saw were musicians playing up a storm.

Jackson Square is beautiful. With the St. Louis Cathedral at the top and the Mississippi River at the bottom, it was full of musicians and artists and fortune tellers. The Cathedral is the oldest active cathedral in the US. The area is surrounded by some amazing buildings, the architecture is beautiful.

The apartments surrounding Jackson Square are some of the oldest standing apartments in the US and they were not damaged by the flood.

So if anyone who loves coffee and delicious goodies must go to the Cafe Du Monde the minute they hit Jackson Square. OH MY GOD...this was heaven.

Cafe Au Lait and Beignets before ...

Cafe Au Lait and Beignets after...

I took the Riverboat Natchez tour up the Mississippi River, it was a two hour ride and as you went along the river we were given ample information and history of the area.

I was able to get some pictures of the infamous Ninth Ward from the steamboat. Seeing a FEMA trailer park which is still the home to many who did not leave after the flooding. The trailers are still all over and there are still many people living in them because they do not have anywhere else to go.

As you can see the river wall is not high at all and you can see how easy it was for the water to take control and destroy homes and lives. The walls and levees were no match for this amazing river. From 250,000 residents in this parish, only about 25,000 remain. There is so much more to tell you later on about the outlying areas which I saw with Cindy on Friday.

After finishing up the riverboat tour and finding a yarn shop in the Quarter (you all know those are the knitters travel rules), I headed back to the hotel to relax and then treat myself to an amazing dinner... yes I did try turtle soup. Walking down Bourbon Street in the early evening is an experience and later in the evening its wild.

Anyone can have a great time just walking around the French Quarter, going in and out of shops and just being in awe of this city that has been through devastation and its trying to survive and recover day by day.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Im back.

Hello everyone.

I am back from the Big Easy....

Just a little hung over and sunburned from Jazz Fest. I had a great time and I will blog about it sometime this week.

For now just to show that there is still knitting in my life...here is the Hedera Sock from Knitty.com that I am working on.
I did take the sock with me to New Orleans but I had to take the sock off my circular needle and put it on dpns. What a sock shock to my system, it slowed me down so much. I didn't continue after two rounds.
I put them back on my circular needle this morning to continue with my magic loop love fest.

Still knitting from my stash, this is yarn is from Knit Picks.
I did have a little yarn diet detour in New Orleans...but yarn bought on vacation is allowed.

More to come.