Thursday, March 31, 2005

20,000 Leagues Above the Earth

So the trip is winding down. Houston is behind me, West Palm is behind me, and Houston (again) is behind me. 2 of this year's conferences down, 3 more to go. Sunday night I fly home.

The fridge at home may be broken, or it may just be an ice blockage. Why is it every major problem we've had with the house has happened when we're away? Last time the bathroom on my side of the house, now this. COuld it be because I leave 3 teens alone? Nahhhhhh...........

There's a lot we didn't get to do in Houston. The only touring we did was NASA, and that was on Taanit Esther. Touring and fasting is not a great combination, and when you addin waiting on long lines, well. Any suggestions for better tourist sites in the Houston area would be appreciated; we'll be back for at least 2 weeks in November, more if B can score a few jobs there between one set of conventions and the next. I didn't get to any yarns stores, since we ended no earlier than 6 pm each night and the yarn store I planned to visit closed every night at 7. The only fiber shopping I got in was at Hobby Lobby (5 colors of Magic Stripes yarn for socks and a set of Boye interchangable needles that B insisted I get -- not that he had to insist too hard) and Walmart (3 lbs. each of 3 different colors of Peaches and Creme cotton for sweatshirts). I have tomorrow in NYC to shop if there's any room and weight left in my luggage after I pack.

I think we did pretty well at the conventions. Each time the other vendors complain about how little traffic there is, how few sales, but they always seem to come back. This last convention was the first time I actually saw them get togther a petition about it, but we didn't sign. We had a great booth location, and though I think we only got 5-10% of the conventioneers to sign in at our booth, that was about 95% of all those who came to the exhibition area and quite possibly was close to 90% of those who have jobs to bid out. The raw numbers probably don't matter all that much; if if there are 10-15 new jobs to be bid out in a year, all you need to really reach are those 10-15 people. I'm also becoming less of an introvert: each time it takes fewer and fewer hours for me to feel comfortable starting a conversation with a total stranger who doesn't yet know how desperatley he or she wants to talk to me.

And now we're on the plane back to NY. Not quite relaxed--one of the conventioneers is a few rows behind us so we can't grub off until we get to B's mom. But I can look out the window and day dream about what a nice quilt the view would make. Maybe after I've learned to use my new loom (that had better be waiting forme in NY) -- one cow at a time.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The interview game

The Interview Game

Here's the rules to the game, my answer is below.

1. Leave me a comment saying "interview me". The first five commenters will be the participants.
2. I will respond by asking you five questions.
3. You will update your blog/site with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions. (Write your own questions or borrow some.)

Here are my responses to Rachel Ann's questions:
Because it is about to be Purim and then Passover....

1. So how many bags of (name your favorite sugary posion) did you eat before making up those Shaloch Manos baskets?

This year--none. (See post above about being away from home on Purim.) Even on normal years the answer is generally none--most families in my town give gifts of good (side dishes for the Purim meal) instead of junk food. No month-long candy fests for us!

2. What is your favorite Purim memory?

Driving around Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens with my husband and infant son after having baked 160 challot for Shaloch Manot.

3. Put on your black hat. What is the Passover cleaning job you are now forcing all your evil minnions to do?

The fridge, the oven, and the kids' rooms. Hey, they're teens!

4. Will you please, please, please, come clean my house for Passover? I'll make you a nice dinner. (Sorry, if you are a Jewish mom you know why that pleas got to be in there.)

No way. I'll have less than 20 days to clean my own house, and I've seen yours! I might have a teen for hire, though.

5. What is your favorite Passover meal? And no fair not giving over the recipe.

Meal? I'm supposed to be serving meals on Passover. Oh, shoot, I knew I've been doing something wrong all this time. Seriously, though, can I get back to you about this once I get home to my recipes?

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Clap on, clap off

So where's my Clapotis, you ask? I should have been done with it by now, right?

Well, all I can say is that I'm an idiot. "Knit this and the following stitch through the back" is not "knit together through the back." 22" of width decreases to 19. Argh. Rip, rip, off to the frog pond we go. But there's light at the end of the tunnel, and I've redone more than half the knitting.

On the positive side, I've discovered wireless networks on the road. Bought a $10 PCMCIA wireless card through a listing on Cheap Stingy Bastard and have been spending conference downtime working. Life is good.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Purim in Houston

Spending a holiday away from home is always an odd experience, but this was the first time I've spent a holiday where I knew absolutely no one. Since we've stayed here before, three weeks ago, we had some people to give Mishloach Manot to, but we didn't know local customs, habits, etc. It's been the least Purim-dik Purim I've ever had, and I never want to be away from home on Purim again. Our kids were all over the Israeli map for the holiday--the girls even got a chance to drop Batya a package (I don't even know what they sent, since the kids made it; I've been away from home all month).

The one relaxing thing about being on the road is that I'm away from news of Israel. I still read Rotter whenever I go online, but the intense everyday aspect of being Israeli is missing. I don't check my kids' clothing in the morning and wonder if their color choices can get them in trouble like Rav Ronski's son got into. I don't have to start thinking yet about my kids and this summer--how much will I let them go to Chomesh, a yishuv I fell in love with this past Sukkot, will I let them participate in the protests against dragging people from their homes for no good reason. It's a vacation from reality, a break from responsibility, time out of time, a second and third childhood. But it ends a week from Monday, and I think I'll be ready to dive into Pesach prep and into politics. By then I'll once again be hungry for life.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Zibibbo, you're going to hate me

Friday we went to Goodwill because I was low on reading material. I know, there are public libraries in Palm Beach County, but my father isn't sure if he has a card or not, and the books at Goodwill were 5 for a dollar... B was walking around and when I caught up to him we found two big sacks of yarn, one marked $9.79 and one marked $4. Grabbed them both.

Oh, my.

A few part acrylics in the bunch, but most of it--wow. Cottons. Linen. Metallics. Mohair. Wool. Name brand yarn--Berroco, Stahl, Anny Blatt. Small yarn producers. I know this was someone's stash, and for some reason she had to stop knitting. (Arthritis? Blindness? Death? This is West Palm...)

Whoever you are, Unknown Knitter, thank you--your stash will be well knit.

And Zibibbo--eat your heart out!

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Great picture

Sent to me by my daughter, of a natural birth in a jacuuzi. In case there's anyone reading who disapproves of explicit pictures, you'll have to click to see it.

Now that I'm on the decrease rows of the Clapotis, I'm beginning to slow down. I think it's finishing anxiety--what could I ever do which would get me as many reactions as this has?

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Silent, but not idle

So we didn't go yarn crawling last Monday, but we did go to a great kosher Chinese vegetarian restaurant (Garden Vegetarian at 9013 Westheimer). We'll go back there again when we return in two weeks.

Now we're in West Palm and B is racking in the publicity. He won't let me link to it (what, him modest?) or post his picture, but I guess this picture, from one of the local papers, is innocent enough:

I've been trying to get in some work, but it's tough to do when this is the view over your computer:

So instead I sit looking at the view and working away on my Clapotis.

This is the yarn I got at School Products in NYC. I'm on my last full hank, then I figure I can use another quarter hank before starting the decrerases--I'd rather have some left over at the end than have to frog and redo the decreases because I ran out.

Did a little yarn crawling; went to the Knitting Nook on N. Military Trail. OK store with the usual selection of novelties, very little sweater yarn (which doesn't surprise me--this is South Florida). No magazines or books for sale, as far as I could see, and no one seemed interested in helping out a hapless shopper, but plenty of llittle old ladies coming in to shop, so they really don't need my itinerant custom. I think when I'm down here in May or over the summer I'll drive down to Miami to check out Elegant Stitches, which seems more a real yarn store.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Just a quick note for anyone in Houston

If you've got a chance, stop on by the Westin Galleria Ballroom and say hi (today 9 am-6pm, Tuesday and Wednesday 9-9). I'll be the one with the Clapotis on the table. We have off tonight, but none of the local yarn stores seem to be open on Mondays. Zibibo, I'll have to wait a day or two to grope some more yarn for you.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

I came, I saw, I shopped

This blog is coming to you from not so beautiful Sugarland, Texas. Lots of strip malls, but who wants to see Texans strip? This is definitely not where I'll be staying when I come back in 2 weeks. The acoustics are perfect--for hearing the people in the room above me staggering around all night long. The fire department shut off the water this morning. I'm sure there's more I'll hate, but I've only been here 8 hours.

First, of course, was New York. Snowy New York (eat your heart out, kids-o-mine...)

Despite the lure of the snow I got to do a little shopping:

Some Trekking from Downtown Yarns and from Seaport Yarn. Roving from Downtown Yarns. Clover notions from Knit NY, Purl Soho, and Gotta Knit!.

I also got some 100% merino at School Products for my Clapotis:

It may just have been yarn crawl burnout (5 in one day, one the next), but I wasn;t terribly impressed with most of the stores. Way too much fun fur (what's so fun about it?), too many "we're so trendy it hurts" vibes. Hardly any yarns you'd actually want to knit a whole sweater with, and what there was was so expensive you couldn't afford to. I'm spoiled by online shopping: if I can get a Clover Ka-ching counter for $5 on line, why on earth would I want to pay $9 plus tax at Knit NY? Just because it's a happening knit cafe? No, thanks. I'll take my knitting here, and my coffee to go.

School Products remains the best value, though for once they didn't seem to have many back issues of magazines. Disappointing, because I didn't buy in Jerusalem--why pay twice the price if I can pick them up in NY? Best laid plans... Lots of coned yarns, as usual, and more "hot" name brands than I used to see.

The next best was Seaport Yarns. Very helpful staff, loads of books and magazines (again, not all that many back issues), room upon room of yarn (name brands). The prices were good, but they don't take credit cards--cash or check only.

After that was Downtown Yarsn. A little funky, not as helpful. Had some roving, shelves jam packed with yarn (to the extent of being difficult to remove sometimes). Prices weren't marked on all yarns.

Gotta Knit! was a very standard, upper-middle-class knitter with experience type of store with prices to match.

Purl Soho had that "hip to knit" vibe and n=lots of designer yarns, but the staff was friendly and helpful.

Knit NY was so hip it hurt my teeth. Very little help from the staff, nothing I'd want to knit more than a scarf in. Funky designer yarns (read: yarns I could spin myself at half the price).

In the end I was glad I did the crawl: I'd never been to Seaport before and will now add it to my "NYC must visit" list. I'll probably look at Downtown again, too. But as for the others--feh.

Sometime this week: Houston yarn stores and all Clapotis, all the time, baby!