The World According to Marney

Monday, June 30

What a weekend! A friend, Roberta, and I celebrated our birthdays jointly this weekend with a BBQ in her backyard. It was such a great time. Thank you to everyone who schlepped all the way out to the depths of Queens for us. It was fabulous.

I know you are all dying to hear about the cable situation. Well, you will be happy to know that I am wired again. Come to find out, the guys that are working on refacing our building managed to damage the cable connection for the entire building. Strangely, I was the only one that called in. It makes me wonder if either I am the only one who watches TV or if I am the only one that cares if the connection works. Whatever.

I am nearing the end of my blanket project. I am about 2/3 finished with the final pink strip. I have about 2 hours worth of work left on the edging. Then I just need to sew up the remaining pieces and weave in the ends. Although the recipients wanted to pick it up on Wednesday, I don't think I will be able to get it all finished in time for that. I have more than one evening's work ahead of me and no time tonight.

The good news is I have my Dot project already on needles just waiting for me to get going on it.

Friday, June 27

I haven't thrown in a friday five for a while, so I thought now would be a good time.

1. How are you planning to spend the summer? Sadly, the same way I spend every other season, working in a thankless job, peppering my evenings and weekends with theatre, hanging out with my friends and filling spare moments knitting.

2. What was your first summer job? I started babysitting when I was 12 years old. For a couple of summers, my sister and I alternated fulltime babysitting gigs for our cousins. Either we would stay in town and babysit for Joshua during the daytime or leave for Portland on Sunday night for a weeklong aupair/nanny situation for Katherine. Aside from that, my first summer office job was working with my mom when I was 14. I did basic office stuff like filing, copying and all of the other grunt work that 14-year-olds can do and feel like they are adults.

3. If you could go anywhere this summer , where would you go? Probably back to Europe. I loved my last visit to the French Riviera. I would love to continue to explore other countries.

4. What was your worst vacation ever? I don't take very many, so I try to make the best of them. Come to think of it, I can't remember a bad one.

5. What was your best vacation ever? A toss up between a week in St.Martin or nine days in France. Both of them were fabulous. Beaches, great food, new adventures, lots of people speaking French.

Well kids, have a great weekend. I hope to have a better week next week.

Thursday, June 26

This is downright inhumane! I can't believe this is what could be considered acceptable living conditions! I am going to write to my congressman. This has got to change!

I'm not talking about the sorry state of our government. I'm not talking about the misery that is my job. No, my friends, this is a new complaint in the World According to Marney. When I arrived home from work last night, I was totally prepared for the sauna that is my apartment in the summer. It may be 95 outside, but it's a cool 94 in my place. No, that is not the brunt of my complaint. I went to turn on the TV only to find that my cable service was down. Being the former IT chick, I immediately checked all of the cables, cords and wires. No, they were just fine. Then I ran to my last bill. No, that was paid almost 2 weeks ago. So I picked up the phone and called. The woman had good reason to believe that the bad signal I was getting could be because of my ancient (8-year-old) cable box. Did I want to have someone come to look at it over the weekend for a fee or would I like to exchange the box at the main office within the next hour before they close? Before the phone left my ear, the box was disconnected and in a bag.

Upon my return home with a shiny new box and remote, with buttons that actually work, I began connecting cords. Of course, there are no instruction as to have this thing gets put together, so I'm winging it. Alas, no picture. Oh, and keep in mind that because I live in a city with more information clogging up the air than pollution, I don't even receive local channels without going bling from the distortion. Back on the phone only to find out that between my crazy schedule and the cable company's "time slots" the next time I may have a clear picture again will be sometime between 2 and 6PM on SUNDAY.

I tried the whole watch a DVD thing, but for some strange reason, the sound kept going out and I couldn't deal with that right now. So I pulled out the old playstation that has been collecting dust for the past 6 months and brushed up on some Crash Bandicoot 2. I have to admit, that didn't last long. So now, I have no background noise to keep me from going nutty in my apartment and no air to cool me down. There is no way I can get anything done under these conditions. Even reading becomes a bit tried. Don't even think about picking up the needles. Not for this chicky. Well, the good thing about all of this is I was planning on being at the theatre both tonight and tomorrow night. As for Saturday, I will be spending the early part of it waiting for a delivery of a TON of produce for the BBQ that I am co-hosting that evening. A friend and I are sharing our birthday celebrations (hers June 15th and mine July 14th) by throwing a BBQ in Queens for all of our backyardless friends. I may be able to last that long....

Wednesday, June 25

So, I am now in beautiful Colorado Springs at the Broadmoor. I can't even describe the beautiful scenery out here. I don't have a camera but I don't think photos would do it justice. I look out of my room to see snow covered trees and mountains, a frozen lake, ducks and geese. It is amazing.

On my way out here, I managed to make another strawberry hat before the plane took off. For the rest of the flight, I worked on the back of a cardigan for myself in a fuzzy purple merino.

That's about all I have time to talk about right now. I'll be back in the Northeast by Thursday.

I'm feeling much better. Thank you for asking. Last night, I actually got to the point where I felt up to speed again; no coughing, no stuffiness, no achiness. It was like I was my old self again. Of course, this morning the coughing and runny nose have managed to make my office experience a bit more phlemmy. EEEWWW!!!

For a change, I wasn't needed at the theatre last night. Unfortunately, I didn't have any of my projects with me so heading down to S-n-B didn't happen either. That's okay, I should probably take it easy for the rest of the week, anyway. Nonetheless, I still managed to get some work done on the blanket. I also whipped up a hat for a co worker whose wife just gave birth to a preemie. He was born 7 weeks early by orders of the doctor via c-section. Mom and Baby are happy and healthy, though. I am truly a horrible judge of size for children, as I have never had any, so this teeny, tiny hat that fits over my fist looked extremely small. But for a 4lb, 5oz little boy, it just may fit.

Tuesday, June 24

The road to recovery is a long one. I am still feeling better than yesterday. The best news of all is I have actualy been hungry. I think that means I am slowly on the mend. If only the cough would magically disappear.

Last night was the first night of HBO Movies in the Park here in Manhattan. It is one of the greatest things about summer in NYC. Bryant Park is transformed into an urban drive in, without cars. Bring your blankets, bring a picnic, bring a lot of patience, and most importantly, bring a friend that can stake out a good spot early. Since there has been SOOOOOO much rain lately, no one was allowed on the grass until 7:30PM, instead of the 4:30 usual start time. The movie doesn't actually start until after sundown, which for last night was 9:00. Aside from the mad rush to get coveted grass space, watching Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid on the big screen on the first beautiful day of the summer was a fabulous night. Of course, lugging all of that food and gear around makes me understand why there are people in this world that drive cars.

Monday, June 23

I managed to survive the weekend. Although there were a few moments when it was a bit questionable. I am feeling better than last week, but I am still not up to 100% yet. I have a nasty cough that rattles every bone in my body as well as a three-year-old's runny nose. (Isn't that a pretty picture?) Nevertheless, I am back in the office for what may actually turn out to be a full day of work.

In better news, I did get my copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on Saturday. Meeting the Fedex guy downstairs was the closest I came to going outside and interacting with other humans all day. I have to admit that I was so excited about getting the book, I may have sent my recovery back a couple of days. At this point, I am about 250 pages into the book and gung ho about finishing before I have to start reading for the book club.

After spending over 48 hours in my apartment and mostly in my bed or on my couch, I got a bit stir crazy. So last night, I attempted to make fudge. (Not to be confused with the Misinter of Magic.) I got one recipe from Food Network and one from All Recipes. The first one I tried from Food Network was disgusting and BBBLLLEEECCCHH. There was nothing fudge-like about it. As a complete chocoholic, I threw the whole tray out. The second one came out much better but way to flakey. I followed the recipe to a T and I can't figure this one out. Any fudgemakers out there that can share some tips?

Friday, June 20

Well, today, I feel like being hit by a semi would be an improvement on my health. After taking a day and a half off from work to try to get this bug out of my system, I am back in the office to take care of some timely projects. I have a feeling that this will be yet another short day for me, as breathing is getting harder to do every minute. I may take a moment to look up the symptoms of SARS. After all, somone did spit on the sidewalk in front of me the other day. Ok, I did look it up, and I think I am in the clear. Maybe it's just a cold that has moved from my lungs to my sinuses.

At least I don't have to feel too bad about my illness holding me back from my original plans this weekend of going to the Coney Island Mermaid Parade as the weather is supposed to bring much more rain. More power to all you aquatic types that will be celebrating the creatures of the sea by being doused by water from the sky. There is some strange irony there.

Blanket is still moving along. In my achy and miserable state, knitting is about the only thing I can bring myself to do. I'm about 2/3 finished with this puppy. If I am down for the count for the rest of the weekend, I may get through a lot more than I anticipated.

Wednesday, June 18

Okay. I feel a little bad. I know I shouldn't, but I do. The recipient of the blanket read my post about the cost of handmade goods and called me in a rather concerned panic yesterday. I really didn't mean for that post to be aimed at her or this project, per se. I just was thinking aloud about what other people used as a fair rate. If I ever felt weird about doing this project for her for this price, I would have told her from the beginning. To be perfectly clear, I even told her when she asked me to do it that for anyone else, I would charge a WHOLE LOT more, but for her, I would do it for the agreed price. After all, she is my friend and we have been through a lot for each other. MJ, concider us square.

Tuesday, June 17

I am officially at the halfway mark on the blanket. Last night, I was rather out of it, so I spent much of the evening sewing on the edging while watching White Men Can't Jump on cable. (I really must have been out of it!) Nonetheless, the edging is about at the halfway point. That means that I will now be knitting it directly onto the blanket and it has lost its portability. At least the pink strips are still relatively portable.

Not much else to report over here.

Friday, June 13

I was a bit negligent last night. Well, maybe I should say I was a bit selfish. I spent some quality time on Dot last night when I should have been working on the blanket. I just like the way the dots come out on it. I only have 2 dot rows so far, so it's not like I have finished it or anything. I did figure out that each repeat on the blanket takes me 11-12 minutes to do, at a good clip. (Yes, I was timing myself.) That means the main body of the blanket should take me about 40 hours to complete. Plus the edging, that means that for the amount I have been paid to make it, I am really doing this blanket as charity work.

That brings up a question that I have grappled with in the past that I will pose again. If you are making something to be sold, how do you come up with a price for it? I have been using the 3X the price of the materials logic for most of my stuff. Now, for this blanket, if I were charging that amount, it would be nearly $300 for the blanket in total (as they paid for the materials already, I would only see about $200), and I would be looking at about $4/hour after materials. Now, the materials are not extremely expensive (Tahki Cotton Classic). Which brings up the thought of why should I charge 2X to 5X as much for something made of merino or cashmere than 100% cotton? I mean, I put in the same amount of time, don't I? If the materials are twice as much, should my time cost twice as much? So, my question is, what is the going rate for a knitter's time?

Maybe I am having a hard time with the whole hand knit objects being SOOOO much more than other comperable, mass produced objects. I mean, if my knitting should be paid at $10 per hour, for example, a cotton blanket like the one I am currently working on would cost $450. That seems quite high for a blanket. Yet, should I be short changing myself the cost of my time for the sake of others' frugality? Any thoughts?

Thursday, June 12

Wow, my posting page has magically changed from my last post. I guess progress is moving Blogger onward and upward.

Anyway, I took a little break from the blanket yesterday and started Dot. I am really liking this project. But, I have to force myself to put it on hold until I finish the blanket which is a bit of a more timely project.

I went to the theatre last night. I can't say I was overly impressed with Mondo Drama. There were a few laughable moments but overall, not really much to crow about. They can't all be winners.

One final note, I would like to share a link that was passed on to me. For all of you cat lovers, please don't be too disturbed by the looks on these cats' faces. They are really enjoying it on a much deeper level. CATPRIN - Tailor for Cats

Wednesday, June 11

I have new projects waiting in the wings!!! Last night I picked up my package from the post office (who woulda thunk that I could actually receive something through the post office???) with my Handworks Gallery order in it. Can I justsay, I ordered it on Friday and it was delivered on Monday. Definitely check out this site!!!

Anyway, I have Night Sky for the main color of Dot, Flirty for the dots and Allure for the front edge.

On top of that, I am using Fresh for the halter.

I am so very excited about starting these projects. So excited that I spent much of last night stitching together the strips of the blanket that are finished. Right now, it is about 4 feet long and about 1 foot wide. I figure it will be another inch or two in length with the edging and about 3 times the width. That is a pretty substantial baby blanket. I wish I could share how soft this blanket is. Well, I wish I could also share a picture of what I have done, but, alas, the scanner in the office has been disconnected for some ridiculous reason. So you will merely have to imagine it.

Today I will be having a knitting lunch with my friend, Meg. I must say, I really like these lunches that we have every couple of weeks. It helps ease the loss of missing S-n-B every week.

Tuesday, June 10

I went back to my multi tasking last night and finished the book as well as another blanket strip. I think the pattern is going much faster for me now that I don't even have to think about it, let alone look at it. To top that, I may have enough yarn to make this blanket even bigger than I thought before. It takes 5 hanks of yarn to make 3 strips. I have 10 hanks left. The pattern calls to make 7 strips. I thought I would have enough for 1 additional strip, but lo and behold, I should have enough to make 2 extra. Well, I'll see how that looks when I get there. Maybe I'll start stitching the strips together soon to get a more accurate gauge of size.

Also, in my mailbox last night was a little orange slip from the post office telling me that I have a package waiting for pick up. I am very excited to be able to get that package tonight after work. That's right, I should be wallowing in my Handworks Gallery order. I love having more projects in the wings. I may start one of my summer tops just so I can have something that is a bit more portable. Not to mention, both are all stockinette.

Monday, June 9

Either I have lost my grasp on the plausible or I have truely mastered the art of multi-tasking. Yesterday, I picked up the latest book club read, Stupid White Men. I started reading it in the early afternoon as I was stitching away on the blanket. Before I knew it, I had made through 2/3 of the book and another strip of the blanket. That puts me way ahead on the book club front and still in good time with the project. If I can get some quality knitting time in this week, I may have it finished by the end of next week. Of course, this is turning into theatre week for me, so it doesn't look too promising.

Speaking of theatre, last night was the Tony Awards. In case you didn't watch the national telecast on CBS last night, I just want to point out that the network that is too conservative to allow the title of the show Urinetown to be aired on their network got a big of a surprise with this acceptance speech by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman, winners of the best score for Hairspray, followed by a big, old kiss. We'll see if CBS decides to air the Tony's again next year. I have a feeling that at least part of the awards will be back on PBS again.

Friday, June 6

I am feeling the need to knit in cotton these days. As a subscriber to Knitter's Review, I am entitled to a 30% discount at Handworks Gallery for today and tomorrow. Being a sucker for sales and having a couple of extra dollars I can spare, I have already made a pilgramage to the site. I had been thinking about making Dot

from the latest Rowan Magazines. Especially since Melissa made one that came out so cute.

So as I was pondering that, I found out that Rowan also had a free pattern on-line for subscribers.

Both of these patterns use Rowan 4 ply cotton which was going for a little over $4.00 a skein with said discount. So, for about $50 including shipping, I will have yarn for 2 summer tops. I am totally digging this!!!

In the mean time, I am making some serious headway on the blanket. I finished the fist strip of the blanket last night and am working on the second. I think I gave out the wrong yardage amount to my friend when she ordered the yarn. I will have more yarn than I truly need. So, I have decided te make the blanket a bit bigger. I should have enough of the pink to mak it about about 40" wide and 50" long, instead of 35" by 42". That way the baby will be able to use the blanket for a bit longer, as well.

Thursday, June 5

This week is messing me up. I keep thinking it's a different day than it actually is. I think today is Thursday. That would make sense as we had a book club meeting last night. After quite a while without having a good solid discussion, the three of us that braved the weather took on To Kill a Mockingbird. I think made my fourth or fifth reading. I could read it over and over again. I'm also a sucker for the classics.

Well as we were talking, I was diligently working on the baby blanket.

This is about 1/2 of the first strip that will be put together. I don't think I'll be able to get it finished by Monday (the shower), but at this rate, I should have it finished before the end of the month, probably within about 3 weeks.

Tuesday, June 3

Well, I made it back in one piece. It was a very wonderful, yet adventure filled weekend. I could tell you about the "scenic route" that Nolan's step mother talked us into taking, only to add 3 hours and another state onto our drive time. Or, I could tell you about running out of gas on the NY Throughway and waiting for an hour on the side of the road.. I could mention the torential rains that started on Saturday morning and didn't end until Sunday night, which made the previously scheduled outdoor wedding an impromptu indoor wedding. But I won't dwell on those things.

First of all, let's touch on the wedding. It was very nice. It took place in The Barn just outside of Ithaca, NY. Strangely, it is just as you would imagine a barn that was renovated into a catering hall would be, complete with drafts and antique (yet sometimes unidentifiable) farming equipment. The ceremony was brief; the bride was beautiful; the food was tasty; the flowers made me sneeze, unstoppably.

When we arrived in Ithaca, we made a beeline to Moosewood Restaurant. They are most famous for their cookbooks. Nonetheless, we had some fabulous vegetarian food. If you are ever in the Ithaca area, even for you carnivores out there, do not pass up the opportunity to eat at Moosewood. You will be happy you did.

Much to our surprise, we were in town in time for the Ithaca Festival. On Saturday, they turned downtown into a street fair with music, magicians, food and crafts. Aside from the downpour, it was fun. Not only did we get to check out the shops and restaurants, but we got to wander through the booths of the local vendors at the same time.

On the way back home, we decided to make a little side trip. Since neither of us had ever been to central or eastern New York before, we took the opportunity to stop in at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, NY. I can't say that I am a huge baseball fan, well, I really don't follow the game much, but I really enjoyed this museum. Okay, it was a bit baseball heavy. I can totally see how little boys (like the 28-year-old I was traveling with) get so excited about going in to see all of the memorabilia, statistics, baseball cards, uniforms, history and honorary plaques that they have on display. It is a bit overwhelming. The thing I was most impressed with was the fact that the statistics are all CURRENT. As in up to date with at-bats, strike outs, winning games pitched and so forth. That is not something you see much in a museum. Very cool.

I think that about covers the highlights of my weekend. Oh, I did bring my aran sweater with me to work on. But, between being navagator and radio station hunter, not much knitting happened for me. But I did get the yarn for the baby blanket project. I started in on the hat

and booties

that I will give to MJ tomorrow so she can have something tangible to give at the shower.