Syndactyl Salutations

Thoughts on writing, knitting, and the world around me.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Happy Belated Blog-iversary to Me

Yes, my blog turned one on the 27th and I missed it. Sorry I've been absent for almost two weeks, I just haven't gotten my act together on much of anything lately.

NaNoWriMo begins tomorrow. My current plan of attack is to stay up until midnight today to get at least the first few sentences done, then get into a regular rhythm later in the day tomorrow. I ruminated on my main character while distributing Hallowe'en candy on Friday, and began writing more backstory for her yesterday. The story is already beginning to veer from my original idea, but that's probably not a bad thing, it needed refinement anyway. I so hope that I will be able to finish this time, anyone reading this can feel free to prompt, encourage, or otherwise harangue me about it.

In knitting news, I'm 3/4 of the way through my pink and purple baby blanket and I cast on for the first of my second pair of socks. I'm using DPNs this time, I'll see how that goes.

We went to a Hallowe'en party last night, I wore my vintage silk dragon pajamas, a black wig, and a gold mask with feathers, strange. It was a decent party, but there were a lot of people there and I all but had a panic attack toward the end of it. I hope this is not the beginning of a trend, that would be disconcerting.

I'll be back tomorrow at the latest with my first word count. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Feeling Slow

I did no knitting and barely any writing today, though I did do a morning page for the first time in probably a week. I'm worried that Nano will be much more of a challenge this year than it was in the past two. I need to do it and succeed at it, though, to prove to myself that I haven't lost it entirely when it comes to writing. I'm truly concerned about that possibility.

I cleaned my personal files, well, the first of two drawers, when I got home, that felt like a positive step.

Hopefully tomorrow will be more productive.

Saturday, October 16, 2004


That's right, I finished my very first pair of socks this morning and have been wearing them ever since! I'm way too excited, but you have to admit, it's pretty cool. I started out with a ball of thin yarn and ended up with a pair of pretty socks that fit my little feet. I'm itching to start another pair, though as to whether I use the same method, or go for a toe up version, I'm not sure yet.

I'm also making progress on the baby blanket again, which makes me happy since it was stalled for quite a while.

That's all the news that's fit to print, folk(s).

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Thank You, Secret Pal! Take Two

I got my second gift from my SPIII on Thursday! Sorry for the delay in posting the news, after the insanely long post on Tuesday, I needed a break (and so did everyone else, I'm sure). Anyway, my secret pal sent me a bottle of Mango Mandarin body lotion, which smells good enough to eat, a gift card for something else good-smelling from Bath and Body Works, a box of See's candies, which I have yet to open because I'm trying desperately to save them to use as writing rewards during November, and a funny undergarment-referent greeting card.

Thanks again Secret Pal, you are spoiling me so well. I think I may make the sparkly hat (probably minus sparkles) from Stitch 'n Bitch with the yarn you sent the first time. I need to get the right needles. You know you don't knit enough yet when you still have to buy new needles before every project.

Gonna try Oh, Susannah again today, she was closed last weekend for a family function. Don't know how much luck I'll have though, I imagine she'll at Stitches East this weekend.

I'm onto the heel decreases on my second sock, I did a better job of picking up stitches along the heel flap this time. I guess I do learn with experience.

Enjoy the day, whatever you do.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

My Most Recent Slice of the Big Apple: Part Two

Now, the continuing story of...


Day two was considerably less active due to blisters on my feet and sore muscles all around. We stayed in Brooklyn all day, though still covered a fair amount of ground. Our first stop out of the apartment was at a dollar store for blister coverings and candy. The car was parked outside of the Uprising Bakery, which I found fairly amusing. Once we had that little errand out of the way, we headed for Sheep's Head Bay and Manhattan Beach. We looked at the marina for a little while, though most of the boats were out of their slips, either for the day or the season. I enjoy ocean air much more than one would realize if one was to judge by the infrequency of my visits to places with ocean access.

After staring at the bay for a little while, we walked (somewhat gingerly in my case) the few blocks to see the colony of green parrots which live between the bay and the beach. Yes, you read that correctly, green parrots living in the wild in Brooklyn. We could hear them calling before we got to where they gather and nest, it was really cool. We saw a couple of them flitting overhead as we got there, though we saw their nests first. They build large, multi-entrance nests out of twigs, she was calling them parrot condos. There was one built around a transformer on a utility pole and one in a nearby tree. The group on the pole will probably have to rebuild soon, though, because apparently the streets department comes along periodically and clears the poles off.

We passed under the parrot colony and walked down to Manhattan Beach. Manhattan Beach has a rim of shallow steps which lead down to the sand; they were mostly buried as a result of Ivan (and probably Charley and Bonnie).It was fairly warm out and overcast, but not exactly hot, yet there were people wading and swimming in the surf anyway. The high tide line was full of small trash, which did sort of take away from the idyllic beach-going experience. We wandered down close to the waterline and looked at washed up jellyfish and horseshoe crabs. I took some photos of them, they were interesting, though photographing dead things was sort of creepy.

There was a photo shoot going on while we were there, but we were hard-pressed to figure out what the shoot was for. There was a woman on her knees in a long dress with a hood being directed to yell exhortations at the sky, but there was also a woman standing around nearby in a bikini. Sort of strange and cheesy all at once.

On the way back to the car, we passed the parrot colony again. They were even more active than they had been before, so we stopped and watched some more. I took a fair number of photos, which I hope come out. The birds were flying back and forth over our heads, working between three or four trees, carrying twigs to incorporate into the nest in the tree. We saw six or seven of them this time and they were carrying on like mad. The neighbors apparently feed them during the winter, part of why they stick around, but it's sort of surprising because with all of the noise they make, I can't see being thrilled to live right next to them all year round. The noise is probably something you'd get used to, actually.

After Manhattan Beach, she drove us out to Brighton Beach. It was Yom Kippur, and Brighton Beach is primarily Jewish, so a lot of the storefronts were shuttered. It's also a largely Russian area, so it was interesting to see so many businesses with signage in both English and Russian. We weren't there to shop anyway, so the closed stores weren't a deal. She found a space in the municipal lot, then we cut across the rapidly filling boardwalk to the sand. As I mentioned, it was Yom Kippur, and we appeared to have gotten there just as services were letting out.

Brighton Beach is a lot more well-groomed than Manhattan Beach. It is also larger and used more frequently and larger. Most of the detritus at the high tide line was vegetative matter, rather than trash, which was heartening. There were still a large number of jellyfish washed up, but no horseshoe crabs. We walked down to the water briefly again, then found a board to sit on just inside the high tide line. The sun had come out and it was warming up a bit more, so there were more people on the beach. A dog was chasing a stick longer than he was into the waves, a toddler was digging a hole in the sand near where the waves were breaking. His mom was walking on her hands nearby.

We sat and looked at the water and played in the sand in front of us. I was digging holes and making spirals, my sister was making mini sand sculptures -- an elephant head and a turtle. She is much more instantaneously creative than I am. I took a few photos of the horizon, Coney Island, her working on her sculptures.

We didn't walk down the boardwalk to Coney Island when we left because the boardwalk was just too crowded and she had a headache. On the way back to the apartment, we went to a strip of land between the highway and the water that she called the hideaway. It had been really overgrown with weeds and brush when her husband first discovered it and took her there. We got to it via a pedestrian bridge across the highway with extremely shallow, wide, steps. The kind of steps that end up making you take each step with the same foot so that you feel lopsided unless you do a silly shuffle from time to time. We walked to an entrance closer to the water than the one by the bridge so that I could see the main attraction of the place. There are several burned out barge hulls along the shore. Apparently the barges were burnt and sunk at one point, then the water level changed and they stayed where they were.

She was hoping to get me down to the edge of the water and close to the wrecks, but we couldn't find a path, so I took several shots of them from above. When we first spotted the barges, we also saw a heron standing in the middle of the water between two of them. I didn't take his picture though. We walked around the perimeter of the park on a path and passed a lot of people out fishing and some hawks that seemed to be having a territorial dispute. There were a couple of guys flying remote control helicopters, which were mirrored by all of the dragonflies we saw closer to the ground.

The hideaway was the end of our explorations until evening because her headache hadn't gone away. We went back to the apartment so that she could take a nap and I could work on my sock. We took one more walk in the evening with her husband. We walked through a botanical garden (Verrazano Narrows?) then along a length of the promenade which runs along the water. The sun was setting over lower Manhattan and I didn't bring my camera with me, but I just enjoyed it for what it was, so it was fine. We left the promenade and walked to the shopping area near where they lived to get stuff for dinner. It was so alien to be in a "downtown" area at 8:00 or later and see stores open and bustling. Granted, they were getting ready to close, but still. We went to a little grocery for basic groceries, a produce stand for veggies, and a delectable little bakery for a fresh loaf of Italian bread. As fond as I am of the convenience of supermarkets, I liked the intimacy of going into each small neighborhood shop to get part of dinner. Especially the bakery, I'd love to have a neighborhood bakery where I could get fresh bread every few days. Supermarket bakeries just aren't the same, really.

Our evening wrapped up with a lovely dinner once again, then sock knitting for hours after they went to bed. I turned my first sock heel that night and was absolutely thrilled.

Thanks again if you've made it this far. I should get the last part up fairly soon. Now I'm off to watch the Vice-Presidential debate.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Weekend of Quiet Procrastination

I had a nice quiet weekend, got a decent amount of writing done, though it probably won't see the light of day (the stuff that didn't make it here, that is), worked on my second sock and a bit on the baby blanket, and read The Lovely Bones from start to finish. It was a great read, very touching, strong writing.

The procrastination part of this comes when I realized that the three possible opportunities I could have had to find work I may actually enjoy disappeared because I kept putting off looking into them further. I am way too good at sabotaging myself, I need to find a way out of or around the mindset that makes me do things like this to myself.

End self-pitying whining.

Thanks to the people who left comments on the first part of my New York story, I appreciated the feedback. I hope to be back later with the next part of the saga this evening.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

My Most Recent Slice of the Big Apple: Part One

Okay, here's the breakdown of my relaxing yet active weekend in New York:


I took the train up, I don't enjoy driving in cities or on really packed multi-lane highways, so the nearly $100 roundtrip cost was worth it to me to avoid the stress, tolls, gas prices, etc. I knit most of the trip up on my sock and was pleased with the progress I made. I also did a bit of writing, but nothing major (morning pages).

My sister met me at Penn Station and we commenced to walk. We could have used the metro more than we did, but it was the absolute perfect day to be out walking, so we spent little time underground.

We meandered from Penn Station to Central Park, and ended up using an entrance she hadn't used before, which took us past the Central Park zoo and under the Delacorte Clock. We saw it strike the half hour, but were gone before it struck noon. We also hit the toy boat pond and the lake, where we looked for, and found, several species of sunbathing turtles. We also decided that the color of the lake water that day would look great on the wall of a room.

After spending quite a while walking and sitting in the park, we found the nearest metro stop and took a short train ride to Union Square and its farmers' market, where we got some of the most delicious oatmeal raisin cookies I have ever had the pleasure to eat. Union Square was just a few blocks from Knit New York, so, of course, I had to find it. I did, after almost walking right past it. It is cute and tiny. We sat and had something to drink and petted many yarns. My sister absolutely does not "get" the whole knitting thing, (Later in the weekend she told her husband that knitters have their own little sub-culture -- she's right) but she was very patient with my desire to wander back and forth in the shop petting yarn and trying to decide whether to buy anything.

I bought four hanks of fingering weight merino, two in raspberry, two in pumpkin, and a very fine crochet hook to keep in my sock kit because I dropped a stitch on the train and had a terrible time picking it up. They are currently offering "golden tickets hidden in their stock, but I wasn't planning to buy enough to really end up in the running. Someone had won one a few days before, though, and came back to claim it while we were there. She was so excited, and everyone in the shop, customer or employee, was happy for her; it was worth $150 in store credit!

After I finished fondling yarn, we went back to Union Square and took an even shorter train ride further downtown. I enjoyed looking at the various mosaics as we passed through different stations, whimsy is good. We wandered around fairly aimlessly for a while, walked blocks and blocks through an Italian festival and cringed at the piles of deepfried Oreos at every third stand. One had Oreos and Twinkies, ugh! She bought some expensive little cannoli (we discovered later that they were pretty tasty, though), then we veered away from the festival, even though it continued on still for blocks and blocks. We came out in the financial district down by the courthouse where this is installed. I read about it here a while ago, but had no idea I'd actually see it.

We didn't get very close to it, because we got distracted by a young couple who had obviously JUST gotten engaged. They were so sweet, they came out from between two buildings and she looked down at her hand. They stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and her hugged her and kissed the top of her head. We couldn't stop smiling for them, and every time we looked back they were still there, completely wrapped up in one another in a very sweet and romantic way. I wish them all the best and all the happiness, whoever they may be.

By this time we had already walked our feet off, and were thinking about looking for a metro stop again to possibly head toward Brooklyn. But what's between lower Manhattan and Brooklyn? That's right. The Brooklyn Bridge. I innocently mentioned that I had never actually seen the Brooklyn Bridge in person. Anyone want to venture a guess as to what happened next?

If you guessed we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and didn't sit on a single one of those conveniently located park benches while doing it, you would be correct. It was great. I took a few photos, we stopped to look at a boat of some sort under full sail and at the other bridges and all of the real estate apparently owned by a religious organization. She told me, but I can't remember, Christians of some stripe, I'm nearly positive. There were lots of other people on the bridge taking photos and sitting on benches. By the time we got to Brooklyn and stopped to find the nearest metro stop on the conveniently located map we were definitely feeling our walk.

Bear in mind that I was carrying my bag containing everything I had packed for the weekend. I had expected to carry it, so I had packed relatively light, but it felt anything but. We found a metro stop five or six blocks away and headed for it. We bypassed it slightly to walk to a grocery on a trendy little street (in what we later determined to be Brooklyn Heights) to get odds and ends for dinner and breakfast. We limped back to the metro stop and sat on a train for half an hour, then walked the three or so blocks to her apartment building.

We wrapped up the day with appetizers of bread, Brie, and hummus, followed by fresh mozzarella pizza (delivered), and more conversation (did I mentioned we talked a LOT as we took Manhattan by storm?). She showed me the harbor view featuring the Statue of Liberty and lower Manhattan out their bedroom window (stick head out window, look right), then we settled in for the evening.

Okay, if you're still with me, congratulations and thank you. I didn't expect it to be this long, so I think I'll save days two and three for other entries. (Told you I had fun!)

Lost Week

I really have no idea where the past week went, but now it's Saturday afternoon and I have yet to regale my un-readership with tales from New York. It's not going to happen in this post either. I need to go to Oh, Susannah and get needles and more sock yarn, because I have a feeling she may well be closed next weekend for Stitches East, then I have some other odds and ends of running around to do.


I signed myself up to do Nano again this year (the reason this space came into being last year). I don't know if I have it in me this time around, but I'm going to give it a try. It'd be nice to go for three out of three.

Of course, the fact that I've done basically zero writing this week doesn't bode well.


I finished my first sock and got started on my second. Yes, I made a sock and it fits my itty-bitty size five foot, I'm way too excited about this. No photos yet, of course.


It's my youngest sister's birthday, I wish it were a happy occasion.

Off to run around on a chilly grey day, hopefully I'll have a NYC post ready soon, because I had a great time and it deserves recognition.