Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Zucchini Just Comes with Green Pepper

When Kevin and I were in grad school in Albany, our favorite pizza came from this tiny place near campus and our apartments called Sovrano's. The internet tells me it's closed, and it's no wonder--what's amazing is that they stayed in business at all. The pizza was wonderful (even by the slice, even at non-peak hours), but there was nowhere to sit, no way to predict how much your slices might cost (it was always between $2 and $3.50, but there was no clear relationship between number or type of toppings and price), and no way to guess what might be on a particular pizza, even when you'd ordered it.

We usually ordered tomato and zucchini, and about half the time it was tomato, green pepper, and zucchini. We finally asked why and were told "zucchini just comes with green pepper." Evidently, the containers were next to each other, and by the end of the day they were both about half zucchini and half pepper, so if you ordered one, you got the other too. (Fortunately, the meat containers were on the other side of the prep area.)

So now we say "zucchini just comes with peppers" to describe features that just exist, for no apparent reason, with the thing you want. Not bad features necessarily (since we like green peppers, getting them at random wasn't a problem), just inexplicable and extra.

All this to say that, because zucchini comes with peppers, the built-in cameras on Macs take mirror image pictures, rather than regular pictures--that's why it looked like I was reversed in the pictures of my new glasses.

Speaking of pictures, what are the chances, do you think, that I'll take advantage of a sunny, work-from-home day to take pictures of my knitting and spinning? I've developed quite a backlog--2 pairs of adult socks, one pair of baby socks (imagine Moppet's red ear warmers, but navy blue), at least 2 new hanks of handspun, and it feels like I'm forgetting something.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Four Eyes

Hey, I got new glasses--actually, 2 pairs, because I ordered them online (from LBW Eyewear), so both together, with lenses, shipping, etc., cost $72 and change.

Here's the first new pair:

And the second:

And just in case you were thinking "hey, those look exactly like her old glasses," here's the old pair for comparison:

Completely different!

They're a little bit more different in real life--one's brown with yellow on the inside, and one's dark purple with lighter purple on the inside, it's just hard to see that in my abysmal, taken-with-the-computer pictures. (The old pair is navy with dark brown on the inside.)

Ordering was really easy--I got the prescription from my eye doctor (apparently, some doctors are cranky about giving you your complete prescription, because they also sell glasses, but I go to the university's health center, which doesn't sell glasses, so that was no problem). Then I measured the distance between my pupils, using several different methods I found online by googling "measure PD" (they all gave the same number, which I took to be a good sign), picked out new frames (by comparing the dimensions from the website to my existing glasses), filled in an online form, and here they are.

I was slightly worried about my PD measurement, but I could see normally without feeling any strain as soon as I put them on, so I think I did it right--and if not, my back-up plan is to take these frames to a optician to get new new lenses. In that case, these glasses would still be less than half as expensive as my previous pair (right now, they cost about a tenth as much!)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


I can finally unveil two recent gift knits--the little Star Sweater (from Adorable Knits for Tots) for E...

...and another Montana Tunic (from Shear Spirit) for my mom.

I knit the star sweater mostly on our trip to Egypt and Israel, but procrastinated about the front (I'm not a fan of intarsia, the technique used to knit the star) till after we got home. (Ravelry details here, if you want them.)

I knit the tunic mostly in February, while reading. I made the changes I talked about last time--I didn't work the back shoulder increases (which are intended to make it fit better while you take care of your fiber-bearing beasties... but my mom doesn't have any), and I bound off the back neck stitches, then picked up across the bind off for the ribs.

You will notice that being headless online is not genetic, since E, my sisters and I all keep our heads, even though my mom doesn't. Or maybe it's a recessive trait, and we have both the dominant (head appears online) and recessive (head vanishes online) genes?

Speaking of genes, Kevin and I were listening to This American Life over the weekend, and there was a bit called "Phone Call to the Fourteenth Century," about an imagined game show in which contestants called a hut the 14th century and told whoever answered the phone as many important concepts as possible (Wash your hands! Watch out for fleas! There's no such thing as witches--everyone floats! Humans are descended from apes!) in the allotted time, getting a point for each one.

Meanwhile, I've been listening to The Origin of the Species while I row (indoors)--which, by the way, creates this kind of hypnotic trance--and I'd like more than anything to be able to tell Darwin about genes. (If I'm remembering correctly from bio, genes hadn't been figured out when he wrote, so he came up with another theory which turned out to be wrong). You can almost hear his brain whirring away, perplexed but not getting any traction.

Phone Call to the Nineteenth Century!

Monday, March 16, 2009


Thanks everyone who gave to the American Lung Association in honor of Kevin's insanity!

On Saturday, we trooped up to Springfield, got lost, parked, got lost, found the building, got lost, found the race (Springfield is strangely confusing!), picked up Kevin's packet, and waited. Normally, the stairs are an emergency exit, so the start was essentially in a closet:

The climbers started in bib number order, one at a time, a minute apart. Kevin was number 12, so he started at 10:12.

I took this picture, then went back out into the lobby to wait. Kevin wasn't sure how long the climb would take, or how long it would take for him to catch his breath and get into the elevator (they don't climb back down--going downstairs is bad for your knees). I thought it might be 10 or 15 minutes till he got back, so I found a corner, put in my iPod, got out my knitting, knit less than a needle's worth of stitches (naturally, I was working on a sock).... and looked up to see Kevin coming out into the lobby too.

It turns out that 2 flights = 1 floor, so the climb was only half as long as he thought!

The whole climb took 3 minutes, 25 seconds (which was 7th out of 130-ish, as it turned out)! Definitely a sprint!! (That's about how long it would take Kevin to run between 1/2 and 3/4 miles, on a flat surface.)

Once we'd gotten as far as Springfield, we naturally went on to Northampton--where I unexpectedly bought enough Classic Elite Bamboo (Bam Boo?) for a summery sweater, a skein of sock yarn (of course), a shawl stick, and a pair of shoes (Danskos--the ones called Sally). Usually, I agonize about the effects of such purchases on my yarn mileage, but on Friday I got 5 skeins of sock yarn (4 for me, 1 for a design project) in the mail from Schaefer, so I apparently figured the damage was done already. (I have no such explanation for my Dansko addiction... except that they're so comfy and so cute! And I've decided they match everything else in my wardrobe.)

(Note to self: use some of your supposed free time to take pictures!)

Monday, March 9, 2009


I finished my 39th pair of socks on Friday, only 2 weeks behind schedule, and so have made some baby socks to catch up.

Moppet helped:

I think these socks should stay on, don't you?

And speaking of helping, Kevin's doing a stair climbing race in a few weeks to raise money for the American Lung Association of New England (and then he's doing a second one a while after that). I have an unreasonable hatred of climbing stars--I think it comes of living on the 4th (or 5th?) floor of a dorm with no elevator my first year in college--but he seems to enjoy it.

I may have told him too many times about the Yarn Harlot and Doctors Without Borders, because he's asked me to ask you to support him.

Also, people who live in New Haven, do you have access to lots of stairs (more than 12 flights) that you'd be willing to share with Kevin? Maybe at work? He's been practicing on the stairs at the gym, but they're a little weird, and not that similar to the stairs he'll be climbing in the race.

Monday, March 2, 2009


I keep running into blog posts about Wardrobe Refashion (most recently, two posts from PeacefulKnitter), and thinking "Hey, you were really good about sewing clothes a few years ago. You should do that!"

I was thinking it again over the weekend (at which point 2009 was going really well, not purchasing new mass produced clothing-wise. I'd only acquired 2 pieces of clothing: a t-shirt in January at the race Kevin and I ran in Israel--newly mass produced, yes, but free, and a souvenir--and I bought a slip--but handmade by a small, US-based business, so that's not so bad either), and thinking I'd sign up...

And then I talked to a couple of more experienced rowers about what I'll need to wear when we start rowing on the water in 3 (short, freezing) weeks. Now I think I need to buy better tights. Mass produced tights, made from completely unnatural, (probably) petroleum based, engineered fabric, likely in a sweatshop.

You'd think my running tights would work, except for one small problem: my warmest running tights have bootcut legs, and an attached skirt. Cute! But rowing, that loose extra fabric is a disaster waiting to happen. And I am a klutz.