30 March 2010

Going to the Bayou

Apologies to those on my e-mail list who also read my blog, but I couldn't NOT post this here. I actually could not post it until now, although I wrote and sent this message on March 13.

Shawn has accepted a position at Louisiana State University! We will be moving from New York to Baton Rouge in early August and are really looking forward to the next phase of our lives.

Shawn will be an assistant professor with a teaching load of one and one, and he’ll have a lot of great opportunities for collaboration. And the school’s color is purple!

Beyond permanent employment and a clear career path for Shawn, the move to Baton Rouge will provide a home base and some life luxuries I’m really looking forward to: more living space (a real bedroom!), a washer and dryer, and a car. I’m giddy just thinking about the positive changes in store for us, but there’s also a bittersweet feeling about leaving New York that has surprised me.

Our time here has been filled with ups (getting engaged at the Top of the Rock) and downs (remember the bedbugs?). The long goodbye to the city has begun. We will be doing all the touristy things we haven’t yet done and enjoying a final spring in the city. Someone told me that New York is an easy place to visit once you’ve lived here, but I know won't be the same.


We are both over the moon about this opportunity and all the future holds for us. Go Tigers!

My Own IT Technician

Last night I spent a couple hours playing with Blogger in Draft and ended up with a new-ish look for this blog. It's wider ... which was one of my main dislikes about the old template choices ... and I tweaked the colors a bit more. I really like the new template options but decided against a photo background. Maybe later.

Next up -- making silvermari.com the home of this blog and doing away with the few outdated pages that live on that domain now. I think I've got the steps to do that, just need to implement them. And it's possible the blog would be down for a couple days, so I'll have to be strategic. The blogspot URL will still work -- just forward to my domain.

I think I can make tabs within the blog and have a static "about" section, or just have my crochet project posts together ... still exploring and mulling. But I think I've convinced myself to stay with blogspot and it's Google-y goodness instead of the hassle of transferring/updating to a WordPress blog. It's also made me think about my old Tripod blog and whether I could/should port over some of those entries. It would give me a more robust archive, which could be good for SEO.

Related techno-wizardry. I got a new work computer. It came in a box ... with no instructions. There is a docking station that seemed pretty self explanatory, but who knew? I did manage to figure out how to get everything working -- laptop in the docking station, connected to monitor, etc. And I can switch back and forth relatively easily to the old tower (because I've inevitably forgotten to wipe various things off the tower and need to look up some settings, etc.). This is the same computer that had my login set as "Mary" ... setting off the snit fit of a couple weeks ago.

I've also read through (top-line) all the posts on this blog, modifying a couple ... everything seems OK now, but we'll see. It was fun to travel back in time. Like talking to younger versions of myself. I really do write like I talk, although I'm not sure the people who tell me that mean it as a complement. Meh.

29 March 2010

Easy Shells in Soft Fern


Green Baby
Originally uploaded by silvermari
This blankie ended up smaller than I expected, 28 inches square, but it's so soft that I expect to give it to its intended mom-and-baby anyway. It really is an easy pattern, from the book Dale gave me, and I picked a complimentary border from the same book that worked out really nice.

I have several more projects in the works, found out about some more babies-to-be and placed a little order at Herrschner's. I have the makings of 1-2 more blankets here and no shortage of patterns I want to try. I'm on a roll here!

27 March 2010

A Cake for the Day He Was Born


Shawn and Cake 2010
Originally uploaded by silvermari
I baked a cake today!

Shawn's birthday is tomorrow. Happy, happy day!

The cake was OK -- a little tough for some reason, probably was over mixed but made from scratch and with LOVE! I got to use my PURPLE Kitchen-Aid mixer. Wedding present for the win.

Click on his photo to see more images from the cake baking process on Flickr.

There's probably a way to use Picasa to show a slideshow of them here, but all this baking tuckered me out. And the basketball games. Yowza! My bracket is a mess. But so fun to watch the games.

There's a chill in the air here - after a warm weekend when we sat outside in Washington Square Park. Crazy weather, but soaking it up anyway.

25 March 2010

The Elegance of the Hedgehog

The Elegance of the Hedgehog The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The language in this book is superb. It seems even better knowing that it was translated from French. The characters are incredible. I felt like I could see them. I forced myself away from my usual gulping of words, paragraphs, pages and savored each brief chapter (one is a single sentence). Certain passages gave me pause, made me think and I'm still ruminating on what it all means, especially with the unexpected ending. Highly recommended. This book was a gift from a colleague.

View all my reviews

Pinwheels in White

This is a stunner -- a pieced baby blanket made for my cousin Kelli. It took a lot of time because of the 52 individual motifs and putting them together. The border was a dream and I crocheted backward for the first time (reverse half DC - nice). I can't wait to hear how it goes over at the baby shower this weekend. I got it finished and sent just under the wire!

18 March 2010

Filters

I realize now that I am way TMI with some of the things I tell coworkers. And yet I'm stifled in others (not by my own choosing). Will be glad when this is behind me and my message is no longer controlled by others.

Ever heard of Walker Coon Hounds? I hadn't until Shawn's buddy suggested we get one. Oh brother. Puppies are cute though.

Shawn is activating my new SIM card to use in my old phone and de-activating the SIM card that's in the lost/stolen phone. I'm not sure if it was just lost in the dishes when the table was cleared or if someone picked it up and didn't turn it in to lost and found. I didn't have an "ICE" (in case of emergency) contact ... and the only number labeled other than a name is "WORK" ... so if it is ever found maybe someone will call work. Dummie returns, and I'm going to put it behind me. Things fade with time so this will be less awful later.

Another lovely mental break down is that I forgot the cord for my work laptop in the office. Thankfully the cord to my personal laptop fits/works (Dell to Dell compatibility for the win), but I still hope they'll send it to me. I couldn't get confirmation that it was even still there. Guess it's a big pain to walk into a room and look on the floor. Geez, could I be any crankier?

Likely if I don't get something to eat soon.

The last time I was this stressed and forgetful was during CNS -- I left my entire purse on the shuttle bus to the car. I remember chasing the bus all around Annapolis until it got to the depot. I did get my purse back then, but it was an ordeal. I guess being flaky isn't an exception ... just part of my nature and I'm not as together as I'd like to think. Wah.

End of broken record.

17 March 2010

THE WORST

I'm on the train to NYC. Acela wifi hasn't done much besides stress me out. I did get to catch up on my non-work blog feeds. I have been WAY off reading my work feeds. A lower priority than production.

I am exhausted -- totally and completely, as always after the big day of events. I'm even more upset because of the phone situation. It's 100% my fault, but dishonest people don't make things easier when I make mistakes like this.

Shawn was able to turn on something called "family map" to see where the phone was. And he could see it was in Arlington, VA. So either a waiter pocketed the phone when clearing the table or (less likely) it fell in the cab (I split the first cab from the auditorium to the hotel, so I had to slide across and had my purse and backpack). The auditorium people said a guest must have taken it (I know they can't actually do anything about the wait staff but it would have been nice to admit it). And would it even be theft if it was just left there? I'm wondering if I can report it stolen. I never would have lost it if I haven't had to tweet about the event. Whatever.

I still have my old phone, and I was actually a better texter on that phone anyway. I didn't lose contacts because they're backed up on the old phone and I have an excel file backup of numbers. Still, I'm just SICK over the carelessness. I like to be together, and so often I am not. Just ... ridiculous.

The wifi is super slow and I'm so hungry. I don't know how long this train ride is but I should probably go look for some food. I am really hating on myself though.

16 March 2010

come uppance

lost my phone. very distraught. had it all day and must have left it on the table at the dinner. it's on vibrate so even if it were in something or someone picked it up (or if it fell out in the taxi?) it wouldn't ring.

i have a lot of expletives to say. but it's just a phone and will be a hassle to replace but whatever, i can do it. i will just be glad to figure something out.

EFF.

i got my come uppance (?) because i was teasing someone about picking something up/forgetting something. and then i go and do this. i'm so tired and upset.

15 March 2010

Guitar World

Being in Dupont Circle takes me back in time a little bit. That was the main subway stop during my DC summer internship (gasp, NINE years ago ... surely that's not right, but it is).

I would ride the bus from the Georgetown dorms and walk to my internship office. (If I'm remembering correctly I did not take the subway every day, although I could be wrong.)

There's the guitar shop where David found strings ... David the ringer for Justin Timberlake. Wonder what happened to him.

And the Starbucks where I figured out that what I really like to drink -- mocha frappuccino (can you say sugar rush?) and first ate an espresso brownie. (Don't judge, I'm from the middle of nowhere! Starbucks was a big deal to me when I was 20!)

Everything came together swimmingly for tomorrow. I know I'll have trouble sleeping tonight, but tomorrow night's sleep will be BLISS.

14 March 2010

Topaz

Checked into the hotel in DC for the work event. Was quite the ordeal to get here ... an hour behind schedule and just ... yech. I didn't plan food so got super super hungry.

As a member of this hotel reward thing I get a "raid the honor bar" thing -- $10 worth of free honor bar stuff. Oh man, I was so hungry and took a look through the offerings. There was a King Size Snickers bar -- a COLD king size Snickers bar. You'll be proud to know that I abstained and managed to get to a restaurant (where I had a hamburger, but still...). I wish there were a way to ask for a "no sugar" or "low sugar" honor bar. Or maybe I should have just said no thanks to the key. I don't want to leave the free $10 of food though -- probably enough for one bottle of water. Oh brother.

The hotel room itself is SWANK. Bigger than our apartment (minus the kitchen). There's a seating area with a couch -- a PURPLE couch. OMG! The bed is huge and plush. The TV is ginormous. There's free wifi (another perk of this hotel reward thing) and a sitting area for make up application. HA! And this week I'll actually be wearing some makeup. Hope I remember how to put it on. Also Topaz is my birth stone.

I had my meeting with the mystery letter writer. She does live in a rehab place or halfway house. Nothing was clear except she wants to move to Oklahoma (specifically Tulsa), where she thinks that she will get more for her money (probably true BUT Tulsa is still a city). She didn't ask me specifically for anything, but I will pray for her and over the situation. She suggested going to a museum or city garden together, but I'm not sure I'm comfortable doing that. BUT I didn't know how to say that, so she probably thinks I will call her. And I'll have to feel guilty about that for a while.

Daylight savings time is killing me. I had to get up earlier than normal to get to church before the service to meet with this woman. And then with the time change it was even EARLIER, basically I woke up two hours earlier than a normal Sunday and one hour earlier than a normal workday! This week will be full of odd times, given that I have to wake up earlier and actually commute tomorrow and Wednesday, and of course Tuesday my day starts at 7 a.m. and will last until 10 p.m. or thereabouts.

Here's hoping for a smooth, easy and successful day of events.

10 March 2010

Snit Fit

Technology is really killing me. Today my router/modem/something decided to randomly block all access to my work VPN and email server. So for about two hours I was effectively offline and using gmail to work.

And now that the connection is done, whatever the IT guy did when he remotely accessed my system wiped out my Firefox settings. The font looks different (I even reset it and don't know how to get it to look right) and ALL my bookmarks -- pouf, gone. Luckily most of them are on my Firefox on another computer and/or are Google Bookmarks that are not browser-specific, but BIG dud to see my carefully laid out bookmark toolbar wiped out. Slowly rebuilding it, but that's not a big deal BECAUSE I finally got the new work computer I'd been promised for more than half a year and would need to transfer bookmarks anyway.

I turn on said laptop (finally making sense for working remotely, two years later) and see my login name as Mary. I flipped out (I was already dealing with the connection issues and didn't know the problem was in my router/modem yet). I've worked there nearly four years and my name still gets messed up? Pissy pissy pissy!

I spent like 5 minutes with the new computer and was able to reset my name to be Mari. It's still wonky and I'll need to spend time installing some other programs, but I'm much calmer. I need to remember to act with kindness ... snit fits are not at all flattering, trust me. And they get me exactly nowhere.

09 March 2010

Weirdness Waits

Correspondent to the crazies?

I got a letter yesterday -- to this address although the apartment was incorrect. Mysterious return address in Queens.

Reading the letter ... it's from someone at church. I can't tell if the church gave her my address (my checks have the old apartment number on them, so it's impossible for me to get them to understand I've moved because they base everything on the money, honey) or if she gave the letter to the church office to address (different ink and the handwriting looks a little different on the address itself, although I'm not entirely sure).

Whatever the case, the letter talks about Stillwater, Oklahoma, and begs me to call her. (My name and former church were listed in the bulletin when I transferred my membership ... and yes, I didn't transfer membership to either my Maryland or Virginia churches ... and I should have joined the NYC church sooner, but hindsight, 20-20 and all that.)

The letter asked to call between 1 pm and 5 pm "for reasons she would explain." So I tried around 2 pm and got a busy signal. Hit redial a few times, still busy. Had a bunch of work stuff crop up, on and on, but just before 5 I remembered to try again and the call went through.

She practically cried and still wasn't clear about what she wants from me other than to talk. I'm going to meet her before church on Sunday. Just what I need.

I have a feeling she's living in rehab or something because she talked about where she lives as the ghetto, not a nice place, but basically seemed to imply that she has a curfew and ... I don't know. It all seems very sketchy BUT I think meeting in the church can't be too bad and maybe she's just a lonely person who needs to talk. I seem to know another person like that ... (hello, my name is Mari and I'm terrible at making friends.)

Speaking of my ability to demolish seemingly strong friendships, I dreamed about Sage last night. It was so real and bizarre. I think it was prompted because we saw a woman with the EXACT same face as Sage at the NYU women's basketball games at Stevens.

That in itself (the championship game) was a lot of fun, but I seriously think we were were the ONLY two NYU fans there. There were a few other people from NYU but I think they were all members of the athletics department and therefore couldn't cheer/boo/whatever. We harassed the opposing fans (who were sitting all around us) ...

I have a seriously loud clap, the gym was otherwise quite and I would do a rhythmic clap during NYU's key defensive moments. That made the Stevens fans so upset and annoyed that they started doing it to NYU when Stevens was on defense. It's very effective. I guess my Big 12 cheering skills came in handy there. (And the NYU women won the game/tournament ... although it came down to luck I thought, since their defense was utter poo.)

So I'm a fan, but not a fan girl in that I can't bring myself to actually speak to the players/tell them good job or that I enjoyed watching them compete this year. So I do it semi-anonymously on a blog that they'll never read.

Go Violets!

06 March 2010

A Violet Affair

The NYU Women's Basketball team didn't do as well as we hoped in the season, although I'm sure they're feeling it too. Anyway, they didn't make it in the NCAA D3 tournament and so are playing in some type of local tournament? They're seeded 6th, but will play in the championship game tomorrow. We went to the semi-final tonight because it was local -- in Hoboken, just a Path train ride away.

Getting there was easy ... empty car on the train that showed up right as we swiped our Metro cards. Finding the gym was a little trickier, but we had plenty of time and the 20-ish minute walk wasn't bad -- especially with views of the skyline across the Hudson. I don't think I'll ever tire of looking at that!

The game itself was a winner. The gym was quiet ... and actually smaller than the gym in Indiahoma, OK, where we played our knees out on the ridiculous cement-based floor. It was a neutral site, in that the other team was from a different school too. And there weren't too many fans. We were close up to the action and could actually hear the players talking to each other on the court, which was odd. NYU's gym isn't huge, but we sit near the back so we definitely are removed from the players! (I sometimes wonder if they recognize us like we recognize them ... like seeing them in the gym where some of them work, or if they even care about having fans/a following.)

We cheered with the best of them and the team pulled out a victory. BUT one of the team members wasn't suited up. And I can't figure out what happened to her/how she was injured (odd since I read all the summaries). AND another player wasn't there at all -- someone who had been doing really well. I can't find any news about that either. All I can think of is she is either sick or got kicked off the team, although that seems like even the bad student journalists at the NYU publications would figure that out and write about it. One would think.

St. Patrick's Day is coming up and apparently Hoboken celebrates all month long. It's been a while since I've seen so many drunk people all together. It was disconcerting, felt unsafe and awful. I'm not sure I'd ever be happy doing that, even though it's what you're supposed to do as a young, hip person. I'll just cling to my youth while I can. In the midst of green-clad kids we waited for the train back, ended up on the wrong platform because of poor signage and had to cross over. Got on the train, were very crowded by the people, but finally made it home.

An unexpected date night, and not really a "New Yorker" thing to do. But it was fun.

Go Violets!

Reviews: Two Memoirs

Prairie Tale: A Memoir Prairie Tale: A Memoir by Melissa Gilbert
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I bought this at The Strand - the newly released paperback version. Never heard about it when it was first released. It's interesting because she's a celebrity, but not very well written -- some weird errors/inconsistencies in how names are spelled. And I kept wanting Rob Lowe to show up again at the end. I really wanted her to end up with her first boyfriend. Other things were glossed over, and I hated that she didn't even mention her sister Sara's success, or explain why Sara used her last name, although they are sisters via their mother. It was a ridiculously fast read because it is written at a low level, but I liked it enough and it was probably better than reading a gossip mag, since it was likely mostly true, at least as true as her memory could produce.

House Rules House Rules by Rachel Sontag
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Another day, another memoir. This girl's life was awful, in the psychological torment she endured by her dad and the impact of her weak mom staying with him. I kept hoping for it to get better, as in, she would break through and find a way to fully be free of him. And while she's estranged from her dad at the end (and therefore pretty much from her mom), it didn't seem very hopeful or happy. There wasn't really a message within the book, or a lesson to be learned. That made me think "I could do this," (meaning write a memoir, not be estranged from my family) BUT I'm not sure my family life/growing up story is as interesting ... or that I would be able to publicly air it like Rachel does. I am interested in what happened after the book was published. If her dad exploded or if it's just continued to keep the rift between them growing wider. The author lives in NYC.

View all my reviews

05 March 2010

Multitasking Fool

Randomly, what I was doing last night almost simultaneously: crocheting, watching TV and reading a book.

I would crochet while watching the show (only 7 motifs left before I can put the baby blanket together!), and then on commercials would read.

Probably not healthy at all. I'm not so much concentrating on anything these days but just skimming the surface -- to get the book read, the blanket crocheted or the TV show watched.

Am I enjoying the act of doing these things?

Probably not as much as I would if I did things one at a time. Perhaps an experiment in my future to be more deliberate and separate my activities.

03 March 2010

Marching

Yeah, staying away from blogging has been more of a forced thing than an "ah, no blog to write" kind of feeling.

Yesterday on the way home from the gym I had a moment ... a happy to be alive, to be able to walk, to breathe, to exercise, to live, to love, and on and on. Bee-bopping to my music down the city sidewalks. I even put a happy spin on the broken elevator and having to walk up 8 flights of stairs (my butt got an extra workout)!

During work I am LESS grateful and introspective. I don't know when I got SO MEAN to people (oh yeah, I've always been this mean). I know I should be grateful to be employed at all ... eh.

I have a canker sore in the back of my throat. It is the worst, and may be the beginnings of a sore throat, although here's hoping it's just a sore that goes away. Be glad I don't take a picture of it, because I really could and it would GROSS YOU OUT!

Webcamming tonight though and I'll for sure show my Owen boy. He's always showing me the inside of his mouth, so maybe he'll get a kick out of seeing mine. We'll see.

To the library!