Sunday, June 30, 2013

Auntie Nettie's Attic Merchandise 2013 - June

June ...

How is it the last day of June already?

Well, I know I was at work for some of it. A few days a week anyway because there were the various Summer Fridays activities and the Miscellaneous Monday meanderings and meditations, but, I know I did other things, like:

~ errands and chores;
~ bills and blogging; 
~ train trips hither thither and yon;
~ annual reviews to talk about the white board of doom and my constant state of self-imposed stress/other issues;

~ dinner with the Ironic Mother  to catch up, discuss all her new ventures, her new book, and to trek to Levain bakery for some ridiculously yummy cookies;

~ there was the evening at Symphony Space with Neil Gaiman and the readings and realizations (a very good wrap-up was done by writer for ; and
 ~ the annual trek to Brooklyn for the staff staff party, which this introvert somehow survived--although the trip back from the borough with the new VP bosslady ALONE on the 2 was slightly painful for me, if also not for her.

It's actually amazing, given all that, that I had any time left to craft.

 But I did!

This month's crafting was inspired by something I saw about two years ago during Summer Streets. In the window of a boutique in Soho(?) I saw a shrug/cardigan made out of these spirals. I wanted to learn how to to do them. I'm still stash-busting, so I worked my way through a skein to figure it out.
 ANA 2013-21: Solo Spiral
(Part of skein of Bernat sparkly baby sport, acrylic)
 One strand could be worn a variety of ways:
 ANA 2013-20: Trio of Connected Spirals
(Part of skein of Bernat sparkly baby sport, acrylic)
I don't quite have the trick of connecting them up, like my inspiration shots, so I'll have to research a pattern, but this one could be worn "regular" or as a slip knot too. 
 Mint green might only work for a kid, or with the right outfit, but it was a practice piece. To be revisited later.

Now that my stash is being reduced, the afghan collection re-bagged for truck/train sales, and my shelves are re-organized, I have very few excuses not to tackle ... you know what ...

This little beauty of a multi-fibred, multi-colored, project that I only started three summer ago.
If I leave it in this position in the middle of my floor long enough, and I have to step over it at least three times a day when I go to and from the air conditioner and t.v., do you think I'll actually start working to finish it?

Only 7 more Summer Fridays to go.

I should deal with the shop too, at some point....

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Sumer Fridays 2013: Yarn & Order, Book 'Em Nettie

Maybe it's just me, and/or a sign of my years, but in order to keep track of all the various projects and deadlines I have going in various parts of my life, I've had to create and--more importantly--post lists of all the various things that I would like to accomplish. Like my annual holiday timeline, this list is posted in a very visible spot in my kitchenette and it serves as a constant reminder of things I should or could be doing, instead of goofing off on say, the Internet.
list c. June 2013
By the end of last year, the two-sided list for 2012 was full of annotations, cross-outs, and check-offs, but there were still things I didn't get done. Some of those items carried over to the 2013 list, and were supplemented by new goals, projects, and things to-do.

We're half way through 2013 now, not to mention all the way through June, with its Summer Fridays and Miscellaneous Mondays, and my 2013 list does not have nearly enough things crossed off.

On my most recent Summer Friday, however, I tackled one of the biggest, and long over-due projects -- The Shelves. New York studios are not known for their spaciousness, so you have to be creative with storage and judicious about adding to various collections. For me, that means yarn, media, books, and various collectibles live in the same scarce shelf space, and it was time to reorganize, alphabetize, shift, and cull. The catalyst was that I really needed to find room to integrate nine volumes of this blog printed out into book format ... 
Then there is also the fact that I keep an inventory list in Excel, of materials listed by type, author, publication date, genre, and locations on my own shelves that needed updating since I did it last in 2010/11?

Yes. I'm that person! Hello!? Have you met me? I am a librarian. If my own isn't organized, they may revoke my card. (Which reminds me--I owe annual dues.)

First, everything not a regular "book" had to come off and be put into various type piles, and then alpha/author rows came down to be dusted, inventoried, and then either re-ordered or culled. (It was also laundry day, thus the bed stripped of linens down to the bare mattress. The house was totally a mess of stuff drying or all over the place. The "Rs" could have interrupted my ZZZs if I didn't finish.)
At first things went quickly. The first two shelves saw me getting rid of 18 books. But after that, it was slow going ... At one point I thought it was going to be the death of me and I sent out a message to the effect of: If you don't hear from me later and they find my body under piles of paper/shelves, please tell my nieces/nephews I loved them very much. But then I buckled down again.

I usually do little culls as I go along i.e. one book in, one book out, but it got away from me in the last year or so, especially recently with a collection of ARCs, new/growing scrapbooks, and the new blog books. The design trend lately is to organize bookshelves by color, but that would make me CRAZY. As it is I have two authors out of alpha order and I itch. Of course, it's because those two authors need two-three shelves each ... That's totally normal, yes? It's not an obsession, it's a collection.
After: 3 of the 4, Cameo by Maxxie
Part of why it took all day was because I was dusting, reorganizing, editing the spreadsheet, doing research on, Wikipedia, and Goodreads, adding to my wish lists for missing pieces of the collection/replacements for VHS to new formats, and then sending out e-mails to people to see if they would take things off my hands. (Only one taker for one of the 30+ items that eventually need new homes!)

One more Summer Friday down - one more thing off the list. I've got to tackle the clothes collections later ... I'm scared. Two bureaus, two closets, 2 under bed storage buckets ... Two summer months to go.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Auntie Nettie Reads A LOT 2013 - 2nd Quarter

Well, I usually read a lot MORE (see the earlier lists), but this year has also been "read"iculous. I was on the road/rails a lot, or staring at my iTouch or computer screens. 

The usual caveat applies: If you are just finding the blog, please note that this list was maintained mainly so that I could remember what I've read this year. The record does not fully represent me or all of my interests, so don't judge my reading habits. My interests change quite frequently. Also, as a general rule, I don't do book recommendations or link to major retailers or publishers. Except for the ARCs listed below [thanks major publishers!], most of these books came from MY library or a public library.

Go forth, use your library card and READ! 

April through June 2013 
Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich
Wicked Business by Janet Evanovich
The Finishing Touches by Hester Browne
Book I forgot to write down
Frost Burned (Mercy Thompson Novel) by Patricia Briggs
Cold Days (A Novel of the Dresden Files) by Jim Butcher
You & I, Me & You: A Novel by MaryJanice Davidson
Friendship makes the heart grow fonder by Lisa Verge Higgins
The Iron Wyrm Affair by Lilith Saintcrow
On the Island: A Novel by Tracey Garvis Graves
Peril in Paperback: A Bibliophile Mystery by Kate Carlisle
Ghoul Interrupted: A Ghost Hunter Mystery by Victoria Laurie
What a Ghoul Want: A Ghost Hunter Mystery by Victoria Laurie
Lethal Outlook: A Psychic Eye Mystery by Victoria Laurie
2 others started and stopped
I also think I returned a few without noting the titles!
The Great Escape by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
The Blue-Ribbon Jalapeno Society Jubilee by Carolyn Brown
Swept Off Her Feet: A Novel by Hester Browne
Vanity Fare: A Novel of Lattes, Literature, and Love by Megan Caldwell
The Confidant: A Novel by Helen Gremillon, translated by Alison Anderson
A Cookbook Conspiracy: A Bibliophile Mystery by Kate Carlisle
The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen by Syrie James
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Neil Gaiman's 'Make Good Art' Speech by Neil Gaiman and graphic artist Chip Kidd
Vader's Little Princess by Jeffrey Brown
The First Lady by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr
Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Photo of the day: Somewhere Over the Rainbow

View from the train, June 26, 2013, Evening Rush
Apparently the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow can be found off the expressway in Queens.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wreck it Wednesday: Wreck this Journal Updates

From the Preface: 
Warning: During the process of this book you will get dirty. You may find yourself covered in paint, or any other number of foreign substances. You will get wet. You may be asked to do things you question. You may grieve for the perfect state that you found the book in. You may begin to see creative destruction everywhere. You may begin to live more recklessly. 

It's been a while since I've posted the updates about my Wreck this Journal, but I have been slowly working on it. This past week, in particular, saw a burst of activity - mostly while I was waiting for other things to happen. It was good to use it to process other things that were going on.

Updates on existing pages:
The above is a riff on the apocryphal library school story about raw bacon being used as a book mark. It's a print add for Oscar Mayer (? I think) bacon, that uses Boolean operators. I'm a geek.

New pages:
Everything smells like Tea Rose perfume now ... It's kind of nice, especially when you don't have time to go out and smell real roses. Also, I bet people of a certain age can't get a Tears for Fears song out of their head. (This one.)

This one word is PATIENCE - what I was trying to exercise one night at Symphony Space while waiting my place in line for Neil Gaiman to sign The Ocean at the End of the Lane.
I filled this page up too quickly, to the amusement of an usher. So I moved on to this one. I had already slapped the two Janet Evanovich stickers in there, and it let to some interesting internal debates. It started in the lower left corner of the Morelli page and wrapped around, saying things like:

~8:30 pm  6/19/13 waiting for GAIMAN @Symphony Space OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE
It is completely silly that I am actually dedicating these two pages to an internal monologue - especially one that now has to focus on two fictional characters in a series of novels that has unfortunately gotten to be formulaic but I stuck these stickers here so I might as well commit. Plus I have time to kill waiting for a much more intriguing novelist to sign his most latest book. The usher may have a point ... Why do I/we need autographs from writers? Shouldn't the book be enough? Obviously NOT, as a full sold-out house is waiting for this guy to sign their book, and their stuff, so they have another piece of him. But this was supposed to be a monologue about MORELLI vs. Ranger. Morelli - reformed bad boy, house, home, dog, job, family, still enough bad to attract. Ranger - international man of mystery, sexy as hell - but... Not one to settle down with, no shared childhood/cultural BURG history. After all the back and forth, it's really annoying. Pick one or choose yourself. It's 2013! You don't need a man. Really. I mean, it's nice and all, but ... seriously. Time to grow up Stephanie, the character. Janet the novelist should have moved on 10 books ago. The audience has, and I have wasted two pages writing about this and the signing line hasn't moved!
P.S. After writing this, getting dinner @ 9:30 and waiting 2+ hours, watching train schedule -- decided author's work more imp. than autograph. Gave him 1 less interaction, me home around midnight, less commute stress, and some sleep. May be short-sided, but there it is. 
11:50 PM 6/19/13
Post-note: According to the author and organizers, Neil Gaiman wasn't done signing until after 1 a.m. If I had left at the end of the reading, like my colleague, I would have gotten a pre-signed book. I waited until 10:30 and left with an unsigned copy. Who was the smarter one?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Summer Fridays 2013: Third Same as First

Look, I know I had mentioned other plans for these Summer Fridays, but sometimes ...

Volunteering to help a good institution and a good, nay GREAT, friend is more important than doing other things.

Friday saw me heading up to Katonah again to lend a set of hands to Christine and Caramoor as they prepared for their Opening Night Gala for their 68th Summer Music Festival.

I was a little early, so I enjoyed the view and a pastry from Noka Joe's.

I'm glad I did. It was full speed ahead. So full speed ahead, that I didn't take photos. Not that I really had anything exciting to photograph. It was a working day, full of Gala prep. Plus, I was under a self-imposed "embargo" on Gala details. I was there to help -- not goof off. Aside from Christine and Chrystal, her entire staff--from the CEO, to the Dir. of Development, to the other fund-raising staff--were new to Caramoor. She and I knew what was ahead, for the Gala and the Festival. It was time to buckle down. I brought snacks to help everyone through the day. I even kept some people hustling. (I know I got looks about it, but they'll "get it" later.)

The day consisted of many tasks, like double checking ticket buyer lists, alpha and table lists; doing research via online and  database records on real estate holdings; helping with stacks of filing and sorting; organizing and stuffing over 250 gala gift bags with 2 types of perfume, stationary, a stress ball, brochures, and tissue paper, etc. (how to get 10,000 daily step in - walking around and around and around a worktable; moving, unpacking, relabeling, and repacking 15 large cases of wine; and ripping, stuffing, and playing a type of  ticket bingo/concentration with all the gala envelopes. After all of that, who needs a gym? But whoa, have I TOTALLY lost my Caramoor/Festival muscle tone and stamina. 

Sadly, due to the late, 1-train-an-hour, schedule from Katonah, I had to leave by 11:15 p.m. before they were really done for the day. You do experience the most interesting things on the late night commuter trains, like skunk smells, like drunk college kids, insomniacs, etc. Skunk is a particularly fragrant odor when mixed with drunk people fumes and the smell of stale urine on train platforms.

Here are some of my other tips from the day: 

~ Volunteering is good, but can be exhausting too. Don't be too proud to file, shred, or aphabetize piles of paper if that's what the institution needs.

~ If you ever plan to attend a special event, please a) RSVP in a timely fashion b) pay attention to invite & c) thank the event staff. They're already tired BEFORE the event.

~ FINALLY: Do visit . The grounds are lush, offerings diverse, and the staff is marvelous.

Did you know it was recently named one of CNN's top 8 outdoor music venues? Really!

Here's an Instagram from Caramoor from Opening Night;

"Tickets are printed, musicians have arrived, ushers are ready, and our Gala has begun! What a perfect night for #openingnight for Caramoor."
via @caramoor Instagram
Although I didn't go up again on Saturday for Opening Night, I already have plans to visit again in July, for another Caramoor "alumni" reunion. Can't wait!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Manhattan Monday - Wandering the Line

As the Big J's fiscal year came to a close, I realized that I had some personal days off that I would "lose" if I didn't take them, so I took a couple of Mondays off. Fortunately for me, one of these Mondays aligned with a day that my friend Michelle was planning to visit from Miami.

Last Monday, I spent the day running errands around Manhattan. First I had to take the train in, get poppy seeds from Spice and Tease at the Grand Central Market, get money from the ATM, tickets from the machines, and then schlep over to a branch of the New York Public Library. Turns out the iconic Schwarzman Building at 42nd Street with the lions protecting it, doesn't have a drop-box for returning items. Good thing the Mid-Manhattan branch is katty-korner to the big cats. I don't like to have over-due items. It's a professional guilt thing.
Then it was off to the Chelsea Market to get some goods for various parties last week before meeting up for lunch with Michelle. The Market is a little touristy at times, but if you know where you are going and exactly what you want, it's easier.
(blurry iTouch photos from inside the Market)

It had been a while since I'd been, and turns out the shop, The Nut Box, that I was going to see has revamped down from having pre-packaged and bulk fruit, nuts and candies, down to just pre-packaged. I *might* have gotten too much, between that shop and the Chelsea Market Basket Company. I didn't realize how much I actually was hauling around the rest of the day until I got home and unbagged 9.5 POUNDS of assorted nuts, snacks, grains, and fruit. No wonder my shoulder was killing me.
After a deliciously long chatty lunch at The Green Table (get the red quinoa falafel platter, trust me), some coffee for Michelle and a wait in the line for the restrooms, it was off to wander the High Line.
The last time I visited the High Line was in the winter, with Jane, a few years ago. What a difference a season or two can make (and switching cameras!) The second section was open, lush, and the area is blossoming up around it. In addition to art being made on the Line,
 art is being added by Line, by buildings around it,
 and on billboards in the area.
It is so nice to see the hard lines of the City open up to green spaces, 
 to have spots of color, unexpected views, have nature disguise and reveal new things.
 Like the various backyards, patios, and other special spaces that people carve out for themselves.
It was so easy to fall back into conversational rhythms, relax, regroup, and get caught up in the High Line, that the sudden summer thunderstorm that rolled in was a surprise. 
Whoops. There are the clouds. Maybe it's not a good idea to be elevated, on a line with metal tracks, or hiding out under the metal scaffolding that leads to the part where section II and III of the High Line will meet up. Needless to say, Michelle and I got out of there, and wandered through the rain and puddles back to the subway to head back to Grand Central for our trains back to various destinations.

Thanks again, Michelle, for always making time to squeeze me into your New York itinerary! I'm so glad that we're able to pick up where we leave off - and that you get my weird sense of humor when we stumble across weird vignettes like this!