Thursday, February 28, 2008

New(ish) car

This week I got a 2005 Honda Accord, grey exterior, grey leather interior. Heated seats! Sun roof! CD player! Total upgrade from the 1997 Accord.

In all the interactions with the salesmen (and they were men), it was just me, without Husband. This is significant because I kept wondering if they were trying to take advantage of me because I'm a woman.

Over the course of 10 days, I did manage to get them to bring the price down, so I'm happy. Mainly I'm happy to finally be done with looking at cars and just having a nice car to drive around in.

One of the other places I looked at, I went with Husband. At that big car lot, the salesman kept trying to talk to Husband too.

Husband's reaction was "Hey, it's her car, it's her decision, I don't need to be part of this." And he left to run errands. It was rather annoying to have the salesman keep talking to or about Husband. I wanted to say "Hey! Talk to me! It's my car, not his. So back to me. Especially since Husband's not even here."

So now I have a new(ish) car. And I get to park in the car port, because now my car, the 2005 Honda Accord, is the better and more expensive car, over Husband's 2000 BMW. hahahahahaha!

Atlanta 35 degrees, Miami 75 degrees

It is very cold in Atlanta. Yesterday I woke up to white stuff on the ground and on my car. I'm tempted to knit another beret, having given all my berets away.

However, tomorrow Husband and I go to South Beach, Miami, which will be in the high 70s F.

South Beach has a great Art Deco district, with bright pastel colors and lots of neon. Miami Vice was set there. I will be taking many many pictures and I just know that I'll want to come back and drench myself in the sunny colors of pink and yellow and turquoise and lime. That will be quite a contrast to my usual red, black and grey.

I will not be going on the South Beach diet. I will be on vacation!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Pictures of the parents

My parents left yesterday, to return to Taiwan. They had been Stateside 5 weeks, visiting their 4 children.

It was great having them here. We did way too much eating and nearly everything my mom cooks involves soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar. Mmmmm.

They were here for Chinese New Year, which occurred on February 7, 2008 this year. That week they happened to be in NYC, visiting Brother Two. Sister, Brother One, and I went up there to celebrate the new year together.

Everytime we were in a car, Ba and Brother One slept. I'm sure Brother Two would have slept too if he wasn't driving.

Here's a picture of Ma and Ba on New Year day. Guess where they are?

Ma's wearing a beret I knit from Colinette yarn 50% wool, 50% cotton, Meditterranean colorway. Ba's wearing a fleece hat he swiped from Sister's stash.

In every picture, Ba has the same expression. We tell him to smile, the flash goes off and then he smiles. But I did manage to get this picture.

Here's an obligatory picture of the Empire State Building.

The plan for the day was for all of us to going into Manhattan and meet Sister's boyfriend at Penn Station. He came up from DC for the occasion. Then we would split up and do some sight seeing or shopping and meeting at Bobby Van's Steakhouse for dinner.

Brothers One and Two split while the rest of us basically walked up and down 7th Avenue. I loved the energy of people rushing about at the end of their workday.

On the way to Times Square we passed Bryant Park, and it's Fashion Week! Sister and I are Project Runway fans and we were pretty happy to see this at the gates into Bryant Park.

Then, totally randomly, I saw Brothers One and Two. We were headed north and they were headed east and we met on the corner of Bryant Park. Here's a picture of Brother Two, a jaded New Yorker now that he's been there 6 months. Notice the look of contempt he's giving me as I take his picture, with the Chrysler Building all lit up in the background.

The Empire State Building may symbolized NYC (it helps that you can go up to the top and movies are set there), but the Chrysler Building is my favorite. Love that Art Deco top.

Here's a family portrait on that same corner. Sister's boyfriend took the picture.

Husband didn't make the trip with me. He was on 2 trial calendars for that week. In the end, neither case got reached and it turned out that he could have come with me. Oh well.

I asked Husband what he wanted as a souvenir. He said a picture of me with the NYPD. So here it is, in Times Square. Where, by the way, I saw the big scrolling news marquee saying that Mitt Romney dropped out. Yay!

On Feb 8, we all split up. Ma and Ba took the train to DC with Sister and her boyfriend. Brother One stayed for one more day with Brother Two. I took the plane back to Atlanta.

But before splitting, we hung out in Brother Two's efficiency and he dug out these:

Going left to right, it's Jerry, Ted Jr, and Jerry, all about 3 inches tall. They were Brother One and Two's little stuffed animals that they played with when they were small.

Ted Jr. is Brother One's. He was called Ted Jr. because he was the second teddy (the first one was lost, which was heart breaking for both Brother One and Ma), and smaller.

Jerry was Brother Two's, named after the mouse in the Tom and Jerry cartoons, which we loved watching. Great music too, with all that Gershwin and Copeland.

There are two because we thought we lost Jerry and Ma got him another. Then we found the first Jerry. I made the second Jerry his little vest. This was back when Raiders of the Lost Ark came out. Brothers would play Raiders with Ted Jr. and Jerry. I think I made Ted Jr. an outfit too, but clearly that didn't survive.

So, while Brother Two may be all sardonic and too cool for tourist pictures, clearly he's got a sentimental side too, if he's kept these little guys all these years.
Last picture of NYC: My siblings napping before heading out our separate ways. I got a hotel room for Ma, Ba, and various siblings to stay in, because we can't all fit in Brother Two's 400 sq ft efficiency.


The week after NYC, Ma and Ba came to Atlanta. Here we are at the High Museum of Art, which has an exhibit from the Louvre.

But we were there for the Georgia O'Keefe and the Women of the Steiglitz Circle exhibit. Alfred Steiglitz had this idea that women artists (as opposed to regular artists who were men), were more pure, more childlike. And he was pretty okay with taking naked pictures of them too. This exhibit did not make me like Steiglitz very much. But I loved the O'Keefe paintings and was happy to see works by her female peers.

Every night, it was quite an eating extravaganza. The beer and wine and other spirits flowed freely. This was a frequent sight, despite Ba's efforts to ward off the camera:

Here's their last night in Atlanta and Stateside. We're playing euchre, a card game which is pretty much a shortened version of bridge. Note the various libations. There's a reason I thought Husband might enjoy making his own beer.
Ma and Ba say that next year, they'll come visit in summer, when the weather will be nicer and they won't need to pack as much clothes. Which will make room for more books.
Every other day in each city they visited (DC, NYC, Atl), they went to a used bookstore. I don't know how many books they eventually got. Ba says 20. Ma says 50. That should tide them over until next year.
And to end this post, a picture of my parents, who have been married almost 40 years. Strangely, they are walking away from the grocery store, not towards it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Making Beer

Last night was our first attempt at making beer. It involves 5 gallon buckets and lots of boiling. Made the house smell good, like cereal and plant goodness, if that makes any sense.

For our first batch, we're making a Dortmunder beer and in a few weeks, we should be ready to bottle it up. And then where will we put 50 bottles of beer?

Nice dilemma to have, eh?

Friday, February 15, 2008


Today is Husband's birthday. Usually we don't exchange birthday and winter holiday gifts. We prefer to take trips, like the one to South Beach at the end of the month (woo hoo!).

But Husband is such a great guy (see yesterday's post) and so thoughtful, so I thought I should get him a good gift this year anyway.

So yesterday I got him a beer-making kit and equipment from Wine Craft. All that stuff pretty much filled up the trunk of my car. The first brew will be Dortmunder, a German beer. Husband's ethnically half German and worked in a German beer hall, so I thought that might be a good choice.

Well it was. Got a call from Husband. He loves the gift and is looking forward to getting started this weekend.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

I am taking today off.

Not because of Valentine's day, but because my parents are here visiting.

Husband is so sweet. He left a box of Valentine's chocolates for my parents with a newspaper cutting about animals that mate for life. Isn't that sweet?

Then on the refrigerator, I see this:
Ooooooooh! Trip to Miami? The dates are 2/29 to 3/2 so that'll be after Ma and Ba go back to Taiwan. A little romantic trip for us!

A few years ago for 6th our anniversary, he planned a trip to Miami and Key West. He wouldn't tell me where we were going, just that I should pack for a consistently 78 degree weather and that I should protecty my toes. It turned out to be Key West, where it's warm. And full of drunken revelers, hence the need to protect the toes.
Recently I mentioned that I really enjoyed Miami, and it turns out that we're going to South Beach, hence the neon buildings. Cool!

I have the best husband in the world. Tomorrow's his birthday. I got to get him something good.
So today I'm going to take my parents to Harry's Farmer's Market and go shopping and let my mom cook her heart out, and we'll eat it all, and everyone will be happy!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Scarves (and a hat) for the new year

For Chinese New Year, I made these scarves for my staff.
I was inspired by the sideways garter-stitch scarf I made from gift yarn. It got me thinking about color combinations and so I raided my stash and made these.

This is two skeins of Berroco Foliage. Love those bright sherberty colors. The recipient has worn things in those colors, except maybe the pink.
This is one skein of Manos del Uruguay in Wildflowers, with a skein of navy Cascade 220 and one stripe of Manos del Uruguay in Pomegranate (orange) and a random stripe in pink.

This was made of Merino Style and Andean Silk from KnitPicks. Can't remember the details, but they were originally bought to swatch for Sister's BiColor Cables sweater, which I ended up making in Cascade 220 and then abandoned because the sleeves were gorilla-sized.

This is about 2 balls of Lion Brand Landscapes yarn (love it!). The recipient of this scarf just loved the scarf made from the gift yarn. So I thought, hey, this yarn has those colors, and hey, why don't I make her a scarf. And hey, if I make her a scarf, I'll have to make everyone in the office scarves. Good thing I have a pretty sizable stash and only a handful of people to knit for. On big needles.

We also have a volunteer, who I can't overlook, so I made her a beret. One strand of Cascade 220 and one strand of KnitPicks sock yarn in Smores colorway. Not generally a big fan of brown, but I loved working this combination. The Smores colorway is a combo of chocolate brown, caramel tan (or graham cracker tan), marshmellow white, and ash grey.

Last Tuesday, I left the office last and wouldn't be back for the rest of the week because I was going up to NYC for Chinese New Year. So I was able to leave these little gifties behind to surprise them the next day, when I was gone.

When I got back today, they were all quite appreciative. Happiness all around and a great way to start the new year.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Happy Chinese New Year!

February 7 was Chinese New Year and I went up to NYC for a family reunion.

My parents are in the States to see their kids and last week was in NYC visiting Brother Two. Sister went up from DC and Brother One and I flew up from Atlanta. It was the first time all of us were in the same place at the same time since 2004 when Brother Two graduated from college.

Pictures and longer post to follow. No time now. Must continue cleaning in preparation for Ma and Ba's visit later this week.

And then prepare for the Van Halen concert tonight.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Shopping for Condos and Cars

Yesterday Husband and I went to see a 2 bed/ 2 bath condo in downtown Atlanta, at Twelve Centennial Park. Husband wants to live in a highrise in the downtown area, not trendy Midtown, nor upscale Buckhead, two areas seeing many new condo towers go up.

The unit we saw was about 1200 sq ft (including balcony), about half of the 2100 sq ft (not including patio and yard) that we have now. We saw about 3 units: facing SE towards the city, facing SW facing Centennial Olympic Park, and then a furnished unit, which gave us an idea of how much space we would have to move around once we had furniture in there.

Atlanta may not have a river, lake, or any other body of water, but it certainly has the freeway. I can imagine sitting out on the porch, watching the never ending stream of cars go by, especially at night. Husband likes the sound of the cars, of the feel of being in the city, so different from the quiet of the suburbs.

Given the softening housing market and possibility of interest rates dropping even more, now is a great time to buy. On the other hand, what would we do with our current house? We would probably rent it out.

We walked around the neighborhood, to get a feel for it. It's next to a MARTA stop so getting to the airport would be easy. A W hotel/condo is going up next door, it's in between Georgia State University (my alma mater) and Georgia Tech, and there's a possibility of a grocery store being built in a few years across the street.

Interestingly, 70% of the units at Twelve are one bedrooms. Guess that tells you what kind of people live there.

From hip, downtown condo, we went out to the northern suburbs of Roswell and Marietta to go car shopping. I think it's time to retire my 1997 Honda Accord for a newer 2005 Honda Accord. Yesterday was about test driving, not really about buying. Which was good because I didn't find the one I really liked in my price range.

In the end, we went to Harry's Farmer's Market in Marietta (possibly even the one that Alton Brown films segments of Good Eats at), got some kabobs and sausages, and went home to our suburban house to grill out. Certainly if we lived in a condo we wouldn't be able to do that.

All this is speculative, but it's certainly whetted our appetite to see more condos. So I went on line and contacted several more condos.

Come Monday, we'll see how many e-mail us back.