Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Amanda visited me!

YES! After 2.5 years of living on the same coast, our schedules aligned such that Amanda could drive up from DC to catch a glimpse into my life in grad school.

She arrived Friday night, and after catching up for a while, we slept in preparation for our big day in the Big Apple. Mandy met the "delightfully dingy" (I think those were her words!) NJ Transit on our 8am train ride, in which we clung to our lattes and planned our adventure.

Amanda does love her coffee!
Waitin' for the train, man.

After some unnecessary sprinting for a subway, we enjoyed a ride reminiscent of so many from this summer in DC. Out in Times Square, we found the TKTS discount booth "under the red steps" and joined the queue just before the booth opened at 10am. We were ready. Nibbling on oatmeal bars, we consulted the reader board and were delighted to find almost all of our choices were available! (Wait--what is TKTS, you ask? Why, it's an amaaazing place to get 50% off of Broadway tickets! Yes!) At 10:25, we bought tickets for the matinee showing of the playAugust: Osage County. SWEET.

Now that we were three steps from contracting FROSTBITE (it was 17 deg F with windchill), Starbucks was a necessity. (Half of Manhattan apparently thought so, but at least we warmed up during the wait!) The M&Ms store caught her eye next, and we ooed and aawed at the pretty colors:

I am an M&M.
Amanda is an M&M.

Then we briskly strolled up to Rockefeller Center (somehow she missed that on her previous trip to the city), waved at the skaters, and popped into some pricey stores--you know, Aldo, Kenneth Cole, and American Girl Place. Back down to Times Square for lunch at a cute little place called Viva Panchos at Broadway and 44th. Andy joined us for dee-lish Mexican food and margaritas.

Now it was time for August!! It was in the gorgeous little Music Box Theater, and oh man--we had perfect seats right in the middle of the orchestra section. I surreptitiously took a picture of the lovely set with my phone, but let's face it--the internet has better ones:

(or it's the backdrop on this site)

We were blown away completely by the acting. It was PHENOMENAL! Estelle Parsons (Oscar winner for best supporting actress in Bonnie and Clyde) was a mean, bitter, pill-addicted matriarch of a dysfunctional family that included Tony winners and film actors (we recognized Frank Wood from the Changeling). [Well the family members were not Tony winners...they were played by Tony winners...ahem.] It was a horribly depressing look at a couple of weeks in this family's life and how it develops and/or deteriorates. However, I'd definitely recommend it based on the shocking twists, intense and witty dialogue and fabulous acting!

We bummed around 5th Ave for a while, but were toooo coooold. We got the 8pm train home, ate ravioli in my warm living room, and then introduced Amanda to a Princeton Graduate School Icon: the DBar. She got to meet some of my friends, too! Here are Meg, Luc, and Josh.
Meg was mischieviously at DBar! Luc and Josh were at DBar.

Sunday, I took'er to church and she met my Biblestudy girls. Next, we had lunch at another Princeton icon: Triumph Brewing Co, where she tasted their sampler and I had a coffee and cream stout (tastes like a latte!).
Amanda tries a Triumph tradition: the beer sampler! Coffee and Cream Stout at Triump!

Finally, we walked around my lovely little campus. She was pleased to meet the Nassau Hall tigers, especially!
Amanda gets to know the tiger at Nassau Hall.

Then, she left me. We had such a lovely time, it must happen again soon! When it's a wee bit warmer...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Last full day in WA...another trip to glorious Seattle.

Earlyish on the morning of January 2nd, David and I set out in the gold van for a day in the Emerald City. We stopped off in Tacoma to buy coffee from Amy, and switch Minivan for Cute Truck With a Washing Machine in the Back. (Clearly the better option.) (The washing machine is not allowed to leave the truck unless it is into the dump.) (Wonder if that's happened yet!)

I love my bro, and we had a fab drive around the Sound. We parted ways at the UW Bookstore, where he went off to buy books and prepare for senior year winter quarter, and I met Catherine for my second coffee of the day, at our dear old 47th and the Ave Starbucks. She is now a grad student at USC, back for her first Christmas break! We had a lively chat, and were joined by Laura and Chelsea for a bit. Aaw yay roommates! Sadly, the camera remained unnoticed in my backpack. Schade!

In my half an hour between engagements, I walked briskly up to 45th and over to UW. My dear old stomping grounds! How many (4) wonderful years I spent there! Aaaaaw! Clearly, I appeared to be a tourist or an incoming student--an LDS missionary politely accosted me. I politely continued photographing:

George and the Olympics:
Good ol' George and the Olympics.

and the lady pointing the way to my old bus stop:
I used to see her almost every day!

Levi, not-brother David, and Adrienne met me at CEDAR'S [AMAZING WONDERFUL FABULOUS] Indian restaurant on 50th and Brooklyn. I do believe that I've eaten there *every* visit home. I always get either mango or coconut lamb curry and bottomless incredible chai. (If you're counting, this is my third caffeinated drink this morning.) These people are UW Swing Kids (and then just Seattle swing!) buddies. After lunch, we shopped a bit in the vintage clothing stores the Ave offers, the *new* Urban Outfitters (thank goodness it wasn't there when I was--my budget can barely afford it NOW), and the UW Bookstore. Sweetness.

Next up, I met brother David, his ex-roommate Matteo, and Matt's wife Jennifer at Oasis on the Ave (new to me!), where I found them sitting by this man:
David shows me his man Johnny.


What did I drink at Oasis? What is missing from my Udistrict, and in fact Seattle, experience?
BUBBLE TEA! My Udistrict fav.
Yep. Red bean Bubble Tea. :)

They left me to wander for the rest of the afternoon with just my iPod and camera. Here are some results:
Shiny Red Square: very hazardous to your health!
Physics courtyard!!
The Peanut in the physics courtyard.
View of the Needle from physics courtyard:
Needle from the physics courtyard
And view of Olympics under I-5 from physics:Olympic Mountains behind I-5
Goodness...why did I leave?!

Finally, I kissed the UDist goodbye, got on a 72, and bussed downtown.
Sun on the bus

I holed up in Starbucks on 4th and Seneca in a super comfy chair and knitted away--with DECAF TEA. In the evening, I bussed to visit my dear friend Bethany for dinner, at her new apartment, with her new husband. I know her from mutual friends and swing, but we grew close over swing, knitting, Jesus, physics, and the Gilmore Girls! We had a delightful meal (with DECAF coffee), played with her kitties, and then she drove me to the 10:30pm ferry.


I woke up sick on the 3rd, which was extra sad, as I had to fly back to Jersey. :( The extra extra sad part was that I couldn't eat the amazing lunch Mum was going to make for me. :( :( But, I cuddled and had quiet time with each family member, and especially Maddie. Saying goodbye to them is always hard, but after seeing Marley and Me...saying goodbye to Maddie was REALLY hard! <3 The silly dog wouldn't actually look at me when I kissed her head goodbye...she knew I was leaving. Sigh. (Ashley briefly looked up from her nap to mew at me.)

I had a terrific trip and love you all so much! I am rather glad to be living out of my dresser and closet again, in my own bed, and back to my eating, exercising, and working schedule. But wouldn't it be nice to have the family AND that?? Someday...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

"Noro" Striped Scarf

A quick all-knitting post...

Mom was reading the Yarn Harlot all about the Noro Striped Scarf and requested one of her own! Her personal knitter got right to work on it, as soon as she finished Christmas gifts, found a substitute yarn (Plymouth Boku is half the price of Noro Silk Garden, fyi), and bought said yarn after visiting four yarn shops in search of it. Here she is knitting it, and Mumsy wearing it!

Purple and blue

Mumsy is so cute in her new scarf!!

Isn't she beautiful?! I love my dearest mum!

Boo provided lovely background music to the last bits of the scarf (two hours before my flight home):