Creativity and Ramblings from the heart of NYC and around the World

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Tuesday Makes Up for Monday

Next time you want treat... go check out Kittichai located at luxury hotel 60 Thompson at 60 Thompson Street. Go check out the link above to their websites -- the bar and restaurant is as much a treat for the eyes as it is for your palette. The photo to the left doesn't NEARLY do it justice!!

The drinks on offer were wonderful (both wine options and martinis), the appetizers of the Crispy Jasmine Rice Crackers with coconut, chicken and shrimp relish was TASTY! Not only was the Hamachi presented in a fantasic manor, but it tastes FANTASTIC! For dinner both the Baked Sea Bass and the Honey-coated beef were devine. Dessert brought some delicately filo-like wrapped bananas while I had the coconut and lime crepes.
Go - Go - GO! Yum!

I got home exhausted... to find this at my front door...
OK, I fess up -- I broke my yarn diet... and my book diet...
But I was so tired that the thought of weilding a knife scared me... until tomorrow...

Monday, January 30, 2006

Monday night Molyvos

Tonight Allegra and I went to Molyvos, a Greek Restaurant in the Theatre District...
it was participating in the NYC Restaurant Week. I'd heard their Mezze plates were GREAT!
Sadly...nothing remotely Mezze was on their Restaurant Week Menu (3 courses for $35), a menu which should, in my mind, showcase what the restaurant has to offer to draw you back again after restaurant week to spend more of your hard-earned money.
Molyvos fell short... the Lentil Soup was tasty. It came with a Lagana bread, toasted and some olive tapenade. I'm allergic to olive meat (olive oil is A-OK) and I asked to have the tapenade spread left off... instead they just decided not to bring the bread.
The Lahano Dolmades (Cabbage Leaves Filled with Ground Lamb, Beef, Pork & Arborio Rice with Spiced Yogurt Garlic Sauce)... the garlic sauce was distracting...just OK.
The dessert I did have a glass of wine that was decent...but the waitor never came back to us with what it was called...he just asked what we like from Italian wine and brought us what he thought we'd like. was good...I would have loved the name of a Greek Wine that I liked.
Basically - I can't recommend the place to anyone...perhaps at some point I'll go back and try the Mezze Plate...

It was lovely to catch up with a dear friend and a treat to have her Mom join us for dessert.
It's just too bad that the food was a disappointment.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Chinese New Year - New York City Style

My friend Joanna (in the middle) is back in NYC for a few days on her journey from South America to Eastern Europe...go check out her travel journal that has great stories about her travels as a single woman thru South America for the last 4 months.
It just so happens that one of the folks she met on her trip...lives on my street. Crazy how small the world is!!! So, I joined them today in Chinatown in NYC, with a big group of new fun folks, to celebrate CNY...NYC style!

We saw Lions and Dragons...

There were BIG DRUMS banging as well as confetti popping...

And then came... DIM SUM!!! You might think that having just returned from a few weeks in China that I'd be tired of Chinese food...hmm...Nope! YUM!
Besides that...I got to meet some new friends!!

After that fun...I journeyed home and spent the afternoon catching up with Juliet which included going thru piles of knitting books...heh heh heh I've got her hooked!
It's sleep time! (Gotta Love Jet Lag!)

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Girl Time

Returning home I always enjoy my time catching up with friends so much!

I was happy to see both Morgan and Michelle on consecutive days...and I dragged them both (not difficult to do!) to Niko's so that I could have my favorite Greek Salad (in all of the world) two days in a row. Salad is the thing that i miss MOST when I'm in Asia! Both days we followed lunch with a film -- I saw Nanny McPhee, an OK family film and Casanova, cute boys, great costumes...not much plot.

After Casanova Michelle and I went to check out the new knitting shop on the Upper West Side -- KNITTY CITY! I love it! It's fantastic. The Staff/owner are warm and friendly as it the atmosphere.
They will be have a Mens Only Knitting Night on either Tuesday or Wednesday (I wrote it down but lost the slip of paper) -- so gents, call them and go check it out!

I have designed a shrug for Michelle, at her request, and we picked out the yarn for the project. It will likely be the project I do for the Knitting Olympics as there is a deadline for it! (More on that soon!!)

We also made a new friend while at Knitty City -- HELLO SUSAN!!! Welcome to NYC! Hopefully we can get together for a little knitty fun soon!!!!

Friday, January 27, 2006

So good to be home!

Jet lag will continue to have me up far earlier than I usually am for the next few days... so I figured, since I'm not back to work until Monday... why not use it to my advantage?!

Thanks to Dani, I've been craving Ginger Snaps for over a week...

So... This....

Became this... YUM!

Off to knit! Cheers

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Knitting Fun!

This is the new addition to the Hong Kong Airport. It's about 2 stories tall.

After landing at Newark I raced home, changed up and dashed out to dinner at Patsy's Pizza <-- still my favorite!!! Their Insalat Mista (garden salad) is fantastic -- everything is served family style. Morgan had never been -- so it was about time!!! After a quick bite and chat she went her way and I went... To the 4th anniversary celebration for the Upper West Side Knitters! YEAH!!!!

I don't get to stop by on Wednesday nights all that often...certainly not often enough! What a great celebration! Thanks to Judi and her team for a great event, and to Starbuck's for the free coffee for all!

Feels so good to be home!

Cardigan update... Back and front are finished and the sleeves are nearing their comletion! Weeeeeeee! Cheers all!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

3 nights of celebration...

Last night I thought back 6 years when this all began and I came to one basic conclusion...I am one of the luckiest people I know.

Growing up in the mountains of New Hampshire in a town of 800 people I never would have guessed that I'd end up spending so much time with such wonderful people around the world.

The past three nights I was happily the honored guest of the factory, sharing in their special Chinese New Year is my photo journey...

Coach buses were brought in to transport the factory staff...

Each of the three nights 1/3 of the staff would bring their familes (children, spouses, parents) and enjoy a banquet of massive proportions followed by a show and dancing at a night club.

All of this is the gift from the generous factory owner and his wife to his staff. approximately 300 people each night sat in the seats and dined on tasty foods and enjoyed much drink. (Yes, that's a chicken head.)

Each night I walked from table to table to toast everyone and thank them for thier hard work on our product...without them we wouldn't be were we are today. This means 30 toasts...OY! :-) The night I went toasting round the room with the group, I did fall behind quite a number of times to admire the amazingly beautiful hand knit sweaters and vests that so many of the men were wearing at this, the biggest celebration of the year. I couldn't single out just a few of the workers to photograph though... so you'll have to trust me on this one!

Being that this is the biggest celebration of the year, there are awards to be had! It's here that a gold charm is presented to each worker upon completion of their 5th year of service. This year, the front has a Dog (for the Year of the Dog) and the back was inscribed with thanks from Paul and Vivian (owners of the factory.)
I felt very honored to be able to share this with my friends as they received their awards.

After Awards came the RAFFLE! I was lucky each night to be asked to choose either the 2nd prize or first prize winner's number... very fun!!! First prize was equal to approximately 2 months pay. It was like giving away the lottery! One of the women who won had borrowed money from a friend to make the journey she was able to pay her friend back the next day and still have money left over to bring to her family!

The third night was for the office staffs from both Hong Kong and China. On this night my number was drawn and I won 100RMB (equals approx $12USD)... winning,I was told was very auspicious and it showed that I would have a great year of the Dog! BRING IT ON!

After the banquet each night, a night club had been rented for the night. Each night there would be a performace followed by dancing for all. The first night's performance was extremely traditional...and sadly lost much of the crown to sleep.
It opened with a Las Vegas-like feathered head dress opening...but Chinese style...Sorry for the photo quality...they didn't like us to take photos for fear we would steal their show ideas. (Um...not a problem.)

This is a photo of the last portion of the performance (already had been nearly 1 hour long)... the 1 hour long play is a Chinese Fable. In the lower corner is a Pig and the Monkey King.

After seeing the first nights performance, the factory owner asked the theatrical troup if they could give a shorter, more modern performance... Oh, they did.

They shook it up and made it... "modern and sexy" for nights two and three...I'd simply call it Burlesque.

After 30 minutes of performances, there was a break for dancing for all, followed by another 30 minutes of performance. We all had fun!!!

What a celebration! Thank you all for having me!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

CNY...Here we come

It's coming up on that time kids - Chinese New Year...
The factory is in full decor swing too...

This is the entrance to the factory from the outside...

And from the inside...The peach blossom tree nearly blocks the doorway. Superstition has it that a woman or man who circles said tree will find the love they are looking for. I was also told that once you put up a peach blossom tree, you must do so every year or you will be struck with bad luck! I'm glad that's not the case with Christmas trees!! (I just didn't have time this year!!)

Red Envelopes have been put everywhere!

Two large Tangerine bushes flank the entrance too! See all of the Red Envelopes in the trees!

Tomorrow I'll post photos of this place at night --- little white lights everywhere - so festive!

Tonight we will attend the first of three nights of CNY celebration for the factory. A big banquet etc. Photos tomorrow!

The good news is that, after all of my over-obsessing and stress that I've put on myself, when I showed the work completed so far on this trip with my boss -- he was BLOWN AWAY at both the newness and quantity completed! Phew!

Back to it I go! Happy Saturday in the West and Sunday in the East all!

Memes and madness

Delia was kind enough to tag me with one of the many memes going around...
and I filled it out. Made it pretty and published it - all on my Memes section of my blog.

Just in case you didn't see the tag I left you... I tagged:
Celia of Unraveling
Justine of After Asia
Siow Chin of Little Purl of the Orient
Lisa of An Abundance of Lisa
Claudia of Claudia's Blog

Back to work I go...

Friday, January 20, 2006

To join in the Knitting Olympics, alone or as a team...
and other News from China

I've joined the Knitting Olympics (for those who haven't heard yet, click on over to the Harlot and have a read) and as I sat here in China, without my books or stash at my fingertips, I wondered what to knit that would be a challange? Then it came to me...perhaps, the team sport of making afghans for the Purls of Hope project.

Remember THIS?... the folks here in China pledged 100 squares for blankets for Katrina. I recently received the squares (well more than 100!!) but my emails have bounced when confirming the send to address originally planned...
SO -- PLAN B -- I'll have to put them into blankets myself and send them on down. But where to send them to?

That's where Denise came in - -and none too soon either. She introduced me to Purls of Hope... Viola - squares become blankets and fill a need! YEAH!!!!

Back to the group sport part...I wonder if it would behoove me to set up some group knit-ups and/or arrange to get piles of squares into helpful knitty hands? I mean -- I don't now about you - but the thought of knittining together over 100 squares in 16 days is a bit daunting to ME! All of those stitches to pick up...all of that stash I could use up??? Mmmmmmmmmmmm. (Could also selfishly give way to the breaking of the yarn diet as the medal at the end...)

What do you all think? Hmmm?

Back to what's happening in China...
While yesterday was the VERY TASTY Steamed Fish head of my favorites. (Don't knock it 'till you've tried it!)
fish head

Today was the always welcome CRAB DAY!!!

See! YUM!! FOr the first time, Ho went to the market himself to buy the crabs...and his directions were a little confusing...and he brought back twice the usual amount... so this meant...Round two!!! (Ho, Fanny, Min and Loeman around the table with Mag and A-Sau in the background.)
It has turned colder...feels 55-60F. Not freezing, but I'm glad I have the cardi and scarf on.

The hotel has put out the CNY decorations and the factory's will be finished by tomorrow (I'll take a photo and post it when they get the tree with the peach blossoms installed at the entrance. Talk about abundance."
CNY decorations
A few things I've learned about Chinese New Year:
1. The word for red envelope is similar in sound to the phrase of good luck/good fortune --- thus all of the red envelopes hanging and given out. (Also why you bring money in a red envelope to a wedding.)
2. The word for the mini-tangerine orange is similar to the word good luck/good fortune --- thus mini-tangerine orange trees everywhere.

Lucky symbols for the welcoming and start of the new year!

Workers from the local factories began their journeys homeward to all parts of China this week. It's the one time of year they spend time with their families. Possibly the one time of year when they spend time with their children as often they work far away from home in order to provide for their children while their parents stay home to raise their children. This also means that some sections of China consider people old at 40. At 40 they often are the grandparents. The life expectancy, depending on the region, can be shockingly low. (I would guess largely due to lack of nutrition.)

The factory where I spend most of my time is more like a compound. It's gated with tall walls and a security guard at the front. It's not to keep people IN but rather to keep the unwanted out. It is not unheard of for people to be robbed when walking alone outside the compound. Within the compound walls there is housing, a cafeteria, game room, recreation area etc.
Many of the workers here are from very remote regions of China and are taught one basic skill upon joining the factory. Approximately 5% of the factory employees can read. Public education is not mandatory, it's a privilege. Most workers that arrive haven't had any formal education and can basically cook a basic meal, tend a field and clean their clothing. Any additional skill is a bonus.

Being from a remote area, things that you and I may consider as basic knowledge...they aren't. It's quite common that people are killed by simply walking across the street...of course they walk out onto a highway and in front of fast moving vehicles because they don't know any better. Two nights ago when leaving for the night we noticed a police car as we were getting into the van. They didn't trust parking their car outside the compound with the hooligans at night. Just outside the compound there are train tracks that go to the remote northern regions of China. The Policemen were all standing by the underpass of these tracks.

Apparently there has been an increase in deaths on the tracks as workers from the remote regions think:
a. They can just hop on the fast moving train need to buy a pesky ticket and board at the station.
b. The raised tracks look like a quiet place for a nap out of the way.
c. The raised tracks look like a quiet place for young lovers to go have some privacy away from their factory.

Basically, someone in charge said, "go make sure there isn't anyone on the tracks" and the local men go, stay for a few hours max, and then move along. It was the first time I'd ever seen men there -- and I would imagine I won't see it again. When asked if they had done it they could now say yes...but you don't see them educating the local population at the factories of the dangers. In fact, our van broke down in front of the hotel and it took 3 hours for a new car to arrive to bring Mag back to the factory after our dinner because the police had closed off every road with any train tracks over them (we pass 3 I think between the hotel and factory) to check for people.

It brings me back to the huge need for a basic education here. I just wish folks in the US realized just how privileged they are to have an education available to all for free.
(Do your homework kids!!!)

Image HostingOn the Blogging front --- Rah rah rah for Photobucket --- who has been impressing me more and more. Love love love those guys! Simply put - web photo hosting free -- from either your computer or the web itself. Rah rah rah!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Just the Facts Bub
Further Exploration into SF/SE

This is why I love SnB [please note approved usage here]...
Jodi Sax, fab lawyer and SnB regular, did some research, posted it and it spawned a little dialog in the group. After yesterday's war of words, and in a hope of keeping the facts in's round two.

From Jodi:
Sorry you guys, - here is what is actually going on with the stitch and bitch cafe situation, according to the USPTO website:

Stitch and Bitch Cafe owns a registered mark and is the prior user of the name, with superior rights. Debbie does not "own" the stitch & bitch trademark (with the exception of any common law rights she may have garnered), but has pending trademark applications, registrations for which have not been issued because of a likelihood of confusion, as cited by the USPTO with Stitch and Bitch Cafe. The "and" or "&" or the fact that "cafe" is appended isn't really relevant. It's the related nature of the uses of the marks, the similarity of the marks, and the likelihood of confusion between the marks that governs under trademark law. Because of their earlier use, Stitch and Bitch cafe's rights will trump those of Ms. Stoller if the trademark office concludes that there is a likelihood of confusion between the two marks, which it appears to have done based on its most recent objection to Ms. Stoller's application.

So, no, in my opinion, Yahoo was not in the wrong in taking action as it did. Not taking sides here, just wanted to clarify for all who are curious.

Hope this helps.
Intellectual Property lawyer and trademark dork. :)

opinion from concerned SnB-er:

I see your point, however there is a public relations issue here also,which is why Xerox doesn't go after people who use the term "Xerox machine"to mean "copy machine". Hence the term, Sew Fast Sew Evil.. What a way to lose friends and gain enemies.
Cathy Wilder

The facty rebuttal from Jodi:

Ah yes, I see your point. However, under the trademark law, trademark owners are required to patrol the use of their marks or risk losing them. Xerox absolutely does go after those who use their mark in a descriptive sense, or they risk the word Xerox becoming generic and losing their trademark rights, which I think is dangerously close to happening.

Just fyi. :)

I love it -- do you realize how lucky we are to be able to HAVE this dialog...Openly! Fantastic!
Cheers from China!

Sew Fast/Sew Nasty

"Can't we all just get along???

The buzz from back home: Posted on the now titled SnB-NYC [formerly Stitch'n'Bitch-NYC] chat group by Deb Stoller of Stitch'n'Bitchfame...

"I received a notice from Yahoo tonight advising me that I must delete the wording STITCH N BITCH from our Yahoo!Group URL and any references to STITCH N BITCH in the group itself or they will disable our group within 48 hours.
This notice is a result of an objection filed by Sew Fast Sew Easy Inc., a
New York company, who is claiming rights to this wording.

I have spoken to my attorneys about this. Unfortunately, there is no
immediate recourse with Yahoo other than to make the change at this time.
They require this as soon as anybody makes any kind of claim--they don't
evaluate the merits of the claim. So to keep the group list alive, I've just
changed the name to snb-nyc. When you want to send an email to the group,
just send it to Everything else stays the same, and
hell, it's easier to type, too!

Knit on!

Xxxooo deb"

In a follow up email posted today...

Subject: A concerned Stitch-n-bitch'er

Hello Sew Fast, Sew Easy,

I'm a proud member of Stitch-n-bitch DC which was recently contacted
by Yahoo! regarding a complaint lodged by your company for trademark
infringement. I have read extensive online discussions and
conversations within our own yahoo! group about this issue.

My understanding is that your company ONLY has rights over names with
either 'and' or '&' in the middle. According to the US Patent and
Trademark Office website, Debbie Stoller owns the Stitch 'n Bitch
name. I've attached a picture of the most current available
information on that website which shows several trademarks for
variations of the "stitch" and "bitch" phrase. The only trademarks
that Sew Fast, Sew Easy owns are record numbers 78641350 ("Stitch and
Bitch"), and 76026522 ("STITCH & BITCH CAFE").

Therefore, I cannot understand why any yahoo! groups that use the
letter 'N' instead of the word "and" or the symbol '&' could possibly
violate your company's trademark. Our yahoo! group has now had to
change its name to "SnB DC" to comply with Yahoo!'s policy. I
personally only know of 5 other groups that had to change their
names, but I've heard there are dozens more.

I'm sure you are aware that many stitch-n-bitchers across the country
are furious about this development and are blacklisting your company.
I don't support reactionary, uninformed decisions and I recognize
your company's need to protect it's intellectual property. However,
this particular situation seems to be an obvious error as your
company does not have a trademark on the phrases that use the
letter 'n'. I should also add that the popular way to refer to your
company by stitch-n-bitchers (I can't speak for stitch-and-bitchers
because their name DOES seem to be a trademark violation) is "Sew
Fast, Sew Evil."

I would very much appreciate your response to this issue.

Thanks very much,


"Say no to SFSE"

This has even spawned a Say No to SFSE Cafe Press store (click above) with Tshirts, buttons, bumper stickers and home goods...
...the proceeds were originally to go for a lawyer - but since Deb Stoller is on it - they money will be offered to her for lawyer fees. If she refuses the money, the proceeds will be sent to the National Breast Cancer Foundation Inc.

I just don't understand...are the gaggles of S'n'Bers around the world so bad that they wouldn't want to be associated with them? It just seems -- stupid - and mean. Now Deb Stoller has to spend money on lawyers to show she's in the right.
Who ever was the moderator of the 'StitchnBitch-Harlem' group -- well they didn't get the message about needing to change the group name in time and it was wiped out by Yahoo!'s no longer in my list of "Yahoo! Groups"... I know some of the members were only signed on to that one... Such a shame to loose the entire list!
Time will tell how it all turns out...

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


You're about to see A LOT of

Self-Made Man, a new book by Norah Vincent. Check it out! I plan to!
She's going to be all over the airwaves starting Jan 20th (see her site for details!)

Having only read the excerpt and hype, it sounds like one womans journey in finding it out...How do men and women get treated differently? Like Tootie in the reverse?
I plan to pick it up and give it a read... how about you?

For an Excerpt click here.

Fine Endings and Good Beginnings

Knitting News Bulletin...
I REMEMBERED the BUTTONHOLE...WITHOUT any FROGGING!!! Of course, it was yesterday and it was only because I used my morning gym time to knit...but I was super achey from overdoing it the day before damn weights.)
Now back to the regularly scheduled China update...

Last night we journeyed to our usual late night Dim Sum spot...but for the first time ever we had the "GOOD TEA" service.

Simply put, a higher grade of tea that is made about a cup and a half at a time, tableside, so that it doesn't sit and turn bitter.

Really nice.
I need to get one of these sets.
Yummy yum yum.

I awoke this morning and sprang out of bed (I know - I was shocked too!) I'm not a morning person...

10 minutes later I was here -------->
treadmilling myself into a sweat.

I know, sounds attractive... but... GO ME! That's three out of four days at the gym so far this trip. (Rah rah rah!)

My work is rolling along... Designs are starting to come together. Bits and pieces at a time.

Listening to as I trim, trim, trash and trim:


After much searching -- I found an answer to a question posed to me off-blog...
Only problem is - I can't find the email -- so -- to the Reader that asked where they could get the aht in this photo...a version of it is available HERE for $12.99 (+ S&H)'s the version with the floral inset... which is also cute!
The hat is from a few seasons ago... sorry it took so long! I was lucky to find any available.