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

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Just what I needed...

Sometimes the silliest e-cards just make your day. This is one of those days.
I couldn't help but let out a nice long-needed giggle. Played it 3 or 4 times.

Thanks Deb!!

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Thank you 100 times over THANK YOU!!

My family not only is so supportive whenever I need something -- but when they say they will come and help -- THEY HUSTLE!!!


My folks arrived shortly before lunch on Saturday from New Hampshire and stayed until the same time the next day, and my brother and his family filled the next shift Sunday before lunch until late Sunday night.

My folks plowed through the "wet stuff", laying it all out in the hot sun (we were blessed with SUN - Yeah!!!) I'm sure my neighbors in the buildings above that look onto my garden were wondering what the heck I was up to now!!!

Sunday we took a few breaks for meals... Including a huge waffle covered in whipped cream and yummy Japanese food later in the night!

My brother kept my spirits up getting hatty...I wonder if he remembered that was the hat I designed and wore to his college graduation!? (It was in far better shape then!!) Those red dots are large ladybugs and the entire hat is covered with daisies! :-)

With everyones help, I was able to get the flood level into a shape where in I could leave it while I go away again!

Back to China in 2 days!!!

Thanks everyone! You saved my sanity, not only my stuff!

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Friday, April 20, 2007

I Have the Best Family

This whole flood, travel, work thing -- it's been pretty overwhelming this week to say the least.

Seems everyone I know is swamped with commitments in their own lives (or they're out of the country)...but my parents and my brother will drive here this weekend from New Hampshire and Massachusetts to help me pack up 1/2 of my apartment (the half with the most stuff I might add) so it won't be ruined by the traveling mold while I'm traveling through Asia these coming 2 weeks. The movers will come to transport it all to a to-be-arranged storage unit upon my return. (Everything must be dry before it's moved to storage.)

I can't thank them enough. I really needed the hands (I can't lift up the cabinets etc onto blocks alone without getting hurt!)...and I really needed the support!

They always have come through for me when I've needed it. Thanks! You're the best!!
Sent from my Blackberry

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

A question to blogland...

What's the best thing to wash balls of wool in?

I've 2 bags of yarn, one that I bought in Italy in October that met the rat poison flood water.

Any experience or ideas out there? Thanks!

Sent from my Blackberry

UPDATE: Make that 3 bags...

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Let me start by saying that I know my flood is less of a disaster than what so many people are facing as the waters continue to receed.
Besides the flooding, my friends and family in New Hampshire still have no electricity and many roads have washed away (adding 30+ minutes one way to my Mom's commute.) Thankfully my folks purchased a generator last summer! It'll save the food in the fridge/freezer since they estimate the power outage to last through Saturday.

That said, when it's your home, any flood just plain sucks. This is the SECOND time in as many years to boot that my apartment flooded. After the last flood they replaced 1/2 of the wooden floor...this time they'll have to replace the entire floor and likely, the sheet rock atleast 1/2 way up the walls.

Mold is setting in. The clothes in my closet downstairs are starting to have mold spots on them...they didn't even touch the water but the air is humid downstairs. I think there may still be some pools of water underneath the wood floors. The floors are still damp.

Does anyone out there know of an agency that I can call to have my apartment checked for high levels of mold? I've had a scratchy throat and small cough since this all happened.

The cats, all three, will NOT go downstairs since the flood...which means they wouldn't use their litterbox downstairs. Another mess (don't ask.) The box has been moved upstairs until further notice. The boys will go halfway down the stairs but stop short. Makes me a little nervous frankly. Animals know and sense things we do not!

I spent my day yesterday first picking up a load of plastic bins at the Container Store, stuffing myself and the boxes into my usual drivers car (it's necessary to have a driver/car that you know and can call upon when you live in NYC without a car.) That was my view (at left)all the way home (and yes, the trunk was full too!!) The folks at the Container store really are ALWAYS so helpful (at least in my experience!) Thanks!!!
After unloading I began the sorting of things that were wet, ruined and things that need to be cleaned. Anything wet must be dried before it can be cleaned.

I'd begun to sort through things I'd borrowed or planned to give away or needed repair before I left on my long trip. Cardboard boxes all around the floor...all the books in those boxes...ruined. Anything fabric will need to be deep cleaned.

After the last flood, I purchased custom made cabinets that fit to the space. My dream work room where I could put my fabrics into easily accessible cabinets... All of the fabrics in the bottom portion...the bottom 8"...soaked...bags or yarn? Soaked. Thankfully MOST of my yarn was already in plastic bins.

Did I mention yet that there were packets of RAT POISON floating in the water and that a packet floated into the apartment when I opened the door to the basement to see where the flood was coming from?

So my vintage fabrics are drenched in rat poison filled water. Ewe!!!

The owner of the building finally came to see the mess this morning and told me I'll need to pack up everything downstairs, arrange a storage unit and hire a moving company to do the move. I have to pass the costs all past the property management company ahead of time and then they'll reimberse me.

Did I mention that I leave again to Asia next Wednesday? There's no way I'll be able to pack/sort/dry everything BEFORE I go, and his team "can't get to my job" for a few weeks. I've got to pack up everything that I can and move the boxes of books (it'll be 25 or more I'm sure) upstairs before I go so they don't mold while I travel. And I'll move my sewing machine up.
I need to empty my cabinets and raise them off the floor to enable them to dry out while I'm gone.

I WILL be taking a few hours this weekend to go see the NYC Orchid Show at Rockerfeller Center (they usually hold it on the site of the skating ring.) It runs through Sunday! I need to go see some pretty flowers!

Tonight I'll pop out from the office for a bit with the couple whose house we swapped with in Paris. They were in NYC for two weeks. Yeah! Fun!
Back to work time!

Sent from my Blackberry


Monday, April 16, 2007

Some how...I'm... Home!

Over five weeks has passed and I arrived mid Nor'easter last evening. The roughest plane ride in my personal history brought me home. See the "bumps" in the clouds? The pilot told us to check them out as the the clouds were visually showing us why the ride was so rough.

I think the universe was either telling me to turn around or warn me about coming home... Why?

I arrived to 6" of water covering my entire downstairs. It must have started only shortly before I walked in my door. As I made calls and lifted anything salvagable out of the water (100s of books died in this flood), the water looked as though it was receeding... but it actually seeped, bubbling as it went, through my floor. Looking at the outer "unfinished" "shared" part of the basement where the electrical boxes etc are... It was still under 6". (Above shows my subwoofer after the water began to receed...)

Hours later after a series of plumbers came through my door, one was able to jury-rig the pump and the water started to go!

The plumber left, he wasn't a "laborer"... It was no 8pm and frankly, no laborer was coming. So I grabbed my broom and spent until 1:30am "sweeping the water towards the pump. The pump must be monitered due to its hury-rigged status.

I finally had to stop and sleep from exhaustion.

Noone in my building realizes that they are under water downstairs...

My apartment stinks of mustiness...

Anyone have any suggestions on:

*how to get the smell gone (they are going to have to replace the floors!)

*what my legal rights are since the building had a faulty built-in pump and I had to do the labor. (We rent as to have others keep your home going, don't we?)

I've many entries to post...but the flood takes lead!

It's 7:12am...time to resume the water sweeping.

Ciao ciao!

Sent from my Blackberry


Sunday, April 08, 2007!

I was up at 4:30am to get to the airport in time... Head cold and all!
Somewhere between the hotel and the airport I lost my beautiful alpaca Burberry wrap. I'm just heartbroken!!! I've been trying to reach the hotel, but their number (in their bill) rings at a personal home. Very odd!

I got word that the couple we're swapping apartments with arrived well in NYC. Yeah!

TRAVELERS NOTE: When traveling within Europe, each person is limited to 20kg of weight. This can be with on bag or two, but totaling 20kg. This is half of what you are allowed on flights from the US into Europe and Europe to the US.

I did not know this...or rather, when I asked my travel agent about my itinerary and luggage, I was told that so long as each bag (max 2 check-in bags) was under 25kg I'd be fine. I was fine at all of the other stops (saved in India by Dan having only 1 check-in bag)... But since I was flying Italy to France and stopping (not transferring to a flight to the US), the rule is 20kg per person and €12 PER KG (yeowch!) over that. This is the first trip ever where I am traveling with 2 check-in bags. (I'm going to have to mail a package home from Paris, I just know it!)

I don't know if it was my opening my suitcase and removing the only new item - the wine that had been gifted to me -- but by doing that he waved me through at 40kg without penalty. The outfit, yarn and bag that I bought were on me or in my carry-on! So my bags were the same weight leaving as they were when they arrived (lighter actually since I rid myself of some unruley paperwork!!) I hope he enjoys the wine from my vendors vinyard. Happy Easter.

So - here I am doing my usual excercise at CDG (Charles du Galle) -- WAITING. For the first time EVER, I have personally had stellar luck with CDG this trip both on my way to Italy and today on my return. (I was once stuck in this airport for 3 days...and my other previous flights had all been delayed or cancelled.)

Michelle left NYC last night was stuck at her layover in Amsterdam for a bit this morning, but looks like her flight has finally taken off and she'll arrive just over an hour late.

Here I sit enjoying a cappuccino and pain au chocolat while doing a Kakuro.

Yeah! Girls week in Paris is about to begin!!!
Hmmm, guess I'd better dig out the address of the house we'll be staying at here in Paris eh? I've got the time!

Sent from my Blackberry

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Friday, April 06, 2007

Headcold - Curses! Knitting - YIPPEE!
Day 5 - Florence, Italy

It hit late yesterday with avengance...a cold from the chill I'd sustained the
day before unable to warm p-up...but I had with me the Sri Lankan herbal
Ayurvedic remedy called Samahan and I've been taking it like mad! You disolve
one pouch in hot water and drink. Up to 4x a day. (Seems to be working!)

My boss and his family left this morning for home.

I spent the morning doing 4+ hours of work...this involves preparing any files
needed to email, shrinking them as small as possible, moving them to my
wish-it-was-bigger thumb drive...followed by a walk down the block to the
Internet Train where you buy a card for time on one of their computers. My hotel
should be finally installing Wi-Fi by June and it will FINALLY offer internet
access within the hotel (AMEN!) for the first time ever!!

I was ready to email before the I-Train was open, so I ran to the shop where I
bought that yummy outfit the other night, and fetched my VAT paperwork (I'll
take the 10+% back from the VAT tax -- especially with the US$ being so terrible
against the Euro right now!!)

Hmmm...that's done...I-Train still not open... I guess I'll have to... Go Yarn


How I thought I'd be able to withstand the magnet that pulls me to Beatrice
Galli's shop located across the street and a few steps down from my hotel, I
have no idea!!! The mere idea that I wouldn't at least have a proper LOOK... Ha
ha ha ha ha! (It's always good when you can make yourself laugh, no?)

A wee look turned into me dashing to my room for my knitting...I fear I'll be
short yarn on the sweater I'm designing and knew she'd have a yarn to suit...

And she did...

Along with 2 other yarns that made me melt...

My Italy budget officially finished...I was consious to keep from buying anymore
as not to dig into my Paris budget!! I still have one more day in Florence...
Darn that awful US$ exchange rate. Can't we all just get along???

While I was there, the front door was more active that usual, which made me happy to see. A very pretty young woman came in and after a few minutes, we were in deep knitting conversation. Tatiana, in her first week of living in Florence (well, Scandicci) by way of Milan, is actually from Spain. Phew! She had found the shop on the internet and I'm glad she did.

We both had errands... I still had time to log at the I-Train, but thought we might meet up later on the Ponte Vecchio for a knitting by the river session.

I spent the following 2hrs at the I-Train. Some work...done. All that would fit onto my thumb drive. I cleared it and will refill this evening. No matter, the NY office seems to be closed for Good Friday. (My boss & I always work G.F. as
the only non-Catholics in the office...but apparently it's an official company holiday! All these years, who knew?)

I wandered to the Ponte Vecchio for a bit of KIP but seemed to have missed
Tatiana. Really too bad...thankfully we had each others email and blogs, so there would
be ways to get back in touch.

I realized that I was STARVING!!! Lunch time!! I wandered down a side street that I've been passing for years but had never wandered down. I happened upon a lovely Trattoria with outdoor seating in the sun! Yeah! Lunch at Buca Poldo was yum. Spaghetti with small bits of steak, a georgous mixed salad and of course, a glass of Chianti (and bottle of water!) My head seemed fairly clear and the sun was shining.


The flower boxes are in bloom here and the Spring sun reflected such a lovely
color off the buildings.

Time to check out the shops and see what my competition has on offer. ;-)

After a stroll through the department store la Rinascente, I wandered to the roof for a treat and a treat. It's an open-air cafe, umbrella'd, overlooking the Piazza de Republica and some of the Duomo. I just love the terra cotta colored roof tops!

So beautiful!!

Oh The VIEW!!! The other treat -- TREATS!!

First a wonderful hot chocolate with fresh whipped cream (heaven!!) Together with a bowl of fresh yummy strawberries (they are in season here.)

My blackberry beeped...
It was Tatiana!! We decided to meet, we two and her husband, for dinner at 8:30pm. What a great turn of events!! I took them to --- where I'd eaten a few nights before and fun ensued.

We laughed and laughed. I will be back in September and we have a plan for dinner then!

How nice!

Until we'd spoken, Tatiana, being a new knitter. & blogger, had no idea how vast
our knit-blog community was! DO stop by her blog and leave a word of encouragement. She's in her first 3 months knitting and seems to have been bitten by the bug we all have been bitten by!

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