Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The thing with feathers

I had lofty, Dickinsonian intentions back when I took this photo — the name on the grave marker behind this bird is Hope. You'll just have to take my word for it though since I couldn't get the focus to work out.

I love the inherent hopefulness of the turning of the new year, the fact of a built-in fresh start every twelve months and the communal celebration thereof. I'm still putting together my thoughts on what I want to accomplish and try and read and make and cook and address and play with in 2009, but will likely post it tomorrow as part of my annual set-the-tone-of-the-year-through-what-you-do-on-January-1 endeavor. (Or "start as you mean to go," which is a much more graceful phrasing of the same idea.)

Have a happy, hopeful New Year's — I'll see you in '09!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Books, forward and back

The last couple of years, I've resolved to read 52 books over the course of the year, figuring one a week isn't a whole lot to ask of myself. I just did my count for 2008 since I'm pretty sure I won't be finishing anything up in the next day and a half, and ended the year having read 71 books. So, go me! And there were a lot of really good ones in there too, the kind of book you call your friends when you finish and urge them to read immediately. My favorites of the year, in no particular order, would have to be:
  • Agent Zigzag, Ben McIntyre. Completely engrossing non-fic about a double agent in WWII.
  • The Genius, Jesse Kellerman. I like books that are set in the seamier corners of New York City (or anywhere, really), especially when they're beautifully written mysteries.
  • Uglies, Pretties, Specials and Extras, Scott Westerfeld. What can I say? I'm a sucker for well-written dystopian fantasies. Also really liked Peeps.
  • The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins. Seriously, I love dystopian fantasies. I reviewed it here.
  • Garnethill, Denise Mina. Very dark, very Scottish, very good.
  • The Wild Trees, Richard Preston. About the exploration of canopies of super-tall trees and the previously unknown biosystems that exist up there. Kind of mind-blowing, really.
  • The Whiskey Rebels, David Liss. You can read my officially official review here.
  • A Place of Execution, Val McDermid. I read two of her others this year too, The Distant Echo and A Darker Domain, and really tore through both of those as well, though PoE is in a class by itself. She's going to be in New York Feb. 10 — anyone want to go to the reading with me?
  • When Will There Be Good News? Kate Atkinson. Just as good as Case Histories, which is really saying something.
  • In the Woods and The Likeness, Tana French. Just so good.
I'm still going for the 52 books a year number for 2009, but with an additional angle. After reading about the 9 for 09 challenge on Kim's blog the other night, I went to my shelves immediately to pull my own books. These are all books that I own, and have owned, in some cases, for a very long time. It's not that I don't want to read them — I do! otherwise, I'd get rid of them! — it's just that for whatever reason, I don't. This looks like a good exercise to get me reading the stuff I already have.

Long: Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susannah Clarke. I've tried to listen to this as an audiobook a couple of times, but the story is just too complicated for me to follow without actually seeing all of the words and names in front of me. I think I'll have better luck on paper. Amazon says it's 1024 pages, but I'm pretty sure the edition I have is more like 800, so either bigger pages or smaller print....

Free: Tin Horns and Calico, Henry Christman. This is set in the part of the Hudson Valley where I grew up and is the true story of a bunch of farmers revolting in the 1840s and overthrowing what was basically a feudal system. This copy was in my house growing up and I've been meaning to read it for at least 15 years. In fact, now that I'm thinking about it, I believe that I may have written a book report on it when I was in high school without actually having read it. Bad Stephanie! Apparently, you can read the whole thing here.

Dusty: Winter's Tale, Mark Helprin. I have had this book for a long. freaking. time.

Used: A Conspiracy of Paper, David Liss. Yep, bought it used. As I mentioned above, I really loved The Whiskey Rebels and have high hopes for this one too, which I think may have either won or been nominated for an Edgar.

Letter: Oh, I didn't pull this to get into the photo, but I have a copy. Good People, Marcus Sakey. There were a bunch of Ss in the running, but this one had a K too.

Strange: Why the Devil Chose New England for His Work, Jason Brown. I don't typically read short stories. Plus, I borrowed this from someone a truly inexcusable length of time ago and it's way past time I get it back to her.

Distance: The Wordy Shipmates, Sarah Vowell. I'm choosing to interpret this category as allowing for a distance through time as well as physical distance.

AN: Arthur & George, Julian Barnes. Short-listed for the Booker. I bought this is a book-buying binge a few days before I got laid off in Feb. 2006.

Cover: Originally, I was going to read The Devil's Gentleman by Harold Schecter for this category, but have since decided that the cover of The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly more effectively blows my skirt up so am subbing that one in instead.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Merry merry from Greenpoint

I'm heading upstate to spend Christmas with my family and will be blissfully disconnected until after the holiday. In the meantime, have a wonderful whatever you celebrate!

For to keep my head warm

I made this somewhat odd hat yesterday:
I'd never done corrugated ribbing before and it's kind of neato. I don't think I did a particularly good job of it, but it's still good for the ol' neural pathways to try something new. And I like the vertical stripe effect. Then a simple stranded checkerboard-y pattern (so I'll have two layers over my ears) and stripes for the crown. I used up two random not-whole balls of yarn, both dk-weight wool. Very satisfying. And necessary, since I can't find any of my rather nice collection of handknit (and in some cases, handspun and hand-dyed) hats. That bucket hat I crocheted a few months ago is fine for walking to the subway but I needed something warmer for all of the snowshoeing and cross-country skiing and sledding! (man, I hope there's sledding!) I plan to do when I'm upstate for Christmas.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Random Friday

1. My little bit of Christmas knitting: two cashmere/silk cowls for my mom. Yes, one of them was going to be for my sister-in-law, but I said screw it, Mom will like it better. I was aiming for 20" around and 13" long for each of them, but apparently blocked the burgandy one pretty hard to open up the lace and it's bigger than that. So it's even better than I was planning — she'll have one close-fitting cowl and one that'll be looser and more drapey.

2. The knitting I've been doing for myself is not really photo-worthy at the moment (the beginnings of a long black cardigan in 1x1 rib and the nascent Amelia), but I took this lousy picture of where I am on Amelia this morning purely for documentation. This is the same cashmere/silk yarn I used for the cowls in a different color. I really stocked up at School Products about five or six years ago.
Note to self: paint your nails.

3. For this week's Spectacle Spectacular (Bill Clinton), Liz and I had planned to make shrimp and grits with greens on the side. However, she had a pretty bad reaction to some shrimp a few days earlier (tongue swelled up) and was leery of trying again so soon. So we ordered some awesome pizza instead.
One margherita + one pugliese (broccoli raab and sausage) + one bottle of chianti = two happy couch potatoes.

4. I have been assimilated; please feel free to follow me on Twitter if you are so inclined.

5. I've had this song stuck in my head for most of the last few days.

6. I've been reading a lot more than I've been making stuff. I keep meaning to do real write-ups on a couple of books I've read lately, but haven't made that happen. So in lieu of real write-ups:
A Darker Domain, Val McDermid: Loved! Awesomeness with awesome sauce on top.
The Likeness, Tana French: Awesomeness with even MORE awesome sauce on top. Loved it so much that it ruined other books for me for about a week. After I finished this one, I started several books I'd really been looking forward to reading and they all turned to ashes in my hands because they weren't nearly as gripping and beautiful. More! Tana! French!
Dark Places, Gillian Flynn: Bleak, disappointing. I loved her first book enough to pitch a profile of her to my boss, but this one made my skin crawl in a bad way without compensatory goodness. Honestly, I was so disappointed that I may rescind my request to interview her. Just in-house, I mean. I hadn't approached her yet.
Free-Range Chickens, Simon Rich: Cute. Adorable, in fact. If this book were a person, I would totally want to pinch its widdle cheeks. Which I desperately needed after the truly unlikable characters and terrible behavior (like Satanic sacrifices) exhibited in the Flynn book. And I *like* dark mysteries.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Help me understand

Dear internet,

I do not understand this poster.

p.s. I can't see a photo of polar bears anymore without thinking of this post.
p.p.s. yikes.
p.p.p.s. oh. of all the prosaic explanations...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Some walking-around shots

This weekend, I was out and about a fair bit and managed to remember my camera every time I left the house, which is sort of amazing for me. And lucky, since something caught my eye practically every time I turned around.
I was in midtown Saturday afternoon, in the middle of a successful foraging expedition to my favorite jewelry supply places (vintage Czech and Japanese glass! pieces from old chandeliers! non-sterling metal charms that pass my rigorous anti-shlock test!) and weaving in and out of packs of slow-moving pre-Christmas tourists. At one point, I was contemplating yelling, "Hey! You in the Ugg boots! MOVE!," at which point the crowd would have parted and I could have done cartwheels for ten blocks. Then I glanced up and this reflection just stopped me in my tracks. Also kept me from cutting a bitch, so: double win.

Then yesterday morning, when I was walking to the subway to meet friends for brunch, I heard some loud Latin music coming from the northern end of Manhattan Ave.
As the procession got closer, I could see some people dancing in costumes, followed by the truck with giant speakers and a bunch of people wearing black. I'm assuming that the event was in conjunction with the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which was Friday. Please note that if you go to the page and gleefully click on 'email this saint,' you're just going to be given the option to send that website about the saint via email, not actually, you know... I was so intent on watching them that I didn't notice a rival procession coming up from the south until they were right next to me.
They seemed pretty intense and I thought there might be some kind of Guadalupe-off about to happen, but they just walked right up to the first group and then went around and joined them.
I loved these costumes. These guys were dancing like crazy the whole time.

After brunch, I hung out with friends and knit for a while, then went to an afternoon holiday party (mulled cider + rum = yes), then met up with Erin for dinner, then the two of us met up another friend and two of her friends for some wine and girl talk, the kind of really lovely, whirlwind day that is going to destroy my carefully cultivated reputation as a hermit of great shyness.

Several of those social engagements were in places that are on the rather-far-from-the-subway end of the spectrum, like Red Hook and the far edges of Greenpoint and deep into the West Village. The good thing about this, other than the exercise and reasonably fresh air, is getting to look at stuff, especially when I'm in neighborhoods I don't find myself in very often, especially especially when I get to walk through old industrial areas. I so have a crush on post-industrial landscapes and buildings; there's something about the lines and angles and colors that blows my skirt up in a way that more traditionally pretty stuff doesn't.
I love this color combination, that bright wheaty yellow against the clear, flat teal and heathery oatmeal-y concrete.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Spectacle Spectacular the second

This week's Spectacle was one of the ones I was most excited about: Lou Reed and Julian Schnabel. I've been a Lou Reed/Velvet Underground fan since I was a teenager and this very blog owes him a debt; the name comes from a line in Pale Blue Eyes: "If I could make the world as pure and strange as what I see/ I'd put you in the mirror I put in front of me."

I was really hoping he and Elvis Costello would sing it together, at which point I would melt into a quivering puddle of ecstatic fan-girl pudding, but they didn't. Here's a video of Lou Reed and Pete Townsend performing it together though, which is awfully good:

Originally, the theme was going to be classic New York food (pastrami? a slice from the corner pizzeria?), plus something luridly pink (like a blended beet and buttermilk soup, maybe) to pay homage to Schnabel's Palazzo Chupi and, of course, something with poppy seeds for dessert to play with all of the heroin references. But we were just coming off two weeks of closing an issue and feeling fairly braindead and uncreative. Plus, Liz was getting ready to go out of town for a week, so we made a Use-Up-the-Stuff-in-Liz's-Fridge Risotto instead, which was quite tasty and not at all photogenic, and had some sea salt brownies from Trader Joe's to follow.

Lou was pretty interesting, talking about his doo-wop influences and writing processes, but Schnabel was kind of a schnasshole, showing up drunk and just generally being a self-aggrandizing blowhard, all but screaming LOOKATME LOOKATME LOOKATME, I AM WEARING PAJAMAS IN PUBLIC AND MADE LOU REED HOLD MY DEAD FATHER'S HAND. NOW I WILL RECITE THE LYRICS TO AN ENTIRE SONG AND YOU WILL BE IN THRALL TO ME.

Impressing people: UR doin it wrong

Anyway, last night, I cast on for Amelia, Laura's latest design. I haven't seen anything in knitty that I've been excited about for a while and chalked it up to the fact that there are so many other outlets for independent designers now than when it first started. That's why I was so pleasantly surprised to see this one; I've been keeping an eye out for a basic cardigan pattern written for worsted-weight yarn that had some interesting details without being too fussy or busy to wear with prints. The only change I'm going to make is to put buttonholes along the whole front edge. Even if I don't usually button a whole cardigan, I want the option. And I'll slip the first stitch of every row for a nice clean line along the front edge.

I swatched two different yarns for it, a charcoal cashmere/silk from School Products and some really lovely darkish denim blue handspun that I've had for a while and would like to use. That would have been the winner except that it has a fairly high mohair content and I thought the fuzziness would distract from the pintucks.

A word of caution: don't try to out-clever the designer and decide to extend the pintucks all the way to the cast-on edge. The difference in row gauge between garter stitch and twisted rib means that the rib sections will be longer and pull the garter sections out of shape where they meet. That's why even though I spent a while working on it last night, I'm currently one row into the body, which I couldn't be bothered to photograph. I should have some time to work on it this weekend though, so: soon!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Essential blanket-making material: scrap paper

My ripple blanket is coming along nicely, currently looking like this:
There's been some behind-the-scenes organizational work on its behalf too, though. Last weekend, in a fit of I-don't-even-know-what, I did this:
In case you can't tell just by looking at it, it's the color progression plan for the entire blanket. Since I'm making it at least partly to use up yarn that isn't allotted for other projects, I don't want to have to buy anything for it, and I was a little worried about using up all of the pretty colors early on and having two thirds of the blanket just be beige and light grey, which are the two I have the most of.

I had already figured out that one two-row stripe of Cascade 220 takes just a smidge under one ounce of yarn. Each stripe is about an inch in height and I'd like the blanket to be 72" long. So I cut out 72 small pieces of scrap paper, weighed each of the yarns I had set aside for the project and assigned that yarn a number of paper pieces up to but not more than its weight in ounces. So, if I had 2 5/8 oz. of aqua, it got two pieces.

Then I took two little snips of the yarn, taped them to those pieces and set them aside, numbering them to correspond to a key I made to indicate which yarns are which. I have three different dark purples in the mix, for instance, and it's not always easy to tell what's what from a 1" snip. When I had weighed and snipped all of the yarn, I arranged the paper pieces so that colors and neutrals and lights and darks were all distributed in a balanced way and then taped them to other pieces of scrap paper that I had numbered to correspond to the rows.

I'm sure it's not going to be perfect — I might find that non-Cascade yarns take more than an ounce to complete a stripe, leaving me with not enough yarn to meet the demands of the little paper pieces assigned to it, or the opposite, that I have extra of some colors to use up or, quite likely, both — but having this framework to check myself against will be very helpful. And with the brain work done, I can just sit back and crochet now.

Friday, December 5, 2008

In which I declare that I have an etsy shop

I do. It's here.

I had been holding off announcing it until I polished every nook and cranny (still haven't written a bio or figured out how to make the banner thing have both words and a photo), but if I wait until the site is absolutely right before I tell anyone about it, it'll never happen. I wholeheartedly believe that the perfect is the enemy of the good (which, seriously, if I were ever going to embroider a saying onto a pillow, that would be the one), and letting people know about it is a good way of keeping my momentum going so that I make a point of finishing the remaining site stuff I want to do.

I've had a lot of fun with the whole endeavor so far, thinking about what I want the pieces to look like, sourcing the chains and all of the vintage bits and bobs that go into them, actually making the stuff, taking photos, writing the copy and coming up with names, thinking about packaging... My overarching theme is What I Like. So, there's nothing in there that I wouldn't wear myself (in case no one ever buys anything ;)), and everything is priced to be impulse-purchase friendly. I know that I don't like to spend more than $25 on jewelry I haven't seen in person, and I'm not interested in shlock. So, nothing is more than $25 at this point and it's good-quality stuff, both the components and the finished goods.

I feel like a colossal dork announcing a commercial enterprise like this, but realize that I have to get over that if I want to make a go of this as a wee business. So, please check it out if you're so inclined and thank you for your attention. [curtsy]

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Spectacle Spectacular the first

Liz and I put on our best spectacles last night for the first episode of Elvis Costello's new show, Spectacle. The plan is to make a dinner each week that is inspired by his guest(s). I have to confess that those aren't my official spectacles — they were my dad's when he was in high school, but they were such a good match that I had to bust them out.
Liz's groovy cat-eyes:The show is great, a fun combination of music and conversation. Elton John was on, talking primarily about his songwriting and some of his early influences, especially musicians like Laura Nyro and Leon Russell who may not be as well known. I've never really cared about Elton John one way or the other and actually thought he was kind of cheesy, truth be told, but I came away impressed. I like hearing creative people talking about their creative processes and he was thoughtful and appealingly self-deprecating. Check out what we made for dinner here.

Next week is going to be awesome: Lou Reed and Julian Schnabel.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cross one off the list.

I finished my first Christmas present this weekend. I haven't knit anyone anything for Christmas for a few years now and it feels like time. My mom and sister-in-law will both get cashmere cowls. And since they each have a birthday that week, maybe a hat or fingerless gloves each too. My brother could probably use a new hat, though I haven't picked one out yet. And maybe a scarf for my dad. I'm pretty sure my brother absconded with the last one I made him.

This is the cowl for my sister-in-law, cast on Thanksgiving Day and washed and blocked this morning.
It's 20" around and 13" long, so relatively close-fitting, but it has a lot of drape, since it's cashmere/silk. I'm really happy with how it turned out and am publicly declaring that it's a gift so I don't decide to keep it.

I'm still waiting for good light to take some decent pictures of the fan stitch shawl, but here's a fluorescent-lit one from the train.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Who has two thumbs and is still at the office after 5:30 on Thanksgiving Eve?

(We have an honest-to-God time clock, so don't get paid if we leave early.)

At least it gives me a chance to blog about stuff I haven't mentioned since I've been so busy loving on the world for the last few days.

1. Liz and I made a lunchtime trip yesterday to CB I Hate Perfume, which we've been talking about doing for ages. My favorites in the bottle were Burning Leaves and I Am a Dandelion, but I didn't love the way either of them dried down on me. Liz tried Revelation (the figgy one) and one of the violet ones, but wasn't happy with them on her either. The trip over there was worth it just for a look at the industrial-chic shop (complete with friendly mastiff) though.
And I really liked the decorative elements, the branch with scattered eucalyptus leaves in the window and lab glass filled with dried poppies.

Not to mention this great sign we passed on the way:

2. I ripped the ripple blanket back to take out a stripe of tweedy handspun that was totally the wrong gauge and way too big so it was all lumpy and horrible. It was driving me nuts and I knew it wasn't going to get any better.
and after:
Ahhhhhhh. Much better.

3. I'm excited about Thanksgiving. I'm spending it with a friend from high school I recently reconnected with through Facebook after 14 years of being out of touch. Her mom is cooking everything upstate, packing it up and sending it down with her sister on the train. I think that's hilarious, and totally just like her mom, who used to feed us pretty much constantly from the moment we walked into the house until we left, to the point that she once literally chased me to my car to give me some apples. So, I trust that there will be a ton of food. I'm making a bourbon pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap crust and have high hopes for it. The plan is to eat a lot and watch movies.

4. I'm also excited about going to see Milk. I'm thinking Friday afternoon.

5. I've agreed to see Twilight Sunday night, which I'm ambivalent about, since I ended up hating that series with a fiery passion and Wrong-Spelling Meyer is such a diva, but the company will be good and the movie is supposed to be so terrible that it might come around to being good again.

6. I'm in the middle of casting off the blue fan stitch shawl (picot edge) and am either going to just squeak by with the amount of yarn I have or run out very close to the end. If that happens, I'm going to finish it off with some black alpaca and call it a day.

More things loved by me

I was planning to get back to my regular what-I'm-making blogging today, but I've noticed myself dwelling a bit on things that I hate (other people's hair touching me on the subway! roommates who don't do their dishes for so long they forget that they were the ones who used them!), plus I had a comment from Heather about making these love lists a Thanksgiving week tradition, which is an awesome idea. I much the prefer the way I feel when I'm thinking about the good stuff. So, one more installment today.

151. cranberry and popcorn garlands
152. carriage houses
153. the phrase "take it under advisement"
154. big, fluffy towels
155. thrift stores and flea markets
156. my favorite sandwich in the whole entire world: sausage, mushroom, broccoli raab and tallegio panini with pickled cauliflower and fennel on the side from Bocca Lupo
157. cobblestone streets
158. mittens connected by a string
159. poking around Metalliferous
160. finding different ways people are connected to each other, like when I randomly ran into Zoe's boyfriend Graham on the street today and he introduced me to his friend-from-home Neal who looked at me for a second, asked if I was a knitter and then said that I had come over to his house once to see chickens. (Neal is Martha's husband.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I can't stop making these lists!

126. old etiquette guides
127. wrap-around porches
128. rejecting ironic detachment
129. full-sleeve tattoos
130. giant belt buckles
131. high-fiving
132. unlimited Metrocards
133. archery ranges
134. fireflies
135. museums of medical oddities
136. going to the movies
137. crepes with jam and sour cream
138. hammocks
139. manifestos
140. figs
141. synchronized dancing
142. beachcombing
143. used bookstores
144. mushrooms popping up after a rainstorm
145. hairbrush and hand mirror sets
146. the electricity in the air right before a big storm
147. fondue
148. Amelie
149. lab glass
150. cream cheese frosting

Monday, November 24, 2008


Things I didn't have room for on yesterday's list of what I love in the world:

101. Monkeys that are smaller than the human hand
102. That scene in Jaws when they're singing on the boat
103. classic cocktails
104. so many kinds of cheese!
105. opening up your email to find a message from the one person you most wanted to hear from
106. sledding
107. hats with pom-poms on top
108. everything Anne of Green Gables ever said (bosom friends! the white way of delight!)
109. Trader Joe's
110. surprise care packages, both sending and receiving
111. natural colors of wool
112. pub trivia
113. audiobooks
114. jars full of buttons
115. 30Rock
116. bacon wrapped around just about anything
117. tweed jackets with suede or corduroy elbow patches
118. feisty old ladies
119. zip lines
120. vinegar
121. dusky blues and purples
122. ballet flats
123. the theme song to '80s cartoon The Gummi Bears

124. Thai iced coffee
125. Sherlock Holmes

Sunday, November 23, 2008

100 things I love in the world

(Inspired by Heather's most excellent post. I could have lifted at least half of hers into my own list, but I'm going to aim for no repeats.)

1. sea urchins
2. the smells of wood smoke, mulch, pine trees and apple blossoms
3. ginkgo leaves
4. accordion music
5. pajamas
6. asymmetry
7. fairy tales/folk tales/mythology
8. all members of the genus Corvus: crows, ravens, magpies, etc.
9. crumbling, post-industrial landscapes
10. insects
11. clouds
12. new pens
13. silly graffiti
14. obscure graffiti
15. quirky, beautiful graffiti
16. enthusiasts of every stripe
17. a sense of the absurd
18. random acts of whimsy
19. almond cookie ice cream at the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
20. goofy presents
21. old cemeteries
22. a plain outside hiding a surprising interior
23. cooking an elaborate dinner for friends
24. cooking an elaborate dinner just for me
25. creepy store window displays
26. exploring new neighborhoods
27. soup
28. dumplings
29. soup dumplings
30. starting a new venture
31. finishing a big project
32. canoeing with my dad
33. old family photos
34. thunderstorms
35. the fact that "Historic Bell Stolen Again" is front-page, above-the-fold news in Bennington
36. a big pile of books waiting to be read
37. pretty tea towels
38. falling asleep on the couch while reading on a Sunday afternoon
39. things that shouldn't work but do, like rose campion's combination of intensely pink flowers and muted grey-green leaves
40. hiking
41. plants that look like aliens
42. using New Year's Day to set the tone for the year
43. deviled eggs
44. watching whole seasons of tv shows on dvd
45. boysenberries
46. Moleskine notebooks
47. fancy chickens.
48. a challenging yoga practice.
49. recipes for terrible-sounding jell-o salads
50. dressing for dinner
51. unusual rabbits
52. punk: the music, the aesthetic, the attitude
53. making gingerbread houses
54. really elaborate costumes
55. a rollicking argument about something silly (zombies v. unicorns, anyone?)
56. the meat department at the now-closed Western Beef supermarket on 14th St. + 9th Ave., where instead of putting meat in refrigerated cases, they put it on shelves and refrigerated the entire room, like some kind of crazy royal storehouse
57. the fact that no one ever found that quite as odd and hilarious as I did
58. first-hand accounts of exploration
59. Lou Reed
60. fresh eucalyptus
61. surprising juxtapositions
62. pink dogwoods
63. bitter greens
64. having something you designed come out exactly the way you wanted it to
65. the Brooklyn Bridge
66. chicken soup with lemon juice
67. bare branches against a grey sky
68. mulled cider
69. silver shoes
70. remembering your dreams
71. my Aunt Yolanda's Christmas cookies
72. mutual admiration societies
73. moss and lichens
74. taking the day off on your birthday
75. stumbling across ruins
76. well-written mystery novels
77. a spirit of experimentation
78. pranks
79. the quality of light when the sky is front of you is dark, but the sun is shining behind you
80. sitting at the counter/eating at the bar
81. candlelight
82. cheering the runners on at the marathon
83. arranging books by color
84. Eastern European folk music
85. Catherine Ledner's animal photographs
86. hot pink nail polish
87. The Lower East Side Tenement Museum
88. altered taxidermy that looks like captured fairy tale creatures
89. all things yarn-related
90. the Mr. Romance competition
91. vegetables that contain smaller versions of themselves inside
92. Secret Science Club
93. old-fashioned butcher shops
94. the Promenade
95. oysters
96. keeping houseplants alive
97. friends in bands
98. peeling paint
99. sweets with just a bit of salt
100. the fact that I might have to do a follow-up since I had to leave so much out of this list