Tuesday, April 30, 2013

One Way to Battle Back

I know, that last post bummed you out.
Make your own clothes; make your own life!  Remember the Seam Allowance project?  Well, this dress - the Soho Smocked Dress from Kristina McGowan's Modern Top-Down Knitting - is one of my most recent contributions to my wardrobe.  Huzzah!  Made in Hamilton, ON and Berlin, Germany!

So Many Thoughts, So Little Time - A Rant

The last week has been rather busy.  We had a guest in town, and then the ladyfriend and I traveled to Bremen to see The Knife (full post on that coming, promise), and all the while I've been battling a sense of disgust at the world.  Oh yeah, full on thinking that there's nothing we can do.   Congress can't pass gun control legislation because so many of our politicians (not just Republicans) have been bought by the gun lobby and their own irrational fears of government control.  Shropshire sheep (a rare heritage breed) are being killed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency just because they might have scrapies (after destroying the pregnant, yes pregnant, ewes, all the tests came back negative).  If I want to get conspiratorial, I'd say it's part of a larger plan to have everything genetically modified (hey thanks, Monsanto!).  And then there's the collapsed garment factory in Bangladesh that's killed 377 and I'm sure most people are blissfully unaware of.   Check your clothes, I'm sure some of them will say "Made in Bangladesh."  It's almost unavoidable - like "Made in China."

Oh sure, there's more, but this is enough to start doubting the system's ability to actually make our lives better, not worse.  But we need to do more than just talk (or mope) about it; it's lit a fire under my ass.  How about yours?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I Know You've Thought it Before, But Now It's Official: I'm a Winner!

Yes, I've won the Matador Cape pattern from Holla Knits (the people who brought us the shorts*)!  I know this is so cliche, but I never thought it** would happen to me!  I've been thinking about making a reflective cycling cape, and this could really work for it.  Could you imagine if there were random bobbles that were knit with reflective yarn?  Shazam!

* I'm still thinking about them but will wait until the fall to make my final decision.
**"It" being that I won something after commenting on a blog.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Julie, I mean, Claudia, Your Cruise Director

One of the things about traveling to an "exotic" locale is that people want to come visit you, so for the past week I've been playing tour guide to a friend of mine.   Since she arrived early in the morning on an overnight flight from New York, we knew we had our work cut out to keep her awake to help mitigate any jet lag.  So off we went on a boat trip along the Spree.  Yes, I've embraced the tourist identity (well, sort of).

But we're not much for taking photos of historical buildings although we did snap a few of the Berliner Dom (Cathedral).
As well as a little scenery.
However, it was the second half of the tour, going deeper into the former East, that was far more interesting to us. 
East Side Gallery
Loved the older building sandwiched between newer ones.
Unfortunately, the tour narrative said nothing about the sights we found the most compelling - the complex squatter communities as well as the colourful graffitti.
Yeah, they probably meant me, too.
All in all, a beautiful day on the river Spree!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Empathetic Run

Thinking about the runners and spectators at the Boston Marathon yesterday as I go for my run today.  It's simply mind-blowing, and my thoughts go out to all those affected.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Bombshell or Just Bomb?

I saw these shorts mentioned on My So-Called Handmade Life, and I'm finding them strangely compelling.  Am I delusional or could I manage to rock these?
So wrong?  So right? So tell me.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Final Paris Post

I'm becoming more flexible.  I'll open a map in public (sometimes), and I've taken bus tours around the city.  While going on the Circle Line in NYC was fun (as someone who lived there and could be amused by it all) is one thing, going - as a tourist (see, I'm flexible - I can use the word "tourist" to refer to myself - sort of) - on a boat trip had been just short of mortifying.  But really.  Who wants to spend hours in line to go to these landmarks when you can see them from the Seine, idly floating by?

Welcome to the vacation slideshow 2013 edition!

Not all items of interest are in the tour books.  Makeshift housing along the Seine.

Vanna White has nothing on Don!

We can't figure out who is imitating whom.

St. Genevieve - Patron Saint of Paris

And then, one does have to eat.
I have to say, the steak tartare that Alana and I made was better.  Yes.  I said it.  Better.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Another Day, Another Croissant

Just another day in Paris
Let me take a few moments to give you an impression of the flat we stayed in in the Marais via some exterior shots.

Alas, all things have to come to an end (at least that's what I've been told).
In front of the heavy blue doors that led into the courtyard of our apartment buidling
Je retournerai.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

April in Paris

Gay in Paris
There are a lot of photos of us (all except one courtesy of the ladyfriend) in Paris, and despite the fact that I am a writer, I feel like too much narrative will bog down the recap.  To make it a bit more manageable as well, I'm dividing it into two posts - one for each full day we were there.  I don't want to tire you out!

Our first day we walked around a lot, getting a feel for the neighborhood.  The ladyfriend seemed to like to take photos of me on the move.  Good thing I was wearing my red Amy Downs hat!

Stopping in a park, I demonstrated my "Claudia as Sherpa" pose.
Camera bag, purse, photo print plus frame - I got it.
One model pose begets another
and another
Our friends and hosts, Don & Jean-Marc

(Believe me, there were even more!)

We were lucky enough to be in town for the Paris Haute Couture exhibition, which was on at the Paris Hôtel de Ville.  No photographs were allowed inside, but I'm not likely to forget the amazing gowns that were on display ranging from Worth to Poiret to Dior and more.  Seeing that kind of detail work up close was fantastic and allows one to understand the cost of an haute couture garment.

But there still more to see - like the polar bear!

Don trying to get a picture of himself with the bear.
And then there was this - how to smoke inside but outside at the same time.  So French!
Oooh la la!