Zarzuela Knits and Crochets
My blog about my knitting, crocheting, and anything else I feel like ranting about!

Lunch in Bryant park...


Lunch in Bryant park...
Originally uploaded by Zarzuelaknits.
Just a fun pic and a quick reminder to get your contest entries in by midnight tonight! I've gotten some great ideas so far (some from people who originally thought they had nothing to offer, so don't be afraid to enter!) and I can't wait to share them with you.

Thank god it's Friday....

The view from where I sit...


The view from where I sit...
Originally uploaded by Zarzuelaknits.
Ever sat in an orchestra? No?? Well now you have a bassoon-eye view of things. (But if you're me you arr just thanking god that there are only two more days this week. I'm beat!)

Checking in...


Checking in...
Originally uploaded by Zarzuelaknits.
Just thought I'd check in real qick despite having said you wouldn't hear much from me this week. Rehearsal last night wasn't too bad (we're doing the Berlioz Damnation of Faust if your interested) and I'm off tonight, but the rest of the week is pure madness.

Anyway, my reasons for posting are two-fold:

#1 - To say Wow! Thank you for your responses to my little poll. If you haven't already done so, please vote and check out the comments that others have left. I plan on giving my thoughts about the subject in a future post and I think there will be more polls here in the future.

#2 - Thank you to those of you who have given me feedback about the contest. I do appreciate that. And thank you also to those of you who indicated that you will be entering. In fact, I got my first entry today! :-) Now all we need to make this a real contest is a little competition, so remember that you only have until Friday at midnight to enter!

And for those of you who actually come here for knitting, I'm including a pic of my sweater progress. One ball down, 7 more to go.

Happy Tuesday!

Many random things...

So I find myself in Panera in NJ on a Sunday with time to blog while I wait for HWJF to finish working for the day once again. I really don't mind this situation. I have a nice spot with an outlet near the fire, some good food in front of me and I get to knit while I'm at it too (although I haven't quite figured out how to do that while typing. My toes are not that agile). Sounds like a good Sunday afternoon to me. I have many random things I want to post, so I might as well get to it, shouldn't I?

1. I think it is finally safe to make a rather big announcement. HWJF and I are moving in together this summer. That's right, we are shacking up, living in sin, whatever you want to call it. I cannot deal with my commute much longer, my expenses will go down considerably when sharing rent and all that goes with it, not to mention a cheaper commute, and, well, there is that small issue of us being rather in love with each other and wanting to spend a really, really, really, really long time together. So I'll be moving to NJ. I will definitely miss the many friends I have made in CT, but the overall lifestyle and quality of life change is really needed. We are both getting a little worn out with the jumping around between three states and generally running around like crazy people. We are so looking forward to the little things that most people take for granted in life like being able to plan an evening meal, prepare it and eat it without having to run out the door, going into the next room to talk to your significant other rather than making a phone call, and just the overall reduction in mileage for both of us. I'm very excited. He is too, and he even came up with the idea of us getting a yarn wall. How could I not love this guy?

2. I'm cheating... on my addi turbos! (Now what were *you* thinking?!) Yesterday I discovered Crystal Palace Bamboo circular needles and I think I'm in love. You see, last Tuesday I finally cast on for this sweater. [Please do not point out the fact that while everyone else is starting to think cotton, I am starting a wool sweater, and not just any wool sweater, one of epic proportions. Please also do not point out the fact that I will likely be insane by the time I finish all this cable work.] I decided I needed a project that I had to concentrate on. Well I certainly got it. Oddly enough while the middle motif looks the most complicated, it is the little horseshoe shaped one that is driving nearly drove me f*$^ing insane. While it looks rather indescript, the seed stitch nature of it had me so befuddled at times that it took me ages just to get through one right side row. But I digress. Getting back to the needles, the main reason it was taking so long to work a right side row on this thing was the fact that my beloved addi's just didn't have a sharp enough point. I like to cable without a separate cable needle, and I just couldn't seem to get into the stitches easily enough. A short trip to the Yarn Barn for something else (which I'll get to in a second) found me eyeing these needles and I figured it was worth a try. I'm such a happy knitter now! Not only are they easier on the hands (a side effect that I've experienced before and loved in crochet hooks, but was never able to find in a suitable knitting needle) but the point is just perfect and I flew through the first row I knit with them. The cord is a bit stiff and needed a good steaming after coming out of the package, but that straightened it out no problem. I probably wouldn't use these for magic loop knitting, but for this project, I'm totally in love. One thing I know for sure, when I decide to start a lace shawl, I'll be buying a set of these for it without question. If anyone knows a good source for these at a reduced price (they are nearly as expensive as addis), please leave me a comment and let me know. Sorry addis! I love you but sometimes you just have to go with something else.

3. My original intent in going to the Yarn Barn was to get the fall issue of Interweave Crochet. I gave them a call and they said they had it, so I got there with 10 min. to spare before closing time. You may notice that although the name of this blog is Zarzuela knits AND crochets, there has been a serious lack of crocheting going on here lately. I just haven't found much to inspire me on the crochet front. I decided to get this after checking out the new podcast appropriately called Crochetcast. I'm hoping the combination of the podcast and the magazine will get me back a little of the old crochet mojo.

4. Last week, I bought a domain name. It was pretty easy and I even got a discount for listening to the Daily Source Code. I'm not totally sure what I'm going to do with it just yet, but I expect the blog will be moving there eventually. I'm excited about the possibilities and will keep you posted on my progress.

5. Have you entered the contest yet? Of course you haven't. No one has. This makes me a bit sad. What is it? The yarn? The idea of taking a picture of your desk? The thought of being organized? Tell me. Seriously. I'd really like to know.

6. Speaking of telling me stuff, I've been thinking a lot lately about the reasons why I and others read specific blogs and not others. So I've created a little poll that you will find over in the left sidebar under "Random Fun Stuff". Please vote and if you have more to say or this doesn't cover it, discuss it in the comments. I'm very interested in the thinking here.

7. Just to let you know, I have the week from hell on tap next week. I have rehearsals for a job with the ECSO every night except Tuesday. This means that I will be getting home around 11pm, only to get up for work at 5am. I expect there to be little knitting, much less blogging or rational thought in the coming week. I'll be attempting to prepare a couple of posts that I can release easily for your blog reading pleasure, but don't expect much.

That's all the randomness for today. Have a great week (and get some extra sleep for me)!

Friday fun part 3


Friday fun part 3
Originally uploaded by Zarzuelaknits.
And last but not least...

#3 Which I will call "The hazzards of working in New York City". Yes ladies and gentlemen, a bird shit on me. And this happened shortly after I had seen and felt very sorry for a completely flattened (we are talking total pancake here) pigion (which I would like to point out that I did not take a pic of for the blog. I was on the phone at the time). What the hell kind of karma is that?! So when Sandy reminds us all to look up, perhaps it holds a different meaning for me...

Have a great weekend!

Friday fun part 2

Friday fun part 2
Originally uploaded by Zarzuelaknits.
#2 The pic of the legs is my nomination for worst post-St. Pat's day outfit ever. The pic doesn't quite convey the true neon green-ness of these tights. Think neon sign in Times Square and multiply by about a million! Pair that with her navy blue (no I'm not lying) dress and you've got a recipie for breaking the camera on my Treo. What you don't see on NJ transit...

Friday fun part 1

Friday fun part 1
Originally uploaded by Zarzuelaknits.
This is a test of a new photos to blog by e-mail from the Treo on the train arrangement, so I'm sorry if this ends up looking really weird. I'll edit later if necessary. I just had to blog a couple of funny/weird/silly things I've seen or have had happen to me recently. (I've discovered this only works with one photo at a time, so this will be in 3 parts.)

#1 This guy was found staring at me from the program notes of a CD I was cataloging. Now I ask you, if you got a cue from this dude with that look on his face, would you swallow your mouthpiece?! I think I would! *shudder*

Sock alert!!

Jaywalker Socks

Pattern: Jaywalker Socks from Magknits
Yarn: Trekking XXL
Needles: Size 2 Addi Turbos
Size: Small
Knit: Feb. 16 - March 20, 2006

Love this pattern! Love these socks! What more can I say? It was a great pattern for travel knitting once I got the hang of it and I really enjoyed knitting it. The yarn was a lot of fun too and I'm totally ok with the fraternal nature of these socks. I have a shirt that will go just perfectly with these and I can't wait to wear them both together and see if anyone notices. I lucked out with the fit considering I went up a needle size from the pattern. The chevron pattern seems to make them snug enough for me despite the fact that it uses several more stitches than I normally would for socks for me at this gauge. I think I may make a pair for HWJF using the stitch count for the large size. But for now, these are MINE! :-)

So now I just need to update my sock counters in the sidebar. Just a quick note that there will be a significant difference in the "Count Your Socks" counter. I somehow had it in my head that we were only supposed to count the ones we made for ourselves. In other words, socks made as gifts didn't count. Lynda cleared that up for me and now I'm going to fix up my counter. Just call me a big lame brain.

[Don't forget to get your entries in for the contest I talked about in my last entry. You've only got about 1 week left!]

Announcing for the first time ever on Zarzuela knits and crochets...


A contest!

That's right. In honor of my birthday month and the coming of spring I'm having a little blog contest where you could win (say it with me now) a fabulous prize! So what is my contest called?


Ok. Seems weird. But here's the deal.

I've been at my job for almost 5 months now and my cube is BOR-ING. Take a look:


Right side

Left side

Rather ho-hum, I'm sure you would agree. The thing is, some of the papers that are hanging there I need easy access to. I do have a few pictures under the shelf on the right, but that's about all I have as far as "decor".

So what do I need from you? Ideas! Inspiration! H-E-L-P!!

Here's what you need to do:

1. Take a picture of your desk. (Yes. this is somewhat cruel, I know, but think of it as "spring cleaning" motivation.) Now when I say "desk" you don't need to take it too literally. I generally mean your workspace, whatever it may be. So say you are a stay at home Mom and your "office" is the livingroom where you keep the kids stuff organized in some fab way that I can apply to my situation. Send it in!! This is an equal opportunity contest and not limited to those of us chained to a computer all day. Be creative!

2. Tell me about some of your best decorating/organization tricks in your space that you think might help me out.

3. E-mail me at my contest address with your picture and description no later than midnight EST on March 31st. Be sure to include your e-mail address so that I can contact you if you win.

I will use a random number genorator to pick the winning entry on April 1st. I will then notify the winner who will have 24 hours to respond and "claim" their prize by sending me their mailing address. If the first winner does not respond in time I will continue to chose a winner in this manner until I get a winner.

So what's in it for you? How about this:

A veritable grab bag of goodies. Two balls of sinsation in black that will make a sinfully soft scarf; 4 balls of Katia Venecia, two blue, two red; a full skein of Knitpicks Alpaca Cloud in Peppermint (already in a ball because I did start to knit something with it but I just didn't like how it was working out, but it is still good as new I assure you) and probably a few other goodies I'll throw in before I mail it off. Now tell me, that isn't a bad haul considering what you have to do for it now is it?!

A few ideas of things I would love to hear about:

What kind of plants would surive in conditions where there is absolutely no natural light (we don't have any windows in my office at all)?

What can I do with all those papers that I need quick access to?

What creative ways can I use to put pictures up of friends and family (I have some pinned under the shelf to the right now but it isn't too attractive)?

How can I bring some color into this space?

How can I incorporate my knitting and crocheting into this space?

How can I do all this and more without breaking the bank?

There are some ideas. Now it's time for you to get going and send in your entry now!

File under wtf?!


Today I saw this description of contabassoon tone in a book I was cataloging on computer music composition:

"flatulent-sounding tone"

Excuse me?! Yeah we do tend to fart around on the low end of things but it doesn't always sound like that! Geez...

They recently posted some interesting signs in the bathroom stalls at my office. Laminated and professionally printed signs. What do they say?


Be considerate of other users.
Please FLUSH the toilet after use..
Thank you for your cooperation.

Seriously. On company letterhead and everything. Whoever thinks this is an absolutly retarded waste of money when they can't seem to pay us even close to what we're worth please raise your hand. Yeah. Me too. And those of you who work in library land, is it just me or does this wreak of library-ease?! "Users"? This is not the OPAC we're talking about here people. It's the toilet! WTF!!

Baby Blanket complete!


Pattern: 4 x 4 basketweave
Yarn: Cottontots by Bernat
Needles: Size 7 addis
Knit: March 2-9 , 2006

Here it is. Another FO for the year. I have to say I'm pretty glad this one is over. While the yarn isn't all that stiff, it was a bit difficult to work with. The first two days I knit one ball a day. By the third day, I got about halfway through the third skein and just couldn't knit any more because I had a lot of pain in my right thumb. Perhaps I should have gone up a needle size to make a looser stitch, but I really like the fabric that this turned out at this gauge. Best of all, it is machine washable/dryable yarn and is very soft. I think it will make a good blanket for the impending bambino.

Speaking of the impending bambino, while I was working on this blanket on the train one night it suddenly hit me that this blanket will be wrapped around my college roommate's child. I'll say it again, my College Rommmate's CHILD. Perhaps I just have Peter Pan syndrome, or perhaps it's because I don't have a maternal bone in my body (except when it comes to furry children), but that really sat heavily with me. My dear friend, who I lived with for a year (and still ranks as the best roommate I've ever had), who suffered through all the same crappy Music Ed. classes that I did and had to do the same stupid papers and portfolios, and who even played the same instrument as me and dealt with lessons with Jacky G. (as we affectionately referred to our teacher when he was not present), the roommate who put up with my ex being around all the time and even managed to get along with him enough when I was around that we made meals together and washed dishes together (all three of us), the only college roommate I still keep in touch with, she has another human being growing inside of her right this very min. and will give birth in just over a month or so. Give birth. Those two words totally freek me out. Someone I know and love, who is only slightly older than me, will be giving birth soon. Mind you I've made baby blankets for other people, but this is my College Roommate. She will put my blanket over her first born. It boggles the mind.

I think that this is all hitting me so much now because of two things. A) my birthday just passed and B) I've been thinking a lot about what I want my life to be lately. When I first landed my job, I thought, "Yes! Now I can finally start living "The Rest of My Life" (whatever the heck that means". I had arrived. No more teachers, no more books (at least not to study like I used to. I may be a music cataloger, but I still have to do books!), no more living the life of the starving grad student. No more saying, "I'll do that after I get a job" because I have one! I'll be able to afford stuff! I'll be able to live the life I want.

Only one problem. I need to figure out what the heck that is.

Things at this point are trucking along and are by no means miserable (although the paycheck is not exactly what I had hoped for), but the job has brought with it some serious quality of life issues. I believe many of them directly relate to the 5 hours a day I spend getting to and from work. And I'm in the process of working to change that (the treo is just the first step). But I've really been struck by the fact that I need to start planning and dreaming for the future.

I just finished Knit Lit 1 and there was one story (whose author I, of course, cannot remember now) that really resonated with me. It compared life and relationships to a tangled ball of yarn. Getting out the tangles teaches us patience, how to see a problem from more than one angle, etc. etc. I guess my ball of yarn is just a bit tangle right now. I suppose that with time I will straighten it out. But for now it might be just time to sit back and think about what it all means.

If someone had told me how hard growing up was going to be I think I would have stayed in Neverland...

Birthdays aren't so bad...

Last Friday was my birthday. I was pretty much dreading it because a) who the heck needs getting older anyway? and b) I had to work and who wants to work on their birthday? But I was actually quite surprised by the way the day turned out, and pleasantly so.

First, the weather was Amazing with a capital A!! So warm and beautiful. As I walked to Penn Station in the afternoon I saw that it was 73 degrees in Central Park! Not bad for March 10th, that's for sure.

In the morning I got to go to a program at the research library that was quite cool. It was called "Books to Remember" and can be found online here. Some of the publishers and authors of the books selected were at the presentation. A short description of each book was given and some excerpts were read. Subjects ranged from feminism in the 1600s to the war in Iraq. I'm definitely going to keep my eyes peeled for some of these to add to my reading list in the near future.

After the presentation I had my lunch outside in the park (I told you it was nice!) I'd been waiting to do that since last fall and I just about ran out of my office. I was so excited I had to take a picture for proof:

And some of my lunch companions:

After eating I even managed to finish up Jaywalker number 1 and cast on for number 2. No SSS for me! The day only got better when I went out for a walk on my break later in the afternoon only to almost literally run into Mr. Softee! Being my birthday, I certainly couldn't resist the karma that put that ice cream truck in that place at that particular moment. :)

After work it was off to NJ for the weekend. That night HWJF and I had a nice dinner at a local hibatchi restaurant where I ate way too much and was entertained to boot. We tried to watch Wallace & Gromitt but I fell asleep (which seems to be the usual case lately).

Saturday HWJF had a few surprises up his sleeve. The first stop for the day, though not a surprise was something that I've been looking forward to for months. I finally got this. I cannot tell you how excited I am about this thing. I think I'll be so much more productive in general considering I don't get much done (besides knitting and sleeping) during my five hours a day of commuting. I almost don't need my laptop anymore with this thing. I'm still learning to use it, but I did manage to write part of this blog post with it. :) [We will ignore the fact that the process involved in me getting this phone and switching to a family plan with HWJF involved 2 hours at BestBuy, 1 hour at a Cingular store and another hour at Bestbuy, not to mention both of us having to get new phone numbers. I refuse to acknowledge that part of the day. However, if you'd like the full story, I'll be happy to tell you. E-mail me. It's definitely a "buyer beware" story.]

Next was a trip to the Elizabeth IKEA for yogurt, lunch and a walk around. We have both been to the New Haven one about a billion times but never this one. It was pretty much the same but did have a few things that were different stock wise and layout wise.

The third stop was the biggest surprise at all. Dinner reservations. At The Melting Pot! We were nearly in NY by the time we got there, but HWJF had set it all up. We had gone to the one in CT last fall and both ended up sick because we overdid it a bit, but this time we had a lovely meal with no ill effects later.

We ended the day with the latest Harry Potter movie and I managed to stay awake this time. I thought it was good, but they definitely took some serious poetic license compared to the book.

Sunday was yarn shopping day! HWJF and I set out with our trusty mapquest directions to check out Woolbearers. Unfortunately, mapquest didn't quite know where it was, but thanks to my trusty Treo 650 and the nice people at the shop, we finally made it. It was a small shop but had a much better range of yarns than some other places I've been to in NJ. And they also had some spinning materials and I found out more about their spinning classes (for future reference). Of course I couldn't leave empty handed so I came home with this:

That would be more sock yarn. Shocking, I know. I couldn't resist the color of the Cherry Tree Hill and the thought of cotton socks from the Cascade was intriguing. We'll see how they come out if I ever get them on the needles. These will both end up being pairs for me as HWJF made it known that he was not a fan of the red and I'm sure not giving up the colors in the other yarn!

The rest of Sunday was spent running some errands and getting some less expensive meals. We tried to watch Wallace and Grommit again by the fireplace this time. We both fell asleep! This is by no means a comment on the quality of the movie!! It was just a long but fun weekend for both of us.

That brings us to Monday, where I dragged myself to work but the fun kept coming because as soon as I was done, I got to meet Lolly! :) I'm still smiling about this. I really hope we can get together again when we have a little more time to chat. Here's the picture from my camera.

You can't really tell, but the clock at Grand Central is in the background. I returned to CT Monday night tired but very happy. This was definitely a birthday weekend I won't soon forget!!

Coming soon: A finished baby blanket, another pair of socks (?) and a contest. Stay tuned!

I got to meet Lolly!

I'm dying to tell you all about last weekend's festivities, but I'm having picture issues at the moment (i.e. The computer with the card reader is in NJ and I am not).
In the meantime, you can get Mondays part of the story over at Lolly's blog. She was in NYC and we got to hang out for a bit after I got out of work (I'm still laughing at being called a *real* librarian. It still doesn't quite feel like it to me!). Let me just say that Lolly is just as sweet and cool as she sounds on her blog. We had a million things to talk about and not enough time! Meeting her has really inspired me to keep on blogging (I've been considering giving it up lately or just posting my FOs or something). Our meeting just reminded me that craft blogging really is a community and there are so many wonderful people out there to interact with. I may not get many comments or hits to my blog, but the people that I do interact with really are cool and special and I don't want to give that up!
So go check out Lolly's trip to NYC and hopefully I'll have a new post up with this past weekend's adventures by Thursday. Hope you are having a great, craft filled week too!

Have you figured out what it is yet?

Does this ever happen to you?

You have this really awesome idea for a blog post. You think about it and get it all figured out.

You even get part of it done.

Then life happens.

The blog post doesn't happen. It was great inside your head, but getting down on electrons is just never going to happen.

Remember the Diary of a Super Secret Project Part I? I had this great idea that I would write a blog post or two about the process of making a hand-knit item from the perspective of the item. I'd do it in two parts and make the readers guess at the end what they thought the thing would look like before I posted the finished object picture.

Well, that was in January. I got the first half written while I was working on the project. Somehow, the project got finished and gifted, but the other installments of the diary never got written. And all the ideas that I had for the other parts?

Sucked into the blackhole that is my brain. Bummer.

It's now been almost a month since the FO was gifted, and the other parts just are not going to get written. Sometimes you just have to know when to let go (or so my yoga teacher used to say). So do me a favor, go read the post I linked to above. It's ok. I'll wait.

Did you read it? Good. Now, take a wild guess as to what it might be. Go on. No one's looking.

You don't even have to write it down!

So, do you think you know what the super secret project is? Now it's time to find out!

Super Secret Project Jan '06 (a.k.a. HWJF's Vest)

Pattern: Sort of my own with the help of The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns.
Yarn: Knitpicks Wool of the Andes in Carrot (about 8 skeins)
Needles: Size 7 Addi Turbos
Knit: Jan. 23 - Feb. 4, 2006

HWJF likes sweater vests, so I thought I'd make him one for a Valentine's Day present. I also know his favorite color is orange, so off I went to the Knitpicks catalog and picked out 9 skeins of this yarn. I ended up having an entire skein leftover plus some small parts of two others, but better to have too much than not enough!

To keep it all a secret, I measured the hell out of another vest he likes to wear that he left at my apartment one time. Using those measurements on the trusty book mentioned above, I picked out a v-neck pattern that I thought would fit with a few minor alterations. I wanted something simple, but not too plain, so I added a simple 8-row cable up the front. While I was afraid that this would pull the front out of proportion with the back, it didn't turn out that way. The blocking might have helped that.

I worked on this during train rides and times I was home alone and managed to pull it off without him suspecting a thing! His look of shock and confusion when he opened it was well worth all the sneaking around. I'm pretty pleased with how it all worked out and I think he likes it too. Here's a couple more pics just because...

Many thanks to HWJF for putting up with me making him get dressed up on a weekend for 5 mins. so we could take blog pictures in 15 degree weather outside! What I won't make my loved ones do to serve my public!

So there you have it. Not as cool a presentation as originally planned, but there it is.

You may go laugh yourself silly at my stupidity now.

I must really have been sick...


Because I almost forgot the most important part of my trip to Memphis! The yarn shopping of course!

The last couple of years I've taken a couple of hours out of the conference to check out a local yarn shop. This year I made a trip to The Yarn Studio, which was only a short cab ride from my hotel. What a cute shop! I wish I had thought to bring the camera so I could have taken pictures inside. They had a nice selection of a variety of different things including Rowan yarns, Koigu, a bunch of different types of sock yarn and lots of patterns and samples. I had it in my head that I wanted something to make a shawl with so I ended up with this:

It's Karabella Lace Mohair, 540 yards per skein. I love the color and the softness is comparable to the infamous Kidsilk Haze while costing a good deal less for more yardage. Anyone had any experience with this yarn? I'm still not sure what pattern I'd use with it. I'd love to hear any suggestions you might have for shawls or other wearables that would make good use of 1080 yards of laceweight!

Olympic-like knitting...

I'm making good use of my sick time in the meanwhile. One of my college roommates is pregnant and her baby shower is March 12th. I can't make it up to Binghamton to go, but I'm making a baby blanket to send. Here it is so far, one ball finished:

It's a simple basketweave pattern.

I've got three skeins to go but it's got to be finished, washed and in the mail before the end of next week. Will I make it? Tune in next week...

Sick at home...


When you are spending a quality day at home with this:

And it's doing this outside:

What better to do in the time you are actually awake than blog right? (Incidentally, when did daytime TV decide to suck so much? Or was I really just that bored before I got my job?!) I'm at home today and from the looks of things outside my window, it's probably just as well that I decided to call in sick. After a second trip to the dr. in a week my sinus infection has the beginnings of bronchitis in it's sights and I'm not willing to go there. So home I sit, blowing my brain out through my nose (snot farm anyone?) and ingesting as much fluid as I possibly can without peeing my brains out too.

Since I'm sure y'all wanted to know about all that and have continued reading (yeah right) I will reward you handsomely with a few more highlights of my trip to Memphis (which got me into this sniffly mess I'm in now). The conference, overall, was quite good. There were two sessions on sound recording cataloging, one on spoken word and the other on "unusual" formats, which I found very valuable. There was a good deal of discussion about RDA and the plenary sessions this year were the best I have attended in my four trips to MLA. One involved interviewing four members at differing points in their careers. These ranged from someone just starting out to a near "founding" member who will celebrate her 90th birthday soon! It was very interesting to hear how things have changed and yet, how similar some things still were. The other plenary involved Augusta Reed Thomas and the conductor of the Memphis symphony discussing the new work that would be performed that night as part of the commemoration of MLA's 75th anniversary. Both of them were very eloquent speakers and it was very interesting to hear about the genesis of a new work, straight from the horse's mouth.

As usual, the accommodations were very nice. We stayed here:

The Peabody Hotel. Quite the landmark. And definitely in stark contrast to the rest of the surrounding area. The Peabody is famous mostly for one thing. The ducks! They have a fountain in the middle of the lobby which hosts live ducks from 11-5 each day. They march in and out to a Sousa march and it is just the funniest thing to see. My pictures didn't come out all that well because of the lighting but you can kind of get the idea:

Twice a day the crowd that assembled to watch the march was like the worst paparazzi for any Hollywood star you could think of. Just too funny how people lined up, sometimes an hour in advance, to see these ducks do their thing!

You can see much more and read the story of the ducks at the Peabody Website.

I also got to walk down the famous Beale Street:

And even had dinner at one of the restaurants one night. Overall, the food was a bit difficult for someone with my dietary issues to deal with while I was down there. I had a salad one night and it was like a meal from heaven.

I also got to take a quick walk to see this:

That would be the Mississippi River. I've never seen it before. And I've never been west of it in the United States. That's right, I've been to Calgary and Banff and Vancouver (and hell, I've even been to Spain), but never west of the Mississippi in the U.S. apparently I may get my chance four years from now when MLA looks like it will be in San Diego! I'm very excited about that and the upcoming conferences in Pittsburgh, Newport and Chicago before then. At least I'll be able to drive to the next two.

I'm also happy to report that the Snowflake Bag brought a decent price at the silent auction and is now owned by someone who also won a package that included her first knitting lesson! Nice to see others picking up the craft.

I got a good deal of knitting done while I was on my trip too.

The Jaywalkers are for me and the other is for HWJF. Mine is Trekking XXL that I bought when I interviewed for my current job and the other is Regia that HWJF and I picked out at the Superbowl sale last month. What you see here is basically exactly what I did while I was gone. I have barely put three rounds on the Jaywalkers since I got back. Seriously. When I realized that, I knew I was really sick.

And after all that, I think it's time for another lie-down. Hope the end of your week is much less snot-filled than mine...