Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Another Episode of "Our Life in Brooklyn"

Life has been good lately though we're all succumbing to the season's cold. Matthew is over his, I'm starting mine and the others are at different stages of the "runny nose" infection. We all seem to get along well even when we're sick so that's good. I just realized that we've been in NY for over a month already! We arrived on Sunday February the 8th. Crazy. Here's a few things that have kept us busy.

On Saturday Fr. Andrew asked me if I would walk. I was sure what he meant (some things get lost in translations) but I agreed I could walk thinking maybe he needed me to go pick something up for him. It turned out he wanted to take the girls and I to Jamaica Bay preservation which is, according to the Brooklyn Bird Club, "one of the most important urban wildlife refuges in the United States. Encompassing 9,155 acres, it is comprised of diverse habitats, including salt marsh, upland field and woods, several fresh and brackish water ponds and an open expanse of bay and islands- all located within the limits of New York City. The Wildlife refuge is nationally and internationally renowned as a prime birding spot where thousands of water, land and shorebirds stop during migration. More than 325 species have been recorded here during the last 25 years. "

It was great! We got to see lots of these -

I could have sworn we were in Nova Scotia, until I would spot city buildings across the water.

Unfortunately we were on a time limit, I could have spent a full day there walking the trails and listening to the birds. There were creatures I had never seen before like the Horseshoe Crab. One of the girls told me it was a crab and I replied "no, that's just a car part that washed up", I have to admit I was quite far from it and the shell was in two pieces :)

There is even a trail that leads to this type of creatures -

But we didn't have time to follow it so I took a picture of a replica especially for my friend Sherrie who loves turtles. When I go back I'll try to spot real ones!

In other news Matthew and I have kept up our scavenging habit since we moved. A couple of weeks ago he surprised me with a nice wicker side table that he found on the side of the road (it sounds so much better than saying "in the garbage") and this is our newest find before cleaning it up (it was covered in plaster)

and after.

I would not advise anyone to put a plyboard/metal shelf unit in a shower to wash but this one needed it and we knew in advance that it was chosen solely for pratical reasons. It actually survived the soaking quite well and sits happily in a once-bare corner of the room. That's where my knitting stuff will be.

Talking about knitting I finaly broke down and went to see the local yarn store today. If your favorite yarn is Patons or Lion Brand you would totally love this place. The walls were covered with all the variations of. As for other more "exotic" yarns (which is what I was really hoping to see) there was some mohair on the back wall but you couldn't really see it. Two things should have warned me that this was going to be a bit disapointing 1) the smell of weed as I walk in (???) 2) the fact that the two staff people were men. Now if one of them had been Jared I would have entered the shop with full confidence but he wasn't one of them... They did prove to be very welcoming however, and they sell bamboo needles, but it was a bit disapointing. I did buy a skein of black Classic Wool by Patons to make Matthew his favorite hat as he lost his on one of the subway rides. I just felt so bad they didn't have any better stuff that I wanted to buy something (ridiculous, I know). It's 100% wool and it's processed in Canada, and it has cute sheep on the label.

I'd be really disapointed if that's all there was but there are so many yarn shops in the city that I know I'll find what I'm looking for!

Oh yah, we tried to move the car today and it won't start. Thankfully we can leave it where it is until next Tuesday (that's when they do street cleanup which equals prime ticket time) so we can try to figure something out before then.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Gifts from Alabama

So we're starting to adapt to our new life. Matthew has finished his orientation and begun his
"real" work, I'll write more on that later. I'm still learning to live as the "Midwooders" do it. Everyday chores take more planning and more time. Doing the laundry involves getting out and scheduling time for it. No more tossing the laundry in and getting 20 more things done at the same time. At this point multitasking is kept to either reading while the clothes are being washed or staring at the wall, I prefer the former though I must admit sucumbing to the latter every so often.

I also learned that if someone sends me a package without putting down the apartment number the said package will promptly be returned to the sender. This is what happened to the package Forrest and Patsy sent me for my birthday. I forgot to give them the precious information! No matter, it arrived this morning and I was just as excited to open it as I would have been the day of. I wasn't disappointed!!!

This is the "Yarmouth lighthouse Rough Seas", painted by Forrest himself (Matthew's dad). It's nice to see something familiar such as the lighthouse. I love it and I'm so happy to have some art to hang in our new lodging. We left with the bare minimum and that didn't include much art. Forrest has many beautiful pictures of a theme I really enjoy you can view more of his work here.

I also got some wearable art!

This is such a joyous thing! It's "Springy" and bright and happy. I've been wearing my shawls a lot lately so this new addition is most welcomed! And then to top it all off, they sent me a box of the most "caramelish" tasty looking chocolates! Yum! Thank you sooo much to both of you!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Beware #2

Yesterday turned out to be a very expensive day. Having returned from my walk I received a call from Matthew. He told me our car had been towed (a sign that reads "No Standing at Anytime" really means "No Parking at Anytime") and gave me the number to find out exactly where the car was sitting. I called the number and after pressing way too many buttons I got to talk to someone who told me I had to call this other number. This second number led me to someone who didn't know what Canada or Nova Scotia was (we had to provide the place the car had been registered) and who had a hard time understanding that my car was an Oldsmobile not a Lumina and that it was green not blue, and "no there was no chance someone would have even considered it to be blue..." She finally gave me another number to call. The third number led me to someone who wasn't familiar with NS but was able to figure out which car was mine and was kind enough to explain to me where their tow pound was and what we would need to do to get it back which included paying the towing -$185.00.

Matthew came back from work and told me he had gotten a ticket that morning because he was parked too close to a fire hydrant, that one was $150.00. We hopped on the subway to go get our car. The subway didn't go as far as we needed to go so we had some walking to do. We knew that, but we didn't know just how far we'd have to walk. After a while we saw a NYPD tow truck (they're the ones who towed us) and stopped to ask him where the pound was. He looked at us and said "are you walking?? (I could have been really snarky but the guy was nice and had a good sense of humour) he gave us the directions and we continued our journey. It took us an hour's walk to get there. Once we entered the office we found out we'd have to wait for another long while as many people had tempted fate that day. It took us two hours of waiting to finally get the wonderful green slip that allowed us to take our car back. When Matthew got to the window there was another ticket, that one was for the parking violation which the towing fee did not include- $115.00. That's when I understood why the young lady next to us had decided to donate her car to a charity instead of redeeming it.

After all this grueling affair we were just so excited to get home, but that's not how it was meant to end. Matthew got in the car (I had to wait outside of the parking lot because of regulations) and... the car wouldn't start! I couldn't believe it. After all this effort at trying to get it out of jail the thing decides it likes it there and wants to stay. We had to wait for someone to come and boost us but that wasn't working. Matthew kept trying and at 9:59pm the guy said "I'm off at 10:00", Matthew asked to try one more time. He tried and the car STARTED! A miracle at the end of the day! We drove off, VERY thankful to have a car back and to have prayers answered.

In our attempt to get home Matthew drove the wrong way onto a one way street (I can vouch for him that there were no signs showing it to be a one way), a cop saw us and stopped us. At this point we just laughed. How ridiculous could this get? The cop was very understanding and only gave us a warning. Matthew said that he'd probably seen how much money we had given NY today! We made it home without any further obstacle.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


On my extremely long walk (I got lost twice, once because of bad indications) I decided to try to find a new skirt. The first store tried to sell me one for $135.00! I mean if there was anything to it, but it was just flimsy black fabric that "people raved about" (she said three times), no thanks. The second shop was much more decent with nice stuff for regular prices (which seemed like steals compared to the $135.00 item). All went well until I was sent to the dressing room to try them on.

I walked into this "largish" room but there was already a lady trying on stuff with another women telling her it didn't fit right. I looked around confused and managed to ask if this is where I was to try my clothes. My vendor smiled and said "yes", to which I muttered something like "we're not used to this back home..." while another lady came in to try some stuff. My helper didn't take pity on me and replied "this is much better because we can be with you and tell you if it fits or not" which they did - all four of them. I managed to remember all the summer camp tricks and showed the least amount of skin as possible and I got out of there with a nice skirt! I have to admit that it would be pretty hard to get out of there with something that didn't fit well.

So anyways, if trying on clothes with 2 other ladies and 4 workers isn't on your list of things to do, stick to Walmart.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

New Knitters

So I was thinking "I haven't had time to meet knitters around here yet, and I really need to feed my addiction by being with other addicted knitters. I think I'll just have to create new ones!" And so I did. When the twins least expected it, I got them tangled into the web. They don't seem to mind though. I think they'll do just fine!

Just in case the hook wasn't in deep enough I decided to wet their appetite with this.

It worked. They are totally taken with knitting and are already planning the different things they will knit. I just have to make sure they're not knitting when they have to be studying for their math exam.

Just as we were packing up for the night, a package came in for me! My first package at my new address! It was from Sherrie and it contained some really, really yummy stuff!

It's north loop yarn's superwash merino DK and it feels super soft. The colorway is "Evergreen" and is greener than in the picture you can actually smell the pines as you look at it. It's really nice and I can't wait to knit it up! Thank you so much!!!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Our Neighborhood - Part 2

Being curious by nature and blind when it comes to signs that read "do not go on the roof", Matthew and I decided that it would be nifty to see our neighborhood from up there. It was pretty frigid but really worth it. I felt like Mary Poppins and a certain song popped into my head. It's nice to see the world from a different perspective.

You can see Brooklyn Heights in this shot.

This one shows you that people spend their money in very similar ways as back home.

Matthew was a bit pale when he got up this morning so I advised him to lay in the sun for a while.
I guess we're not the only ones to can't read. That's good we may get to meet kindred spirits (or as Anne Shirley liked to call it "bosom friends") while we're here.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

*Reason # 106 - I gave up Atkins today

So Saturday was my birthday! I turned 28 on the 28th. Thank you for all the birthday wishes y'all (practicing for when we do get to West Virginia). Matthew had to go to a CPR course in the afternoon so we walked in the morning and after he left Fr. Andrew and matushka Zhanna invited me to go to Brighton Beach with them. I should have deduced from the name that we were going to a beach but somehow I didn't really think I would find a beach scene in NY though we are surrounded by water. I must say that lots of places around these parts have names that lead you to believe something about the place they refer to only to find out that the name bears no relation to the place. Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised to see this -

And like in Yarmouth there is a population of dirty birds. People feed them around here.

The sand was really nice and there were other things that reminded me of home.

After the beach we walked on Brighton Beach Avenue. It's a very interesting area of Brooklyn. A lot of it is comprised of Russian stores where you can get all kinds of tasty Russian treats. I wanted to show you this shot because of the railroad you see on top of the street. This is a usual thing around here. You have a street covered with rails for the subway. It makes the streets really dark and loud.

After our adventure we came back home and Matthew and I went to church for the vigil. It was really nice. Metropolitan Hilarion was there and we got to have his blessing, not only that but they took out the Kursk Icon which resides at the Synod permanently and we got to venerate it. Now that we live here we get to venerate it every week (usually through the glass though, which is nice but when we venerated it yesterday it was fragrant and we couldn't smell that through the glass). The first time we venerated it was right before our wedding. We were told it would bless our marriage. That was a highlight. On our way home I decided I wanted a cupcake. I've read much about NY cupcakes and frankly I didn't really get what the big deal was with eating an oversized muffin. That was until I stepped into Crumbs and bought a black forest cupcake.

I waited until we got home to eat it (I hate eating on the run - how can you savor anything in a hurry?) and this is what I did to the poor thing.

First bite was good.

The second one was great.

The third one was even better.
The thing was to die for. I didn't have to quit Atkins (I've never been on Atkins, just to make that clear) to eat their cupcake and I don't need any reason other than the fact that it was soooo good. Sooooo good that after today's Liturgy I stopped by and got another one. I also got Knitscene, a knitting magazine with a few nice vests I intend on knitting. this cupcake is named Red Velvet and looked much better in the shop but it had sustained a bit of damage from being in my bag for the best of 3 hours.

I'm hooked and we're now officially in Lent which means no cupcakes for me for the next 40 days. Reason # 107 - Lent is over.

*There is a board in the shop showing people's reasons for eating Crumbs cupcakes.