The City of Crochet

Crocheting...an escape from everyday life in Europe as I face the perils of yarn shopping in a foreign country and dealing with all of the crazy looks I get for crocheting & knitting on the public transportation system.

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Friday, April 28, 2006

Off I go!!!

I am stepping into a phase of my life that I am going to call Chaos!

I leave tomorrow for 3 days to Dublin for a little escape away. I fly back late Monday night and leave for the airport again on Tuesday morning at 5:45 to go to Zurich. I will be in Zurich until Friday when I fly back because my former boss Ian is visiting in Brussels and I've arranged a big going out session.

I'll end up in France probably for 2 days the following week and then 2 days in Zurich. I'll come back for the weekend and then on Monday its back to Zurich for an all-week training course. I fly back on the Friday hopefully in time to pick Russ up at the train station as he is coming in to visit for that weekend.

And then I have a breather as I currently will actually spend the whole last week of May in Brussels, although I am sure that one will change also! :)

I really am racking up the frequent flier miles!!

The reason for the flying is still linked with the job I am temporarily in. I've almost 100% decided not to take the permanent position - I am worth more than what the director is willing to offer to me, and even his boss and his colleagues agree with me and are wondering what he is thinking even offering me what amounts to a slap in the face! I am going to basically tell him this on Tuesday morning when I arrive in Zurich, and unless he rethinks his offer I will be sticking around until June and then new guy starts and then I am done!

Okay, I have to skeedaddle and get my booty home so I can throw some laundry in the wash so I'll heave clean clothes for the next 2-3 weeks!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I hate to wake you up to say goodbye....

I wish that I did have someone to wake up and say goodbye to when the taxi was outside my apartment at 5:45 this morning to take me to the airport!

I am back in Zurich again today and tomorrow. Several meetings and work sessions..... I can only hope that I leave the office tonight to go to the hotel before 10pm.....wishful thinking perhaps considering last week it was 11+!

I've been working on the Branching Out Lace scarf pattern using knit picks Gossamer in Sweet Pea. I must say that I am not liking it! I am going to work up one or two more pattern repeats to see if it looks any better, and then its frog, frog, and frog! I am liking the pattern once I got used to the new stitches. If I frog the knit picks, I am def. going to re-start it with a different yarn. I bought a mohair (Rowan Kidsilk) while in London which might look a bit better - its a solid light green color.

I am off to the first of many meetings! Talk to y'all soon!

Psst - my bloglines are once again way behind - I think that I am back up over 300, with 170 of them in the blogs that I read on a normal basis! Sheeessh! I need to work on some time mgmt skills to fit everything in! lol

Monday, April 24, 2006

Car sickness?

Can someone develop adult on-set car sickness?

I have never had a problem travelling in a car. Growing up we would go to Florida every year for Spring Break and drive there and back, and often go on other road trips around the eastern part of the US.

I noticed last year when I went to Florida with my family that riding in the back of the mini-van around town made me a bit queasy. And several times over the year while riding in taxis around Europe that I would often feel queasy. It does not happen when I drive and not every time I am in the car. Reading will sometimes set it off.

Am I imagining things, or can one really develope car sickness as an adult? Or is it just perhaps becuase I am not riding in cars that often that my body has forgotten the motion? I don't get sea-sick, and nor do I get motion sickness from rides (a good thing since I am a roller coaster fanatic). Airplanes never even phase me. Its just the occasional car ride!

Anyone else have this problem?

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Catching up & Spring Cleaning

Well I am back from the UK. I had an awesome time with Zori once again! We took the Eurostar Train from Brussels through the Channel Tunnel and into London. The trip is around 2 hours, and we spent that time listening to my Ipod while Zori read a book and I worked on this wrap that I am knitting with the boucle I picked up in Ireland: Boucle Wrap

Once there we went out to Windsor and stayed the night with our former colleague Wendy. We then proceeded to grab a car and drive all over the southern part of the UK - Leeds Castle, Brighton, Portsmouth, Salsibury, Bath, back to Salisbury to see Stonehedge and then back to London. Stonehedge was amazing to see. Bath was absolutely gorgeous!

We spent the last day shopping in the UK where I visited one store that sold yarn and bought some mohair in a really pretty spring green color. I also picked up some items for my secret pal which I have to get mailed out ASAP. I'm such a slacker! Sheesh!

We finished up our trip by meeting Russ at the Wellington, a pub next to the train/metro station Waterloo. Proceeded to drink several Guinness rather quickly since we only have an hour and a half until our train! It was great to see him once again - wish that we could have spent more time together but such is life! We did finalize plans for him to come over to Brussels the weekend of the 20th....something else to look forward to!

I will draw the names of the winners of the contest this week. I tried to print the names off last week but of course my printer is down and I was not going to write down all of the entries by hand! You'll just have to wait and see! *grin*

Spring cleaning time is here. I know that I have a lot of work to do on my blog. I need to take a good look at my bloglines which is in shambles! I have only one of my lists posted here which does not show all of the blogs that I read regularly so I need to re-organize a little bit! I also want to update links etc since many are old and no longer valid.

I've been visiting many of my old on-line forums less and less lately. Just can not seem to get interested!

I have my talk with my boss on the new position on Tuesday. Will wait and see what they are willing to offer, and then I need to make some major decisions!

Okay, may everyone have a wonderful week!!!!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Last day for comments!

This is it folks! Your last day to make comments in the contest! I know that I said that I would keep it open longer, but with my going on vacation in the UK for the long easter weekend, it does not make sense! I will not be posting anything!

So input your comments and I'll draw a winner when I get back from vacation....well, to make it all fair and honest and to have it properly audited etc etc etc *grin* I'll have Zori draw the winning names after she observes the inclusion of all entries into my lucky hat!

Its a conspiracy!!!

Crazy I tell you! As you know, I stepped into my current position to fill in for a guy who is out on medical leave and as a temp until the new manager that they hired started in May. I am in Zurich this week for our Quarterly Operating Review where we discuss with the head honchos back in the US the first part of the year results and our forecast (expectations) for the rest of the year. During the course of the past 3 days I have been approached by 3 people enquiring if I wanted to consider making my stay here permanent, including by my temporary boss last night at 11pm as I was leaving the office when he mentioned that the guy I am filling in for is in all probability not coming back.

Today during a meeting with the vice-president of the business I am working for, the VP came out and point blank asked me to stay and what it would take. Although he did not want to put pressure on me (yeah right). I said that I would consider it, and he mentioned that the Finance VP would be talking to me as well as another person or two!

Its a big giant conspiracy to get me to work in this group I tell ya! I refused the offer point blank a year ago (I think that the exact words were 'Is he smoking crack? Tell him to "F" off!' when my boss mentioned the offer to get my reaction which he seconded) and now they have slyly moved me into it and are pushing to make it permanent!

So I guess I need to consider my options. I would not mind moving to Zurich, but the end of the day question comes down to how long! I have not found a position back in the US that I like, and I have been bored in the past months before stepping in here......we shall see I guess!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

What a week!

Its been a crazy week so far! Even weather wise! I've seen heavy rain, snow, sunshine, gray skies and blue skies, a rainbow and everything else inbetween here!

Work has been the normal insanity - I left the office for the hotel last night at a little after midnight, and here I am back in the office this morning before 9! We are working on our quarterly operating report that we give to the head honchos back in the US.....it is my first time putting this report together, so it is sure to be an interesting exercise!

I did manage to sneak in some crochet time on Monday night in the hotel - started on a Secret Pal project and did a little bit on a flower design I am working on (I've gotten bored with the other patterns I was using).

I have woken up the past two nights at 5am for some unknown reason. Both night, wide awake at 5 am wondering if it is time to get up yet (thankfully its not) and then struggling to fall back asleep. Not sure if its the unfamiliar bed, or just the normal hotel noises that are waking me up! I normally don't have a problem sleeping in hotels - if its a bed, I can sleep on it. From the hardest mattress to a super soft feather mattress and even a waterbed - put me in it and I'll pass right out. Its a good thing when I consider the number of hotels I've slept in the past few years!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Hello! I hope that everyone is having a great weekend! Mine has been fairly enjoyable so far! Friday night saw Zori and I heading out for some wonderful Italian food, Cuban drinks and a late night of dancing! I met a guy at my favorite bar, Celtica who was deaf. While I know almost no sign language at all, we managed to comunicate with a bizarre mixture of hand signals and mobile phones! Momo (short for Mohammad) was very nice and had a great sense of humor! I can not remember when I last laughed so hard! Of course, part of the laughter was over the challenges of communicating!

Saturday saw myself and Zori heading to the center for some retail therapy! II finally found a tea-light oil warmer. I bought some Bath & Body work scents over Christmas and have been unable to find a warmer until now....my apartment smells all yummy right now! We headed back to town last night for some more mojitos and live Cuban music - great fun!

I have been busy all morning doing laundry - almost finished now! I hope that the majority will be dry before I leave for the airport at 4. I am flying out tonight because the morning flights are all booked. I'll get in about 8ish and then head out to dinner with Kim!

Oooh!!! Did I say that I bought an Ipod while I was in the US? It has been great fun putting my songs on it and making playlists and of course buying new music.....Itunes can be addicting! I bought a few CDs and a couple singles that I often sing! I also went out and bought a spliter so I can hook up two pairs of ear phones to the Ipod - when I am out with Zori and Kim we will often sit there with each of us having one half of the headphones so we can both listen - this will solve the issue! :)

Well, I am off to start packing - need to figure out what I am going to wear all week!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Finished!!!

Well folks, I have finally caught up on my bloglines reading......but I am sure to fall behind very soon! I booked a flight today to Zurich leaving Sunday night and coming back Thursday night. I leave Friday afternoon for the UK for the long easter weekend returning on Tuesday! I really don't have a chance! :)

As I probably will not be on-line that often and able to post, I think that I will extend the contest by a few days depending on when I can post! I've also decided to offer a second prize drawing since I never did a 10K readers contest. As pointed out by a non-crocheter, I am willing to consider an alternative to the Knitpicks gift certificate, which can be decided with the winner(s)!

I am off for the evening though - I am heading out with Zori for dinner, a drink or two and some dancing....My goal is to avoid trouble......I seem to attract it, so who knows how long I will be able to avoid it!

I will leave you with two pictures from my trip to Oktoberfest in 2003! The first is a picture of the church next to the fair grounds (I have no clue what the name is) and the second shows a potential career option for my if I ever decide that being a bean counter is not my true calling in life! If I remember correctly, I had 7 or 8 steins in my hand!



Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Morning Coffee Break

Okay, its actually a tea break for me, but its the same concept! I was sitting here on my break enjoying my tea and talking to two of my fellow co-workers / friends Zori and Suzy. Suzy looks at us and goes 'I'm in the mood for a Guinness' Zori's reply 'Sounds good to me' My reply 'Okay, lets go tonight' So there we were at 10:30 in the morning deciding to go get Guinness after work......is the day over yet? =)

I know that I have not been doing Travelling Thursday that often, hopefully I can start back to doing it! I know that many of you like seeing the photos from the different places! Well, since I have been spending so much time in Zurich lately, here are a few pictures from my previous trips there (I finally found the CD, and the dates on the pictures are wrong - I think these were taken in 2003 or so):



FYI - The Church is Grossm√ľnster and was built from the 11th to 13th century. The view from the towers is amazing! The choir loft contains stained-glass windows made in 1932 by Augusto Giacometti (nephew of Alberto Giacometti, the famous Swiss abstract.)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Musical Talent

Out of curiosity, which of my readers play an instrument? Any?

I know that Lori plays the cello (and named her cello Trinity) but what about the others?

I would say (and I think that my parents would agree) that I am the musical one in the family....when it somes to instruments. I could not sing to save my life!

My earliest memory of an instrument is a little childs size guitar that I had. I remember dancing on the "stage" that was in our basement (a built in bench) and strumming that guitar like I was Jimmie Hendrix.....not that I had any clue at about age 6 who Jimmie Hendrix was!

I started playing the B flat Clarinet in 5th grade band, and played all the way up through college. I left it in the US when I moved to Belgium, but when I do have it near me, I will drag it out and play some scales and favorite songs. I would be able to play the other assorted clarinet family instruments (contra, bari, bass, E flat) aside from the double reeds (oboe and bassoon), and actually played the E Flat for a while in college!

I taught myself to play the piano and read the bass cleft. I'll never be a pro, but it is something that I enjoy and love to do! My parents have my best friend Stormy's piano at their house and I always play when I am home - Fur Elise, Phantom, Irish Songs, Save The Best for Last, Pachebel's Canon and other random songs. Even being away and not playing for months, I can still walk in to the house, go to the piano, sit down and have the music flow from my fingers out of the depths of my memory.....its like my brain does not even need to work - the music just flows!

While living in Ireland I bought a guitar and started in on playing that. I had mastered the basics and a few easy songs when I moved over here and left it with the clarinet thinking that it was not a priority when I could only bring 3 bags (a girls got to have at least 5 pairs of shoes - black heels, black flats, brown shoes, runners and one pair of sandals!)! I occasionally played Zori's guitar here over the past few years....I fear that I will need to start again!

I once was able to play the flute and the saxaphone, but I fear that the memories of the correct fingerings have gone by the wayside! I went to Dinant Belgium a few months ago which is where Alfred Sax is from, which was very pretty!

The one instrument that I can not play yet that I want to be able to play is the violin / fiddle. I am obsessed with the violin! I've wanted to learn for years! A while back I started lessons here but due to time constraints I was unable to continue. One day I shall start again!!

My goals when I move back to the US is to buy both a piano and a violin for myself and start taking violin lessons and guitar lessons. I would not mind to take some official piano lessons either - I am sure that my technique is not right and that I do many things wrong.....the results of being self taught! The purchasing of the piano might have to wait though until I have moved into a house and not an apartment!

Happy Blogversary To Me!

Wow! A year of blogging! I can not believe that it has been that long already! I still can not remember how I came across blogs and blogger exactly. I think it was via a friends homepage, but that memory is looooong gone! I do remember in that first day of blog exploring stumbling across Amy's blog and thinking how cool it was that Crocheters had blogs (I had only been crocheting for about 3 months at that time). I then discovered Crochetville and found more and more blogs about Crocheting. I started my non-crochet blog first and then figured that I really should split them into two blogs and voila! The City of Crochet was born!

In case you missed yesterdays post, I am having a little comment contest in honor of my Blogversary! All comments left starting yesterday (Yes Lori, yesterdays comments count, including Jessicas and Pyo's who were left earlier in the day) count. For each comment, one entry is given! Comment 10 times and you have 10 chances! No One Entry Per Person or Household contests on my blog! *grin*

In reply to several of yesterday comments:

Swapna - "Okay, please make space on the bandwagon. Does a bandwagon have seats or only standing room?" I do believe that a bandwagon has both sitting and standing room areas! Heck, pile on top of one another if you must! The more the merrier!

Vera - I enjoy reading you blog as well! So glad that you like the photos of Europe - I promise to start posting more....matter of fact, here is one taken from the window of the hotel room that I had my parents stay in while they visited Paris last October! The hotel was in the Moulin Rouge area and not the nicest in Paris, but the price was right and the view was amazing!


Lori - You never know, a space ship just might improve your luck! *grin*

Thanks for the comments! Bonne Chance!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Its Tomorrow!!!

Thats right folks! Tomorrow is my blog-versary!

In honor of my one year of blogging (and to commend those of you who have been faithful readers) I am going to run me a little comment contest.

I will try to post as much as I can over the next week, and all comments received during this period will be thrown in a pot and a winner will be choosen.

Whats the gifty? Hmmm.....I think that the winner will have a choice between a gift certificate to Knit Picks, a Mystery Order from Knit Picks (choose by moi) or a Mystery Gifty Package put together by moi here in Belgie (choco perhaps included in the gifty)......

So step on up folks, let you fingers get flying and start a commenting!

(is it just me or does this seem like a desperate plea for comments? *grin*)

*yawn* please tell me its Friday

I am never going to make it until Friday! As many of you know I've been juggling life, work, friends and family for months now. Well it has all kinda hit the fan with my new job and my juggling balls have all hit the ground at least once as I struggle to keep them all going. Yes, I know that I should be all relaxed and ready to go after my vacation, but I have walked back in to a war zone in the cubical trenches. Okay, we don't have cubicals in Europe, but if we did I would be in one at this exact moment!

Many of you do not know what my life was life a year and a half ago. I was literally working 15 hour days plus some time on the weekends. I was making myself sick. One reason why, even though I loved my job and the people I worked with, I was happy when I had that chance to walk into a new position during restructuring. I wonder what I was thinking when I agreed to come back and work for this same group!! Okay, its a different role in a different business, but the business has issues that need solving after several months of neglect while the prior person in this role was having a breakdown. What does that mean? Lots of hours and lots of stress!

I even had another fun visit to the commune today to straighten out my residence card and of course even that did not go right since it seems that my file is all messed up! the file is being sent to the minister of foreign affairs to get sorted......so I am living here illegally right now. Wonderful! I am waiting for the police to show up and escort me to the airport and onto a plane for the US....hmmmmm....that might not be such a bad thing! LOL

I am staying in Belgium this weekend and heading off to Zurich next week for 3 days....yippee!! For Easter I am heading to the UK with Zori where we will travel around the southern part of England...I am voting for a visit to Stonehedge....We will see though!

Crocheting has been nil to none! Lazy me I know. I did finish some flower work while on the plane back from Zurich! I'll get better....just need to find some motivation I guess. But with looming flower deadlines and secret pal items to make, I had best get my booty in gear and get going!

*hugs* everyone

Pssst - bloglines update is: 892 unread blog postings *sigh*