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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Work Avoidance

I have several things I *should* be working on. But when I get stuck, I'm great at work avoidance. So, here's a hat (Odessa by Grumperina) that I had been promising my friend for ages. It's worked up in Rowan Wool Cotton that I had in my stash - oddballs that I got from a sale a long time ago. Despite being warned that the hat would turn out too shallow without adding a few repeats, I still managed to make the hat shallower than I meant to. My friend specified that she wanted a hat with a brim that can be rolled up. I hope this is enough. It's off to her now. And I need to get back to work!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Dangling Candy in Front of a Baby

A yarn strore in Parma, frustratingly closed on Sunday.

This *almost* made up for it:

A carving station at a local restaurant, featuring Parma's most famed products - parmigiano reggiano and prosciutto di parma.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Back and the Passport Story

Well, we're back from our holiday trip to Italy and it's time the passport story is told. Let me preface this by saying that the Chang family is known for being extremely absentminded. Members of the Chang family have been known to go tranquilly to the airport only to find out at the airport that they had just a reservation, not an actual ticket. Members of the Chang family have been known to lose their passports not once but twice while travelling abroad, once leaving it as a security deposit at a Greek Isle boat rental facility only to have that facility close before retrieving the passport for a scheduled departure that day.

Meanwhile, the Chinchio family (my in-laws) are known for being super organized. The Chinchios trace the outlines of different tools in the garage to ensure that they will be put back in their proper place. The Chinchios track energy consumption going back many years, decades even, and file everything in its proper place.

That said, on the eve before our departure for Italy two weeks ago, at around midnight, my husband was gathering our documents for our flight out of Newark the next afternoon when with a surprised shout he threw the passport at me in disbelief. Turns out that my passport had expired in August. Frantically, we searched the internet (thank goodness for Google) and found several private agencies that claimed to be able to supply a passport renewal within 24 hours. Still, we needed the passport within something more like 5 hours, not 24, so we were in dire straits. But my husband was calm (as he always is) and we replanned the next day. Instead of leisurely leaving in the late afternoon for a direct train trip to Newark, we left for the city at 6 a.m. to go to the only one of these agencies to have a 24 hour phone access line. We got there at 7:30 and with some fast talking at the counter, we managed to convince them to attempt to get my passport renewed. At first, they insisted it couldn't be done. It would require hanging around for a few hours on zero sleep and then going directly to the US Passport Office to get the passport from the agency's representative. There would be no direct contact with government officials. I had no idea such services existed, but for those of us who are messy and hopelessly disorganized, they are truly a boon (at a price of course!).

Anyway, that's the passport story. We were very tired, but everything worked out.

And as a reward for reading that long long story, here's a picture of the yarn store I visited in Milan. Look at all that yarn! My poor husband had to literally tear me away. Every wall was similarly covered with yarn, but strangely enough, customers weren't allowed beyond the central region. To see yarn on the shelves, we had to enlist the aid of a shop worker. It was very very frustrating to not be able to touch the yarn at will.

Another strange thing is that the yarn shop didn't sell any knitting magazines. My husband says that Italy isn't known for customer service - that selling knitting magazines at a yarn shop would be too obvious and too helpful. Instead, I got some magazines at a newsstand on the corner.