Thursday, January 31, 2008

Time to Play

Knittah's Dad works hard. But this was our first trip to China, so we got to see some sights too. Here we are at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology.


Knittah's Dad said this was a statue of horned dinosaurs, but not Triceratops. I don't know what that means though!

This is one of the botanical gardens at the Institute of Botany in Beijing. It was October, but look at the flowers! Can you see me in the picture?


This is a monastery in Beijing. I forget the official name, but I sure think it is amazing!


Finally, this is the famous Great Wall of China. But guess what? Knittah's Dad was carrying me in his pocket, and FORGOT to take me out! So I didn't see it. I went all the way to China, and even got to the wall, but I didn't get to see it. Sigh.


Official Meeting Type Stuff

My trip to China was a business trip, after all, so Knittah's Dad took me to meetings right away. We started at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

This is our group from the US along with the outreach team at the Chinese Academy of Science.

We met with Chinese scientists to talk about climate change and how to fix it. There was a lot of serious thinking going on.*

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Fortunately for me - I mean, us - we had a delicious lunch! Everywhere we went in China, our hosts always provided elaborate meals and banquets. I even got my own plate this time!

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*Knittah says that a recent article in The Economist talked about the Chinese government's slow action and commitment to addressing pollution issues. While some officials and scientists are advocating very strongly for better policies and enforcement, the government is not investing enough money or attention in the problem. Our group is trying to help them change that.

Reporting In

Hi there, Swatchy McSwatchypants finally reporting in! Guess what? I went to China!

I accompanied Knittah's Dad to China as part of US group meeting with Chinese scientists on global warming. But I'll get to that. First, Knittah's Dad had to pack me in his bag to make sure I traveled safely.


It's a very very long trip, although I guess Swatchy Hugz already told you that. I was homesick when we got there, and tried to call you. That's my friend Frank helping me out.


Luckily, our hotel was very nice.

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Check out this amazing carved elephant tusk in the lobby of our Beijing hotel! Isn't it cool?


Did you know that Beijing has terrible air pollution?

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The Chinese economy is one of the fastest growing in the world, and this has led to lots more cars and buses on the roads and many more factories. The good news is that the government has paid attention to the need to clean the air, especially because of the upcoming Olympics. Even so, Beijing is a big city, and a bit scary for little old me!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Day at the Monuments

On New Year's Eve Day, Eliza and her Welsh friend Madeleine and I took a stroll around the Mall in DC. Madeleine is taking full advantage of all DC has to offer before returning to the UK next month (snif!). We live in the area and do this very a good excuse. And a beautiful sunny day to be walking around.

Madeleine very artistically composed this photo, with the Washington Monument coming out of Eliza's head:

me and swatchy c and wash mon

We strolled down to the World War II Memorial first. This memorial is extremely moving, the more so for the experience of the last few years.

swatchy at wwii memorial

As you enter the memorial, the walkways are lined with bas-relief panels that depict scenes from the war and wartime. Apologies for the resolution--they were a bit difficult to photograph:

This one depicts women serving in the military:

swatchy and bronze

This shows Rosie the Riveter:

swatchy and bronze 2

The following depicts flight crews prepping their bombers, faithful mascot standing by:

swatchy and bronze 3

Here's the fountain at the center:

wwii fountain

From there we walked to the FDR Memorial. This memorial is laid out as a journey through the four terms, highlighting the challenges and accomplishments of each.

Visitors are greeted by FDR in his chair, a modified dining chair:

fdr in chair

Here he is with Fala:

fdr and fala

Here's Eleanor (we tried to capture a lot of the engraved quotes, here and at the World War II Memorial, and just couldn't get good resolution...):


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Setting Up The New Apartment

Dear Knittah,

I believe Noricum already told you that we're moving to a new apartment? All the space will be lovely after being crammed into one tiny basement room. We're moving slowly, getting things mostly set up before we move what we're using, which will be moved all at once. We also want to wait until the fresh paint fumes fade more. (Noricum has allergies and sensitivities.)

Tonight, after dinner, we went over to the new apartment. Noricum rearranged things in the living room (it's starting to look like a real living room), and I worked on lining the drawers.
Lining Drawers
I think I did a pretty good job, don't you think?
Lining Drawers

That's one down, six more to go:
Lining Drawers


Miss us?

Hey Swatchy fans and friends!
Devon and I are HOME in NJ, safe and sound (for now at least), just for a visit before heading out again!
I have so much to tell you and so many pictures to share! I hope though, that you will forgive my absence and subsequent slowness to post because, well....
There's been a catastrophe!
Don't be so dramatic, it's not that big a deal...
Sure, YOU get chewed on by mice and see how much you like it!
Stop whining, I put your stuffing back in!
It's the least you could do after leaving me alone with the critters..
Yeah, I'm so sorry about that...
It's ok, I kind of like it. A battle scar! Plus, Knittah is making me a band-aid.  So anyway, kids, updates to come soon!
Yours, with a hole, 
Swatchy Prep
P.S. Did you see that new Swatchy Doc? I'd let him patch me up ANYtime... *eyebrows raised suggestively* (you know, if I had eyebrows)

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Another year, another road trip!

Howdy Knittah! Welcome, Swatchy Doc! Happy 2008!

As usual, we can't seem to stay in Buffalo for more than a few weeks at a time before leaving town again. For the last weekend of 2007, we drove to New Jersey to meet up with some friends and go to a football game. We know you're not particularly a fan of either of the teams who played, but it was still fun, and the weather was much calmer than our last game.

The first weekend of 2008 didn't involve any sporting events, but it did take us out of the country, to Canada! We love Toronto, and take advantage of any chance we get to visit. Our hotel room had a decent view of the city..

We watched some people enjoying the mild weather on their skates.

We didn't have time to go up in the CN Tower, but we get to use it as a reference point when we forgot what direction we were supposed to be walking in.

Of course, we had to go to Lettuce Knit! Look at their adorable roving trees (and wreath)!!

Inside, we met Denny, and her little animal friend.. Is he a mouse? A bear? Is he Canadian? We never did find out, but he's certainly friendly!

Very, very friendly!

Our 2008 is off to a great start, hope yours is too!

Not So Swatchy

Friday, January 04, 2008

Introducing Swatchy Doc

New Year? New Swatchy!


This is Swatchy Doc, reporting for duty. I made him for a very important assignment.

My own doctor, Dr. G. (no, not that Dr. G) founded an HIV/AIDS program in Botswana a few years ago. With support from his university and pharmaceutical companies, the project has grown to a full-time presence, training for residents, and improved care throughout the area. A few months ago, I was chatting with him about it, and he told me that they work with an orphanage where 85% of the children are AIDS orphans. Because of the improved access to drugs, only 15% of those children are HIV positive themselves, but they've lost their primary caregivers to AIDS. I asked him if the children needed anything, and offered to knit something.

My friends over on Ravelry came through, and we put together a donation of blankets, socks and toys for the children. Swatchy Doc came with me to my most recent doctor's appointment to deliver the gifts.


Dr. G. was so happy and surprised! He will be carrying the gifts to Botswana in a few weeks.


Swatchy Doc will be riding along. Dr. G. promised to send me a few pictures of Swatchy Doc with the children and others. I'm hoping he can become a new mascot for the project. And we will be collecting knitted items again for donation, so email us if you are interested in donating!