Tuesday, October 25, 2016

True Confessions...

...I have never seen a World Series. 

The snarky among you might mention that I am, after all, a Cub fan...

But I'm going to watch tonight; we'll see if the "family curse" holds, because my granny used to not watch. Yep. NOT watch. Because she said when she DID watch, they lost. 

I'm hoping the curse isn't really a curse. 

So the first thing that strikes me is the number of people IN THE STANDS who choose to watch the game through their stinkin' cell phones.

People. You are AT THE WORLD SERIES. Put down the phone... 

Most of the time we watch sports on TV we either watch for the commercials (Super Bowl) or to see who's singing the National Anthem and how badly they botch it. Baseball - tonight's game, for example - doesn't start with the anthem. They just started right in.

Well, I don't know if my heart can stand this game!


The sweater continues apace. I'm almost to the point of putting the left side onto the scrap yarn so I can continue with the right front and the rest of the right sleeve. It's progress. It's buttonholes, so on we go. 

Theoretically, I should be practicing my guitar. Christmas is coming... But I'm cranking away at the blog and then working on the sweater. I can't decide my next project. Oh, I know I'm going to shoot for a hat, at least. Maybe socks, if I can find a toddler sock pattern. 

But I need a project for me. I mean, aside from finishing the Shape-It scarf. I have to Stash Dive, though. Yes, I have yarn that I've purchased, but I really need to get into the stash and start some of those projects that have been sitting there for a while. 

We shall see. 

Socks, definitely, but I want something to wear other than on my feet. Or on my neck. Kinda tired of scarves, too (sorry, Shape-It - I consider you lace, not a "scarf" that'll keep me warm with a jacket).


I've started "The Citadel." It's an oldie but a goodie. Yes, I have 2 books going, but that's not odd for me. It's a smaller book, so I can drag it to work and read on my (ha) lunch breaks. 

I try to take a "computer break" during the day; I work on computers all day and I get tired of looking at the screen. I usually try to read a "real" book, though I have used my Kindle. I get a lot of my books from the second-hand store, and that makes it easier for me to stay within my "book budget."


So I made a smoothie with garden kale. Surprisingly, I was unable to find Haas avocados, so I bought something called a Florida avocado. And it stunk... I mean it wasn't ripe, and it felt like it was frozen solid sometime during transit. I had to skip the avocado in my smoothie. I was a bit concerned because it was very kale-heavy, so I added 2 bananas, a pear, a cucumber and an apple. 

As you can see by the picture, the Florida avocado has a smoother skin and it's HUGE. The gal at the Jewel said it was "just like" the Haas avocado, but from what I've read, the calories and the fat content are not alike. Aside from the size (which is the issue with the calories), I'm not all that sure I'd use it again. I'm not sure I'm going to be able to use it at all... It wasn't ripe, and I had to have Hubby help cut the blasted thing. And of course, if they're not ripe, they're not going to get any better when they're cut. I tasted it, and it was like eating a green banana. Urgh. 

I don't know - maybe it would've been better if the thing was actually ripe. Or maybe I should have just sprung for the Haas avocados, but due to a shortage, they were really pricey. 

So in order to "save the smoothie," I ended up adding honey. I rarely add sweeteners because I don't think you need them. But this one needed honey. 

And more. So I rooted in the freezer and found a small bag of blueberries. That did it. It looks a little "dark" but it tastes pretty good. It's a little more liquid without the creaminess of the avocado, but it's something I'd do again...if I can remember what it was I actually did!

The garden is still belching kale, and the carrots have to be pulled up yet. We may yet have an experiment with kale soup. Or kale pesto - that sounds good. While I like my sauteed kale, I'm a little bored with it. I have to think of something else to do with kale that's savory. I have to think about it a bit. 

Random Picture...

From last fall, at the park. It was a lovely afternoon, and we took the girls for a long walk. The colors were at their peak and the light was perfect. So far this year? I'm not sure how the colors will go. It was an odd summer, and it was on the wet side too. Our backyard tree hasn't decided if it's going to turn color yet, and the front yard tree is still pretty bright green. Mr. K's birch tree is a waterfall of green and gold; but so far, nothing else is moving. 

All I can do is wait and see what happens in the next few weeks. I'm afraid it's going to be a "blink and miss it" kind of fall. 

Sunday, October 23, 2016


Have I got your attention?

Well, it's not what you think. But maybe it is. 

The Cubs...

WE WON!!! The Cubs are going to the World Series. I'm beside myself. I wore my Ron Santo jersey to church today, and when a confirmed Cubs-hater (what the heck...I never did understand that) pointed out to me that the Gospel today was Luke, and it was about humility, I smiled and said, "We've been humble for over 100 years."

He tossed his hands up, and said, "Well, you got me there."

And what is it about Cubs-haters? Hubby, sadly, is one, and I don't understand it. Even my friend Sue, who bleeds White Sox colors, actually said that this was going to be the Year of the Midwest Match-up. This was always a thorn in our relationship. But she's come around. She was in Billy Goat Tavern last night to watch the game. I'm so jealous of that! 

World Series tickets are out of sight...I heard anywhere from $2,000 to $7,000. Yikes! Guess I will be watching from the comfort of my knitting chair...

My granny would have loved this. We were talking about it in yoga tonight and while Hubby insists that we should, genetically, be Sox fans, it wasn't that way. We had WJOL and Channel 9. It was Cubs all the way. 

I was predisposed to be a Cub fan from an early age. We listened to WJOL and they had the Cubs games. We watched the 4 channels we had, and Grandma and Grandpa preferred Channel 9. "Home of the Chicago Cubs." 

So there you have it. The reason I bleed blue and red. 

I have three wish list items:

1.  A real Cub jacket (I sent 2 links to Hubby)
2.  A Greg Maddux Cubs jersey
3.  A Dave Ross Cubs jersey

My Ron Santo jersey is my pride and joy. And I did buy a "Champions" t-shirt with Rizzo's number on it. It's the first "new" Cubs attire I've purchased in probably 10 years. 

Tuesday will be a nail-biter. The city is truly ready. We're ready for this. We've waited long enough.


See the cream color here, second batch of hanks from the right? THAT is the "beige" I was referring to. 

I went back to Wool & Company to pick up my Haps book (more about that in a moment), and in the meantime, I worked on a bit of a review for the e-zine I subscribe to, "Addicted to Sock Knitting." I had owed them this review for a while, but when Wool & Co. was in between owners and we weren't sure what was going to happen (will they stay or will they close?) I had to wait. 

It was worth the wait!

And of course, I came home with more sock yarn. I've never knitted with Sirdar, but I have folks in the ASK group who have, so I do have to post this for their ideas. Not sure which pattern will call this yarn. Some folks can tell right away, and I don't have that knack yet. But I loved the combo. I would prefer if yarn companies would at least put a sample pic or have a poster showing what their yarns look like knitted up. But some shops don't want the posters. The gal in Morris had lots of Opal posters, but this person at Wool & Co. wants a cleaner look - you can tell by how she's organized things, so I don't think there will be anything like that. 

From a quick Google search, it looks like Sole to Sole is primarily a self-striping yarn and they're pretty strong stripes. Maybe a plain vanilla with a ribbing down the sides would be nice. 

It's mine. All mine! Finally! The Book of Haps is here and I have it. The patterns are truly drool-worthy, and there are several without charts, so I can take a stab at them. Also, I saw a beautiful lace pattern that was charted AND written out. Heaven!

What I also like are the historical bits. The pictures. The background. 

I have the Hansel hap downloaded from Ravelry. I just have to get it to the top of the list. 

Thus brings up the concept of Monogamy.


Are you monogamous? I am. 

And I don't only mean in marriage. I mean in many other things: I'm not a "swings both ways" kind of gal in sports. I'm a Cub fan and that's it. I was ok with the Sox winning the pennant before we did, but I wasn't dancing in the streets. I don't expect die-hard Sox fans to dance in the street, but I do expect an appreciation of what the Cubs have become. It's just plain respect for good work and a great team. 

I'm also monogamous when it comes to politics, for the most part. I'm a liberal progressive. I tend to vote that way and I tend to believe that polices that include ALL of us are generally good for our society as a whole, rather than narrow bits of the population. 

I'm also - I think - monogamous when it comes to projects. I really, really, REALLY want to start another project, but I have the baby sweater to finish. And then I have the Shape-It scarf. And then I have the socks. I have two singletons that need mates. 

So perhaps I'm "serially monogamous" in that I have a lot of WIPs on the needles, but I knit for long stretches on one project, till I finish it. I know - I have SABLE (Stash Available Beyond Life Expectancy) and a WIP list that would shock you. Or maybe not...

And I've tried the "knit this on Monday, this on Tuesday..." system. It doesn't work. Because of my schedule, it's not uncommon for me to go several days without picking up the needles. So if it was a complex thing, like the February Lady Sweater (WIP), it's not going to happen if I have only a half hour. For one thing, it's gonna take me a half hour to figure out where I am in the pattern. But also, with a lacy yoke, I need time to get past that part. Once I'm on the body or sleeves or wherever there's a whack of straight, clean knitting, I can do that piecemeal stuff. But for right now? 

If I start a hap, I'll be knitting on that hap till the cows come home. And I have a baby to knit for first!

Pumpkin Spice Everything...

I'm not a huge PSL fan. I think that pumpkin spice in coffee sounds, frankly, icky. But as I put together a cup of tea this afternoon, I found this decaf in my Tea Box. This tea is older than the PSL craze, actually... And it was pretty good, but it needed to be double-strength before you could actually taste anything. 

I have a few more bags; I'll have to pull them out. I had a migraine starting the other day and frankly, I was on a caffeine binge. I had taken an Excedrin Migraine, which works if I catch it quickly enough. I had a couple of cups of chai which is totally not normal. But it all helped. Though I had a hard time sleeping this weekend. 

This tea is decaf, which was nice. It was warming and felt good going down. Don't know if I can find it again. I know I'm annoyed because I can't find my favorite chamomile anymore, but I don't know if I'd go out of my way to find this pumpkin spice tea. It's fine, but when I'm out? No worries. 

Random picture...

I went to the Jewel today. First off, I figured they'd have a Cubs shirt there. Don't judge me. It's our time...

And I needed to find a few other things. I came across this. Woah. 

It's jackfruit. It's kinda ugly. And kinda big; to the left there are pomegranates. And to the right is taro - our Jewel is getting exotic. These things were easily the size of footballs, if not larger. According to a story in the Washington Post, it seems to be pretty versatile. It's a member of the breadfruit and fig family. And apparently, it can be used as a meat substitute. Who knew?

It's also kinda pricey. But I can see why, since it can be used for everything from a salad to a burger. 

I'm up for an experiment, but this is kind of ridiculously large. I read the article I linked here - and I don't think it's worth the money to try it. Especially given that this is way, WAY more brown than they're suggesting at WaPo. 

The article says it has a texture similar to pulled pork. But in order to break the fruit down, you have to glove, spread newspapers, oil the knife AND your gloved hands... Ummmmmm. No thanks. I think I'll stick with pulled pork MY way. 

Friday, October 21, 2016


And the deck continues. Today, Hubby finished the concrete blocks. Tomorrow, since it got chilly this afternoon, the adhesive holding the blocks will be put on. Then he's got to drill for the footings, and pour those. 

An inspection happens after the footings are poured and then once more after he frames it in. 

It's going to be as I suspected, a "plain Jane" deck, but he's going to do something a little different. See the "upper" corner (upper right hand of the blocks) and the "lower" corner (the corner to the lower right just ahead of the sidewalk)? When spring comes, he's going to create block work that makes those into a pair of "garden" areas. He's also going to extend the paving blocks - the deck comes nearly to the property line, and he wants to "ring" it with the pavers because we have to keep our garbage cans in the back by the shed (local ordinance), and when he needs to bring them to the front on trash day, he wants a firm surface to haul them, especially in the winter. 

Yes, it's the north side of the house, but I think I can get hostas to grow there, or coral bells. Or maybe even some boxwood, for year-round green. If I want to do flowers, they'll have to be shade-lovers because this is "deep north" - there's virtually no sunshine on that section because it's just about the middle of the house, and in our old neighborhood, the houses are kind of close together. 

The arborvitae there are our "best buy." When we started seriously landscaping the yard, we wanted a fence, but we wanted it to look natural. The home & garden store in one location was leaving to move across town. We got just about 30 of the arborvitae for $5 each. They wanted to get rid of them. And the trees just took off in that spot. We've cut a few down, because we needed the room when we did some work to the back yard, but otherwise, they're a lovely fence and the birds and squirrels adore the fact that there's always a hiding place for them. 


I finished "The Edible Woman" by Margaret Atwood. It was Atwood. It was a good story, and the end is a twist. Like I said: Atwood. 

I'd recommend reading her stories. I find her imagery clear and her structure really strong. And - she makes me think. Some of her stories are definitely dystopian in nature, but that's what makes her who she is and what makes her writing so impactful. She holds a mirror up and shows us the worst - but makes it redeeming because of her characters. 

Now, I've started "An Unnecessary Woman," by Rabin Alameddine. It's about an elderly woman "with a past shaped by the Lebanese Civil War." Already, I feel like I could sit down with this woman and have a nice chat over some tea and cookies. I've linked it to the NPR review. 

I've set aside Jimmy Carter's tome about women, abuse of power and religion. It's a great read in that there's certainly enough evidence to go around. But it's heavy. It's a book you can certainly pick up and put down, and I think at this point, I need to take it in small doses. I really want to finish it; but with everything going on at work, frankly - I'm exhausted and my brain hurts. I've been billing 4 - 6 hours a day, but that's also with doing overtime. 

I really want to just come home and knit or read something "fluffy." So Jimmy Carter has to wait a bit till things ease up.


The thing is - it's still a partial sweater. It's a little bigger. But not much else has changed. I'm going back to Wool & Co. to pick up my Book of Haps. It's in. They called (it was quick) and Hubby texts me, "Your book of hats is in." 

Yeah. Hats. Haps. He doesn't know, poor dear. For those of you who don't know, a hap shawl is a large-ish shawl that you can wrap about yourself. Think of the way Maureen O'Hara wrapped a shawl around herself in "The Quiet Man," and you'll sort of have the idea. I got hooked on the idea of actually knitting one from "Jean's Knitting" - a blog I follow. So I had a peek at the Hansel (and downloaded it from Ravelry), and then I decided I needed the book. 

When I was at Wool & Co., I thought they had it. I wanted to buy it from a local business. I could've gotten it from Schoolhouse Press or Amazon, but I wanted to support them. And I'm surprised it got here so fast!

I have to ask them for permission to review them for the Addicted to Sock Knitting e-zine. I was all set to write the shop up, but then I found out they were closing. I had to wait to see if they'd reopen, and I'm glad I did - even though the sock-yarn area is a bit smaller, it's an amazing redesign of the shop. 

When Roberta and I got there, she immediately gravitated to the bulky yarns, and they were kind enough to figure out what she'd need for a plain cover for a twin bed for her one grandson. I can't wait to see how it turns out. 

And yes. I bought yarn. I bought some Regia "ragg" sock yarn; I needed (ha - go ahead, laugh) something kind of middling-plain for a nice ribbed sock. And the Sweet Georgia is going to be another Shape-It Scarf. The purple had a rather strong competitor in the lovely pewter shot through with that silver sparkle. Who knows what will make its way into my bag next time...

And I saw the Churchmouse Double Reversible Poncho sitting on a chair and I tried it on. This one, I'm blaming on Roberta! The deep burgundy baby alpaca worsted? 

Yummmmmmmmmmm. I was torn between that and a beautiful beige. I know - you're thinking "Beige???" But it was a stunning deep cream color, which would go with anything I have in my wardrobe and it wasn't "too white" or "too bland." It was almost buttery, but not yellow, if that makes any sense. 

There was also a purple (of course) but I thought I wanted to do something a little different. This poncho is done in two parts and grafted together; it's a ribbed-ish pattern, enough to give it some interest. And then you kind of flip it and graft it. It's not too big. I'm making it with slightly less yarn because I know alpaca can take on a life of its own, and I didn't want something drooping down to my knees. This one hit me right at the hips, so that's kind of where I'm aiming. 

Random Picture...

Like I said, it was "a week" at work. The nasty divorce trial is going on Week #3. I don't even want to know the size of the bill, but thankfully, this client will pay us. (Don't get me started...it's been a long one)

I came home, cancelled my guitar lesson because I brought work home, and all I wanted to do was vegetate. Hubby reminded me that we had pierogi left in the freezer. So up came a small bag of potato and a small bag of sauerkraut. I ate them. Every one. 

My sister has had surgery on her right shoulder and right foot. The foot was a repair, and the shoulder was a first-time. She's cranky and not feeling like eating. She's a little bit of a thing, and loves my pierogi. So - when she's off her pain meds, I'll drop by and make them for her. I have a bag left in the fridge, and if they're not her favorite flavor, I'll make her some fresh ones. 

Hubby has gone to bed...he was up before the hens and worked hard on the deck. I've turned off the TV because there was a French film on with subtitles, and I didn't want to watch it. I'm enjoying the quiet, with Tippi here snoozing next to me. 

I'll knit a few more rows on the sweater and then head off to bed myself. Haircut in the a.m. and we need to go vote. And I have a private yoga session to teach in the afternoon. 

How's your weekend shaping up? 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's a...


Well, ALMOST a deck. I came home the other night to this. 

Yes, our deck was pretty pathetic. Hubby and I have been arguing back and forth in regard to this deck. We do agree that it needed to be replaced, and we do agree that we wanted it a little larger.

But I was all "over it" about 4 years ago. The thing is 30 years old. We've gotten our dollar's-worth out of it. It was pressure-treated wood, and it had seen its day. 

But let's just say that Hubby was "contemplating." He contemplated till the thing was falling apart, but there wasn't much I could do at that point. He had a plan, and I'm smart enough to know when he's not gonna budge. He wasn't budging. 

No, you're not drunk (though if you're watching the debate and playing a drinking game? I can't vouch for that). The deck has settled alarmingly. 

I was also hoping for a nice, slightly pretty panel along the one side, but he's not going to go for it. I think we're getting plain-Jane decking here. But it'll be more roomy and we'll be able to take the grill off the front porch, which will be nice. This picture is toward the front of the house -- he removed the entire set of stairs; they weren't put in very well in the first place, and it was kind of hazardous. The footings were horrible. 

That was Deck Do-Over Day One... This is Deck Do-Over Day Two... We have temporary steps. They're nice and wide, but getting three dogs in and out with this? It's a bit tricky. But Hubby was fine with it.

I, on the other hand, had to turn Tippi around last night, because she got right up to that top step and I couldn't get the door open! 

He's going to re-use those steps - at least most of the parts - for the steps coming toward the back yard. 

It's going to be nice when it's done. I have no idea what it's going to look like, mind you. But it'll be nice. Anything is better than the Wrecked Deck we've been dealing with. 

This is the view out the door tonight. We have forms of a sort. I expect that this will be taken care of in the next couple of days. The weather is getting cooler, and I know Hubby wants it done before the first frost. Alongside, where you can't see, we have a bunch of bags of river rocks. We also have some pea gravel for underneath. We're expanding it out another 2 - 3 feet, which puts it right under the neighbor's tree. Which is half-dead. And they're not doing anything to take care of it... So hopefully, we won't be building this just so their tree will fall over on it...

I'll post pictures of the finished product. It'll be lovely. No matter what the design, just to have a new deck will be nice. 

Fail Safe...

Watching - and getting chills - the movie "Fail Safe" where Henry Fonda has just ordered 2 US military planes to fly over New York and drop bombs in exchange for 2 "mistaken" US planes which are about to bomb Moscow. 

This movie was made in 1964. Henry Fonda plays the President, who can't stop a Strategic Air Command plane which has accidentally been cued to bomb Moscow. And it's scary to think this could happen. In the next year or so, depending on the outcome of the elections. Or North Korea. Either one. 


So I've been thinking on the fact that I really don't like poetry. I don't read it well, either in my head or aloud. I don't write it. I don't really understand some of the imagery. I don't know why some poets are honored, and why some are scorned. 

Kid #2 was trying to explain it to me, and I've put some poems out there for his critique. He allowed as how some of it "wasn't awful." High praise indeed from a high school teacher!

But I wrote this one. He said it was a decent attempt. So I'm sharing it with you. I hope you like it. 

At the Corner

Young girl at the corner
     waiting for her bus to come
Quick glance back to see
     if Mommy is still there

In her glance I see
     a wish for safe harbor
     a longing to stay where
            she knows all is well

Her glance reminds me
    Of me
            This morning
Leaving the comfort of home
    to go to a job 
             that I'm quickly despising
     Working for a woman who thinks 
              her power is in her
      verbal abuse of the staff

With co-workers who alternate
      between fear
               anger and

Because we're stuck
      in some Inferno-like circle
               from which there's no exit
                         and we see no doors or windows offering escape

My glance at the back door
      every weekday
Husband's admonishment to
      take a deep breath

Stomach roiling like the surf
      alongside the lighthouse which signals
                 safe harbor

Will I cross into calmer waters today?
       Or will it be gale-force winds buffeting us?

And how long
        before we
        upon the rocky shoals of 
sharp, unkind, hostile words?

Dredge up another breath
        another smile

Count the hours
        till I can leave
                   for the calm and safety
                          of home.

So - not sure if I'll ever be Sylvia Plath or Emily Dickinson, but it's something. I tried to tell The Kid that it was a "prose poem" and he said it wasn't. I told him, "Hey, I'm un-venting" and he replied back, "AND venting..." Smart-aleck!

Random Picture... 

Tippi saw a lap. And onto that lap she sat. I thought it was adorable. The gal who was the lap in question didn't seem to have a problem with it...So she sat. That's my girl! 

She loves her visits to Lewis University, and she was all decked out in her Halloween duds. 

Hopefully, we have several more years of visits there - she's going to be 9 in January, and has had a few close calls with her health. So far, though? So good... 

Friday, October 14, 2016

It's All Coming Along...

...well, more or less. Honestly, I still really dislike my job. I'm still looking for a new one, I still have very little time, and life is still chaotic. 

But so it goes. (Thanks, Kurt Vonnegut. I needed that line.)

Today, you could truly tell where we were in the lunar cycle. I spent most of the day defusing blow-ups. Apparently, my "counselor" mode was in demand a lot. Between clients having melt-downs, my own to-do-list being blown to smithereens, and the over-worked staff having a communal breakdown...let's just say you can tell that Monday is the Full Moon. 


Because of the crummy nature of my week, I haven't picked up the needles much. But the Pumpkin Baby Sweater is coming along. As you can see, the sleeves are under construction and it's progressing nicely. I can knit this and read, so I've caught up with my "Jean's Knitting" blog, and I have yet to figure out where I left off with the Yarn Harlot. That will come. I miss being able to keep up with my favorite bloggers, so I have to get back to that. 

I'm headed out to the "new" Wool & Company with my friend Roberta tomorrow, after I teach my last outdoor yoga class of the year. I may find some different buttons. I have planned some brown giraffe buttons. But my friend who's getting this LOVES elephants. So if I find elephants, that's what I'm getting. Or maybe pumpkins? Who knows? I might also drag some of the wool + acrylic yarn out of stash and do another sweater, if I get the gumption, and stripe the next one. From the twins, I have a brighter "traffic cone" orange plus a yellow. That combo could be cute with either a number of stripes, or one wide one across the shoulder area. Babies are boxy anyway, so doing that, with a 6- or 7-row stripe, could be adorable. 

She's just started to wear maternity clothes; at about 4.5 months for the first pregnancy, that's about right. She's definitely got "pregnancy brain" right now, and our office manager and I shared a funny experience. She had made some chocolate candy and had brought extras to work. Well, our little mom took them. All of them. Our OM says, "Oh, jeeze, I meant for her to share." I said, "If you think I'm getting between a pregnant woman and chocolate, you're NUTS!" As it is, from today's crap, I was noshing on some Dove dark chocolate, and tossed her a couple of nuggets. It helped! 

So I've linked the Wool and Company website above, and while the site says "under construction," I will comment: This is NIGHT and DAY different from the old shop. Not that I didn't love the original, but the new owner has breathed a new spark of life into the place,which it sorely needed. I can't wait to get there! And Roberta's always good for a road trip! There's a pub next door with the best food, too. And frankly: I need the diversion. (Shhhhhhhhhh - I don't really need any yarn, but you never know...)

In fact, I should be knitting, but I wanted to get all of this down on the blog before the weekend got away from me, as the weekends are wont to do lately. 


So here's just one question I dealt with, courtesy of our office manager. She's very anti-Hillary. Well, I'm no fan, but I will not engage in workplace discussions of politics, because (a) the boss is a staunch member of the opposite party; and (b) it's just not cool...

Anyway, as anyone who's breathing knows, The Drumpf has made some pretty vile comments about women, and our office manager was saying that she thought Hillary was "just as bad" because of Bill. 

Hang on for a moment. Aside from the fact that our office manager is a female, let's just sit with that a moment. Hillary is being blamed by some folks for her HUSBAND'S ways. And let's be clear: Bill isn't the one running for president this time. 

That attitude of blaming Hillary for Bill's transgressions is wrong on about a zillion levels. And like I said, I'm no Hillary fan, but I've been thinking about this for a while now. Even before The Drumpf opened his yap. 

My question is this: Why did she stay? 

Seriously. Sit there and think about this for a moment. Why did she stay? It's not 1818. She's an extremely qualified woman. She's certainly well-educated. She's got skills. She's got money. What kept her? 

Did she blame herself for some reason? Did she think she "wasn't enough" because Bill couldn't keep himself out of the way of other women? 

Or...and this totally just occurred to me... Bill is enormously charismatic. People (I'm told) love him. Even a friend of mine who's a tried-and-true cynic said that, having met Bill in person, he does "take up the room" and she also said, "I was about 10 months pregnant and he looked at me and spoke to me as if I was the only person in that room at that moment, and gave me the impression that what I had to say mattered to him." 

THAT, folks? THAT is charisma. And I'm not thinking Hillary has a ton of that. At least that's not how she comes across. 

From the last debate, with the Orange Menace stalking her, I can certainly say that she's enormously focused, and she stayed on her message. Well, heck - she just gave him the rope to hang himself. It was almost too easy. 

But my question still remains. Why does a woman stay, especially given her "Tammy Wynette" comments in Bill's first election campaign. Especially given that she could indeed write her own ticket. 


It's a good question. 


And then there's Michelle Obama. The office manager had a few things to say about her too. And I had to think about that - and my answer occurred to me on my way home from work. 

Our office manager was essentially making fun of Michelle's speech the other day in which she said that Drumpf's comments "shook her to her core." She said that basically Michelle had "no idea" and needed to "get over herself."

And I thought about that, too. And I thought: This woman has TWO Ivy-League degrees. She's raising her family -- her GIRLS -- in a fishbowl. 

And for eight years -- EIGHT. YEARS. She has been called everything from a "monkey" to a "man." 

Say what you will. That speech was powerful. She meant it. And I'm sure the comments from The Drumpf hurt. Because even while you're telling people, "Hey, I don't pay attention to that stuff," you're still a human. And on some level, that kind of hate and vituperation has got to sting. Even if you're not actively reading it or hearing it - you know it's out there. 

Would you be able to stomach that level of intense acrimony, day in and day out? Would you be able to function in a room full of people knowing that there are other people who'd love to see you fall? Would cackle in glee if you made a misstep or "had a funny look" on your face? Where your every choice is categorized, surgically dissected, scrutinized and criticized?

I know I wouldn't. 

The Election...

It doesn't matter, in my opinion, what your party affiliation. You have got to understand that we have descended to a new low. We aren't listening to a "truth-teller" in The Drumpf. We're listening to a charlatan. 

And it's time to wake up and smell the coffee. This election is important on more than just a national level. It's even more important than the "down ticket" mentality of "vote for the people in the local elections even if you can't tolerate either of the presidential candidates" we hear from so many people. Yes, those down-ballot elections are vital, but we have more to think about.

It's important to us as human beings. It's important to women. It's important to our kids and our grandkids. 

We need to not screw this one up, people. 

But we can't be a single-issue voter. We can't just listen to those folks who parrot our own "beliefs" and we must - we MUST - not mistake our "beliefs" as "facts." Because facts and beliefs are two entirely different things. 

I believe the Earth is round. Science (a/k/a FACT) proves me right. There's photographic evidence from many sources to prove that we do, indeed, live on a blue marble in the middle of the known universe. 

I believe that I make the best potica in the world. There are no FACTS to back this up. And there are at least a couple thousand others in the world who believe that their potica (even with the abominations of raisins and chocolate) are "the best." But they as well have no FACTS to back them up. Their families - like mine - will cheerfully shout from hill and dale that they're the best, but that doesn't make ANY of us right. 

While those are two wildly odd examples, they are good ones. We as voters have a tremendously important right to exercise this November. 

And it's up to us to educate ourselves thoroughly on the issues AND the candidates. And get this one done correctly. 

Our world depends on it. 


Let's go Cubs!! I'm so excited! I haven't watched any games. This is a family legacy. Just like my Cub fandom - legacy says that if I watch a game, they'll lose. My granny said so. 

It's this way. I have been a Cub fan for my entire life. I have a Ron Santo jersey that I wore to church last week. I was a reader, so everyone saw me coming and going...and even the priest said, "Preach it, Sister!" One of our fellow choir members complimented me on "the Holy Raiment of Our People." 

The only next best thing would be a bona fide Cubs jacket. I've wanted one for ages...

Anyway, back to why I'm a Cub fan. Because of WJOL and my great-grandma. My great-grandma (the keeper of the aforementioned PERFECT potica recipe, by the way...) came to this country as a young woman and had to learn English. She studied for her citizenship test, but also, in order to learn more, she listened to the Cub games on the radio. WJOL was our local station (still is, but I don't listen to it a lot). So I grew up, helping her in the kitchen, learning Croatian songs, learning how to crochet, and how to cook, and listening to the Cub games. 

(OK, so I just noticed the typos in the graphic... Yikes...)

And two of my favorite players were Ron Santo and Greg Maddux. I think that Joe Maddon has hit on the formula; I think Theo Epstein has Maddon in the right place. And I think the team has the right attitude. Dusty Baker wasn't our guy. Not that he's not a good manager. But this combo of owners + manager + talent... along with a stellar work ethic and team that just meshes? It's a keeper. 

I'll be following along in the paper. And when they (I initially typed "if") get to the final game of the World Series, I may risk Granny's Heavenly wrath and watch it. On pins and needles, though...just in case. 

Random Picture...

So yeah. The week sucked. There was a last-minute crisis at work which threw us all for a loop. I wanted to get out of there really badly. We had planned to leave early, and consequently, nobody ate lunch. I was hungry, I was frustrated and I was really annoyed. Only about half of my "critical list" got done, due to stuff that was totally beyond our control. 

And this is what I came home to. Hubby, making Honey Garlic Salmon with boiled parsley-potatoes. This and my dogs greeting me with wild enthusiasm made for a lovely end to a stinking day. 

Hopefully, the weekend is calm. Hopefully, you all will also have a great weekend! 

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Thirty is Not Thirty-Four...

Thirty is not thirty-four. That makes a big difference. What you see here is the beginning of the cast-on for the first sleeve of The Baby Jacket. And initially, in my haste, I cast-on thirty stitches. Last night, about 9:45 p.m. I was so jazzed about getting to the sleeve that I just whizzed right through it.  Then I paused and wondered why it looked "off." I've done this sweater 6 times, at least. Soooooooo. I figured it was time for bed. I wrote myself a note, and frogged it at 6:35 this morning. I guess that's the advantage of having done the pattern so many times. 
I'm about to do the other sleeve, and yes, I know - the sleeve needs to be 34 stitches, no more and no less. I'm a tad worried about the gauge, but it's the same yarn. I'm hoping it turns out ok - it's likely not going to be a problem, but I think my stitches are a bit tighter this time around. 

Knitting is very much like life...it turns out that if you're stressed, it shows up. And it turns out that if you're stressed while knitting...it shows up. In the knitting. My tension is pretty consistent, but I feel like this one is a bit tighter than the last one. And I'm sure it has to do with what's going on in life these days.

My Job...

I'm working on finding a new job. I am frustrated with my current job, and I need to leave. But I'm not idiot enough to leave without having something else in my hand. Hubby knows that that may mean taking a part-time position somewhere, which puts a crimp in our financial plans. 

Hubby is an ant. Remember Aesop? The Ant and the Grasshopper? Well, I'm not exactly a grasshopper, but a mix, maybe. I see no reason to stay in a job you don't like, if you can find something else. 

I've made some applications; I've touched base with a few people. And I feel easy in my gut now that I have a plan. I don't know how it'll pan out. But I feel like I'm at least moving toward a resolution of the problem. 


I'm reading a bunch of books lately about nuns who've left convents. I don't know why; perhaps I'm thinking about that lifestyle and how the church treated them. Some of them had left because their lives changed, or they had a shift in perspective. Some left with no apparent hard feelings. And some left because of unbelievable cruelty in the church. 

I've set aside "The Edible Woman" - Margaret Atwood is reaching for something there, and it's not resonating with me. But I'll pick it up - I'm actually almost done with it. 

And I've been reading the newspapers. I can't believe the Chicago Tribune endorsed Gary Johnson. I didn't expect them to endorse either Trump or Clinton, but they have done the "we can't endorse anyone" thing before. Gary Johnson is even more woefully unprepared than Trump. At least he's not as dumb, but he's unprepared. I'm having Ralph Nader moments... 


The garden is virtually done. We have Brussels Sprouts and carrots left, though I think there are also a few surviving kale leaves. Hubby planted the Brussels Sprouts too close together - we live and learn. But the carrots will be spectacular. 

I'm cooking dinner - a rarity with my schedule these days! I'm making "Leeky Chicken" and here's how you do it:

2 Perdue chicken breasts (bone-in and with skin)
2 - 3 ribs celery
1 Knorr vegetable cube + 2 c. boiling water
1 handful chopped leeks
Onion powder
2 large sprigs Rosemary
Olive oil (a drizzle)
Salt & fresh-ground pepper
1 T. grated orange rind

Preheat oven to 400* (F) and grab a 9 x 13 pan. Trim the celery and wash it. Cut it into 3" chunks and lay it on the bottom of the pan. This is your "roasting rack" for the chicken. 

Pat the chicken dry and lay it on top of the celery. Wash the Rosemary and slip your finger under the chicken skin - insert one sprig into each piece, tucking the leaves in so that you don't scorch them. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper and onion powder. 

Scatter the leeks around the bottom of the pan. Dissolve the veggie cube in the boiling water and pour about 1/2" into the pan. Sprinkle the orange rind into the liquid.

Cover for the first half-hour and then remove the cover and let it go for about another 30 minutes or till the juice runs clear when you pierce the flesh. 

We're doing a carrot dish as well, involving candied ginger and a Granny Smith apple. I haven't quite figured out that one yet. But as soon as I get it done, I'll write it down. I had a taste for something "fall" today and carrots + apples came to mind. So did ginger, for that sweet/hot blend. I could make a puree, but I think I'll do a saute instead. Caramelize them a little bit and make it into a savory/sweet/tart dish that tempers the carrots and balances the Granny Smith apple. 

Of course, with "store bought" carrots, they're kind of bland. The garden carrots are so much richer. I like them better, but they're not quite ready yet. But I can get this recipe refined and worked up - maybe for elephant journal. 

I've been using Young Living Thieves fruit wash. The product is easy to use and really takes that "waxy" stuff off the fruit. Takes about 2 minutes. You can use it by the sink or in a bowl if you don't have a lot of produce. One capful in a sink full of water, let your stuff soak for about 2 minutes, and then rinse it all off. It's a great way to clean your fruit and veg, even if you already buy organic. I've been a Young Living Essential Oils distributor for a while now, and I find that the more chemicals I purge the better I feel. 

Random Picture...

Speaking of feeling better...Tippi continues to visit at Lewis University. Our last visit was quite a hoot. She seems to bond nicely with the athletes. And this was a set of our last visitors. You can't see the hand of the other gal giving her a last-minute belly rub. But the whole, "Let me rest my paw on you so she can get a better aim at my tummy" thing was pretty funny. 

We'll continue to visit because she likes it. And it's a great way to keep contact with the folks I used to work with. I don't like burning bridges; it helps to keep those ties - because the one thing you know in life is that you never know.