Wednesday, March 19, 2014

It's a Rant of Good Proportion...

We were there at 5 a.m.

Where were you? I’m specifically talking to people in Lockport Precinct 23. Yesterday, unless you missed it or were under a stump somewhere, was a Primary Election day.

Our precinct had an absolutely mortifying turnout. We returned to the Clerk’s Office – with FOUR boxes of unopened ballots. Our total vote count? A whole 151.

One. Hundred. Fifty. One.

If you crab about the Chaney-Monge referendum in the next few days, I want to see your voting receipt.

If your candidate for Park Board didn’t get in, I want to see your voting receipt.

If your candidate for Will County Sheriff didn’t get elected, I want to see your voting receipt.

If your candidate for Treasurer, Comptroller, or Governor didn’t get in, I want to see your voting receipt.

Otherwise? I don’t want to hear it. In Will County, we have a fantastic opportunity to vote early. You had weeks to go downtown to the Clerk’s Office to vote if you knew you weren’t going to be able to make it yesterday. We also have long poll hours. Polls opened at 6 a.m. and closed at 7 p.m.

How bad was it? I’m almost done knitting a sock. And I’m not joking. It’s a lovely sock. But we election judges should have been far, far busier. We weren’t and you know what? It’s YOUR fault.

I’ve been an election judge for a long time now, and I’ve seen the dismal returns for primaries. I’ve watched as people complain about the primary elections because they “don’t want to declare a party.” I have one suggestion for you: work to get that changed. Here’s the perfect opportunity for you to learn how to be an activist and get involved in an issue.

Don’t blame the election judges. We have to abide by the law and in Illinois, in a primary election you have to declare if you want to vote for candidates. You know what? It’s not like we’re bellowing out your choice either. We’re actually quite discrete and do everything to protect your right to vote in private – from silently handing the information to the judge handing out ballots to handing you a privacy sleeve to ensure that not one of us sees how you vote – we’re there all day waiting to help you exercise your rights. You can’t exercise ‘em if you don’t show up, though!  As an election judge, I can honestly tell you this: I don’t care HOW you vote. I care THAT you vote.

And Precinct 23 women?? What the heck… We got the right to vote in 1920. Where were you??

If you think that politics in Springfield are corrupt, sure – you don’t have to vote for a candidate. Our system allows you to do that and still cast a ballot. You can still make an effort to vote for your local candidates and issues. If you don’t, you have only yourself to blame. “The system is rigged.” Well – un-rig it. You – the voter – are the only one who can make a difference. 


The Chaney-Monge referendum passed. Oh my, I'm having the vapors! My kids went to that school, and back in its day, it was a great place. But years and years (over 30 of them to be exact) of NOT passing basic referendum issues have taken their toll. Their now-retired superintendent had to resort to putting temporary buildings alongside the main school building. That riled up the folks who had to look at them, but his point was well-taken. You want 'em removed? We NEED to add on. Kids were using the library for classrooms. Two classrooms. The library now relegated to the size of a small bathroom. We needed more handicapped access to bathrooms for the influx of kids with disabilities. And the roof was holding together with spit and prayer. I'm positive that this winter didn't do it any favors. 

It's a $3 million referendum. Much less than the neighboring school district - the one across town that managed a TEN MILLION DOLLAR referendum about 8 or 9 years ago. 


Blue Sweater with sleeves
As I said, there's a good whack done on the Pink Sock. Today is Teal Sock. I also did some yesterday on Blue Baby Jacket. This picture just shows the sleeves barely started. The Alternate Loop Cast On was interesting and I'll use it again. 

The sleeves, with the variegated yarn, look like they'll go to the lightest part right on top the shoulders. Hey, it looks like I'm brilliant, but really, the yarn's doing all the work. 

We shall see how the "schedule" test works out with what I'm working on. Next week's knitting will be shot to smithereens because I'm doing a lot of subbing for the yoga teachers at my home studio and another student just contacted me yesterday about a private lesson. Yes, I love it, but sometimes I'm a bit overwhelmed. 


So we sort of have the menu set. The date will actually be Holy Saturday. Hey, we have a lot of in-laws to compete with, along with Hubby's and my obligations with the choir. And you know what? As much as I enjoy my family, since Hubby and I bear the brunt of the cooking (we delegated the clean-up now to the Nephews...), we actually like to just chill on the real holiday's date. 

Technicolor Devils
I have a ham in the freezer, so we'll do that. I'm sorry if the rest of the folks will have ham on Easter Sunday. Deal with it. 

I'm doing deviled eggs, but found this and I thought it was fantastic and fun. So we will have deviled eggs, in technicolor.  My filling won't be as smooth - we like pickle relish in ours. I may dig out my home-made pickle relish for that and leave a few plain. While I had a blast making the relish, it's really got too much onion for me! 

My mom's making Nodif, a Croatian ham-polenta thingie you have to taste. It's incredibly labor-intensive. My dad used to make it in a sausage casing. We now make it in a pan. One day, I may become adventurous and do it again in the casing, hoping that I don't explode it in my kitchen. It involves a pork butt, a car-load of spring onions and corn meal. 

I'm bringing the potica. And I'm making a lamb cake. Just like the ones we had when we were kids. It's time to go old-school, especially since K and the twins are now probably old enough to know what they're looking at -- K in particular, the smart little bugger!! Which reminds me, I should order a lamb cake pan. I can't find mine. 

The Wedding...

Well, M is now married. That's the second of The Nephews to be married. It was great to have the family together and Nephew S - father of the kids - took a formal portrait of us, which was something I was really wanting. Then my mom wanted a pic of "her remaining children" - which disconcerted brother D, but hey - just do it, you know?

Kid #1 and girlfriend K (we really, REALLY have to vet names better in this family!!) had a good time, because K and K (K is kid-K's mom) had a blast - they are good friends. Between the wedding and reception, K and S, being "childless" (as in "free from the kids for a day") got together with Kid #2, Kid #1 and G/F and J (S's brother) - apparently, they all headed out for Thai food. 

I'm so happy to see them all bonding. Though I did tell Kid #2 that when he acquires a G/F she CANNOT have a name beginning with "K" - it's just too weird. 

The wedding was just a ceremony. The reception was nice, but the DJ was not good. And we were fighting the volume of two other parties. Brother D had to go tell the manager of the banquet hall that if she didn't take care of it, "I'd be happy to go in and help them with their sound system." That might've been interesting. 

Kid #1 and K already told me that "if" they get married, expect to know AFTER the fact, when they call to schedule the party. I figured as much. I'm not overly troubled by that. It is what it is, and it's THEIR life. As long as they're happy. 


Actually managed to graduate from Basic Obedience! Yay - no heat so far, though we still think it's close. I have to attend a make-up session with her because I missed one. But that's ok. 

We're going to skip Intermediate right now. She's almost 6 months old; we're really bargaining with time and I don't feel like paying for the Intermediate right now only to pull her out when Heat Happens. After heat comes Spay... so you figure 1 month to get heat over with (21 days of actual heat, but you have to wait for at least 30 days so that things go back to normal) and then spay, which is about 4 to 6 weeks of recuperation. It's a good plan, and while I think she'll bounce back faster than Tippi did, I still want to be careful. 

Raisa + Quinn
She and Quinn are getting along well, too, which is nice. We still don't leave all 3 of them out when we're away. Raisa gets the crate. She's still a little too new in the house. And till after she's spayed, I can't be absolutely sure that Tippi & Quinn will behave either. It seems strange, but they get a weird kind of PMS-thing going on with her emerging hormones. 

Raisa managed a very good sit/stay/wait and she's really good with her long stay - though I've only gone about 6 feet from her. She's still got puppy-brain, though, so we are just thrilled she does what she does. 

I have to work on her walk. She thinks leash = run since Hubby takes them. She needs to learn that with ME, leash = walk. What I usually do is an about-face. That 180* turn kind of pulls her mind and she realizes that she has to wait on me. 

It's all a work in progress. She has the makings of an excellent therapy dog, as far as I can tell. It's early days yet, but she's got a lot of River's personality, and River -- well, River was Practically Perfect, if I may borrow from Mary Poppins. 

The Food Thing...

So it's been a rough couple of weeks. The week of the 10th, I ate out way more than I usually do. Salt. Processed restaurant stuff really kills me. I'm still recovering. 

Then yesterday, at the polls, I took a dangerous tumble off the wagon with a donut(s) -- ok, one whole big donut and a few donut holes. And some pizza around 5 p.m. 

Yes, I did bring my own food. And I knew it. But The Tired came over me and that's probably my worst time, other than The Worry. Breakfast and lunch were ok. Greek yogurt, some nuts, a cheese stick for a snack. Salad of baby kale, chard & spinach with olives and blue cheese. Snack of celery with peanut butter.

And then came 3 p.m......... Polls closed at 7 p.m. Yikes, that's an interminable span of time!! I knitted. I read my Kindle. I knitted some more. I checked my FB. Sent off some e-mails. 

But the siren song of junk food kind of whirled into my brain. I did do some damage control, though, so it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

And that morning? Mother Nature played a stinky on me - bloat and cramps and some Other Things potentially heralding another visit. Really. Seriously not funny. So that's why I probably feel Dolly-Parton-ish and out of sorts. 

So today: Greek yogurt for breakfast. Kale/spinach/chard salad with radishes and a half of a chicken breast. Celery with peanut butter. Dinner will likely be something light, as I have yoga tonight. I'll try to keep things under control and perhaps with lots of water and some mild activity, I can mitigate some of the future problems. 

The Rant...

Our local newspaper has been bought and sold again. Apparently, now -- it looks to be a real paper again, instead of the ad-rag it'd become under the prior ownership. Most of the reporter staff has of course been long-gone and we don't expect them to come back.

I submitted The Rant above as possibly a guest column or a letter to the editor. We shall see. I wouldn't mind writing a column again. It was great fun and I had a good time doing it. 

Of course, it won't be like this. No pictures and projects graphs! But still some fun, I think.

Random Picture...

Do I smell corned beef??
Yes. Miss Tippi as Miss St. Patrick's Day. And yeah, there was payback. Raisa tried to eat the pompoms and Tippi did get a lovely treat afterwards. 

We missed the visit on Tuesday, since I was at the polls. Next Tuesday, we go to St. Colletta's, our new potential gig. It's a trial visit to see how she (and I) will handle students with mental and physical disabilities.

I confess to a bit of discomfort in dealing with folks in that kind of situation. Tippi will likely be a star. Me? Not so sure. But the social worker there is a gracious young woman and I know she'll try to make sure I'm ok with my own discomforts. 

Though we will likely play it straight... no costumes. Less confusing that way. Oh, and I got her new cards, so now we're officially "TDIA." She's not impressed. 

Our next challenge is TDIAOV - one hundred more visits. 

At least 100 more voters was what I was hoping for last night. By this measure, Tippi will be Queen of Therapy Dogs by the time I see a decent attendance at a primary election. No answer for the problem. Just a Rant of Good Proportion...

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