Friday, September 30, 2022

Pizza Sauce and More...

 As the weather changes, thoughts turn to canning... Or at least they do in my house! We usually make our own pizza sauce, and we make our own jams and preserves. We tend to do them in batches - so we have supplies for a couple years at least. 

This time, it's pizza sauce. Though, in the search for jars in the basement, Hubby found two cases of old sauce - like embarassingly old. Which we pitched. Canned goods - home-canned, I mean - don't last forever, in spite of what we'd like to think. But luckily, the rings and the jars are reusable. The lids aren't - or at least for the canning part. I like to have a few used lids, so that if I'm using a canning jar to shake up some salad dressing or the like, I can have a spare lid or two around. I don't re-use them for hot water bath canning. 

So my recipe is simple: I cut tomatoes up and freeze them as we go through the season. I don't bother blanching them or anything, but I try to use home-grown, because I think that, for the most part, store-bought tomatoes taste like nothing. So I've also been known to scrounge from friends - "do you have tomatoes that you're not using?" And usually, I'm rewarded. 

I also buy organic peppers, mostly red and yellow, because they're more ripe (though it looks like a small bag of green peppers made their way into the sauce). Core them, cut into quarters and freeze them. I use home-grown leeks (if we're growing them), home-grown carrots, and home-grown celery. I roast garlic and squeeze the cloves into the sauce. This time, we didn't have leeks, so I used shallots, which I sauteed lightly. Add 4 Knorr Vegetable broth cubes (mostly because I don't have home-made veggie broth), salt, pepper, Italian seasoning. If you can get away with it (and I forgot this time!!), toss in some shredded zucchini for extra veggie power. Make it vegetarian/vegan by sauteeing everything in either olive or avocado oil. 

Herbs, you may ask? Okey-dokey.... Parsley, rosemary and basil -- again, from my garden. Lest you think I'm Martha Stewart, I'm a person who likes to grow herbs mainly because they're pretty. 

A bit of lemon zest, just because. And adjust as you go, because it may need more of something. Also add about a quart of water. This time, we had a HUGE pot. I mean, insanely huge, which Hubby bought because he thought it was a good idea. Well - it's so tall that I can't stir it without getting my tender bits too close to the hot pot! So he's really handling it all. I'm doing the recipe mainly from memory, as my tastebuds are still shot, thank you Covid. 

He ended up, on a trip to get some groceries, stopping by the local restaurant supply place to get an extra-long spatula to stir the pot because nothing I had was tall enough! When it's reduced down by about a third or so, we usually add 2-3 small cans of tomato paste. Then, turn on the stick blender and whiz till your preferred texture. 

You could, if you weren't making a Lake Michigan-sized batch, whiz it up in a blender - and of course, only fill the blender about half-way because hot sauce + a fuller blender container = an explosion that seriously causes burns as well as some amazing "sauce splatter patterns" on the various kitchen surfaces (ask me how I know this...). 

We think that, this time, we'll get over 40 pint jars (update: we got 50 pints!!!). That's a lot of sauce. The pot just keeps giving. I started calling it "Mary Poppins' Pot" but Hubby refers to it as 'The Loaves and Fishes" because the sauce Just. Keeps. Coming. 

In the next few weeks, we'll be doing jams/preserves. I'll have to see what we have in the freezer for berries. I know we at least have blueberries and strawberries. Hubby says we may have which case, I'll make some applesauce. Extra chunky, which I love with pork. Or over ice cream. It's all good!

The Spurtle Is Found...

Well, my great-granny wouldn't have called it a spurtle, because that's a Scottish term for the spoon they stir their oatmeal with. But it looks like a spurtle - it's her polenta spoon. For years, we thought it was lost. My mom has been doing her Swedish Death Cleaning - she'd been at it since before her hip replacement. Actually, since my sister died, my mom has been on that tack. It's kind of making me crazy because she's giving me stuff. I have no idea what to do with it, because my kids aren't going to want it. And I can't bear to toss it just yet. But I know it's a lost cause when I'm be honest, I'm just about the only one old enough to remember the people associated - and as well as remembering, CARING about them and the history behind some of these items and pictures. There's maybe ONE other person who would be interested, but that doesn't mean that anyone younger than me actually wants stuff.  Anyway - she gave me an apron of my granny's, and I do honestly wear her aprons because they're big. Great-granny was a substantial woman, and the aprons were nothing fru-fru...they were meant to cover her up when she was in the kitchen and those aprons meant business. 

Lo and behold -- wrapped in the apron was the Polenta reality, a wooden spoon which she had my grandpa (my mom's dad) carve down into a smooth stick. Because, in the Old Country, you used a stick to stir your polenta. 

To be honest? THIS thing will be something one of the kids will latch onto. Not the china or silverware or pictures. Now I have to grab a pan and make some polenta, especially with the weather getting cooler. And with the pizza sauce? Yummy! Or for breakfast, with butter and a touch of honey. 

The Knitting Continues...

I'm plugging away at the knitting, and for some reason, it's just dragging. On. And. On. And. On. It shouldn't be like that, but sometimes, knitting just is a tremendous drag. I have a few WIPs that I am not sure I want to complete; and I'm not sure I want to frog them either. It's a quandry for sure.  

I'm torn. I have start-itis, and I need another WIP (work in progress) like I need a hole in my head. But the socks aren't doing their usual magic. I feel like casting on another pair, but the singletons are mocking me from their project bags: "Finish ME for Pete's sake!!" and I should - that way, I actually get a PAIR that I can wear! 

I'm in knitting ennui. A slump, if you will. I hate slumps. 

I had wanted this tee (the pattern says it's a tee - I'm considering it an "overlay" to a tank top or long-sleeved tee) to be done so that I could wear it this summer, since it's linen. But all kinds of crap interfered with my knitting mojo and I'm actually forcing myself to work on it. That's never good, in my opinion, but it's sort of where I'm at right now. 

I got a lot of compliments on my Fluoromania socks when I finally decided that it was now cold enough to wear socks again and posted a picture of them on Facebook - that yarn that was all the rage a few years (or more) ago where the colorways were actual fluorescent blends in outrageous combos, such as flamingo pink and electric blue, and a vibrant tie-dye blend of violet, lime green, yellow, and magenta. I have one hank of this Regia yarn left and it's in chartreuse with lime green. I really, really want to whip up a pair of socks in this, just for the shock value alone. I kind of wish it was still "in" because these days? Who doesn't need shocking socks? 

Right now, none of my projects are "portable and mindless." Which is why socks are drawing me in again. I can just do a vanilla pattern and let the yarn do its thing. The "let the yarn work for you" thing is why I do a lot of vanilla (plain) socks. And when I do patterns, they're usually only on the leg, mostly because I don't like the feel of patterns across the top of my feet. It's just me; there are stunning sock patterns all the way down to the toe decreases, but if I'm knitting it, the pattern stops when I start the heel. 

Maybe if I can whip up a simple shawl, it'll take the edge off? Seriously, who am I kidding? 

The Thing is Now Legal...

Well, not like I was NOT legal, but this past weekend, I did an assistant teaching gig with my teacher, Linda, and I officially picked up my 500-hour certificate. So now, I'm good to go. I actually got confirmation a few weeks ago, so technically, I was "legally" a 500-hour teacher. And now, I've got the paper to prove it. 

I'm glad it's done. That, with the Prenatal Yoga certification, means I'm good for a while. I do have enough CEUs for a couple years! 

As yoga teachers, it's up to us to keep up with continuing education. Things change. When I first trained, in 2014, one of the cues for Trikonasana (Triangle) pose was "as you move your spine over your front leg, imagine your body pressed between two panes of glass." Well, first off, that's a horrible cue. Second, that actually takes your sacrum (lowest part of your spine) and jams it in bewteen the pelvic bones. 

AND - it assumes that every body is the same. That nobody has any issues in their spines, that everyone moves the same way. That all students look like cookie-cutter figures. Which is patently untrue, and it has been untrue for many years. 

After some years of studying biomechanics and the history of yoga-related injuries, we now know that you should let the top hip "roll over" a bit - so that your lower spine can move a bit... THAT is why you continue to train. You don't have to go nuts, but attending at least one workshop a year isn't a bad idea and it doesn't have to cost thousands of dollars. You can attend some great workshops for under $100, most of the time. 

And now that I'm 500-hour certified, I can actually teach workshops to other teachers. That's pretty cool!

Random Picture...

Every morning, Raisa greets me with her giant Kong bone. Usually by chucking it at me. Thankfully, she waits till I'm out of bed - when I'm in my chair, that's her cue. 

She thinks it's fun to tug and for me to toss it to her. She'll either catch it in mid-air, or I can sneak it past her and she's got to go find it. 

This is an endurance test for her and a reflex test for me: am I awake enough to not get smacked in the noggin with a slimy rubber bone? Most mornings, I'm actually good. Surprising, isn't it? 

She's quite an efficient "pitcher" and has only missed a couple of times. This picture was the result of one of her throws. 

Yes. Right on the arm of my chair. She's pretty cautious about going after the bone if it's near Hubby's orchids, near the TV, or near any of my stuff, so I'll give her credit. And this was right next to my arm. She waited patiently for me to take the shot and then I tossed it back at her. 

It's those little routines every morning that start your day out the right way...

Looking for yoga, but no studio near you? 

Join us on Zoom, especially for chair classes! Check us out on the web at

New in-person classes include Yoga with Gratitude & Grace with Mindy, Saturday Chair Yoga with Irene, and Finding Balance (starting soon) with Erika. And don't forget in-person Prenatal Yoga with Pat!

Want to know what would suit you best? Call/text (815) 546-2770 or email

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Pregnancy Begins With a Penis... perhaps THAT should be regulated by the "party of small government." (See what I did there??) My postcard campaign continues, and honestly, I don't know whether to smack Lindsey Graham upside his entirely EMPTY head, or... THANK him for galvanizing women young and old. Because he's such a chuckle-headed nitwit. Great move, dude...national abortion ban? Great strategy. 

Pink Tsunami, here we come. Duck & cover, Lindsey. You own this one. 

The party of small government wants to get into my uterus (even though my child-bearing ship has sailed a while ago), but perhaps they ought to look at the teeny-tiny penises. They're all so busy bloviating and thinking that they've got the biggest one in the room. 

Got news for you, boys. (And girls, where IS your common sense?) The uterus brought you into this world. Women voters will take you out. 

And while I'm at it, let's talk about student loans. I have a disclosure to make: I have never had a student loan. I had a grant. Hubby had loans, but the interest rate was 1-2% - whereas now, they're the equivalent of a mortgage. My kid doesn't have student loans, but friends do. People I know have declared bankruptcy because the loans are basically usurious... Seriously, do some math and understand DAILY COMPOUNDING OF INTEREST. 

Have you ever seen a closing statement for a mortgage? Or a car loan? I have. You buy a car for $30,000 and after you tack on interest, your loan paper says you're paying upwards of $60,000 for that car over the life of the loan. And that's calculated on SIMPLE interest. The interest is figured in with your payment, and is amortized through the life of the loan. 

But with student loans, interest is compounded DAILY. Daily compounded interest means interest is accumulated daily and is calculated by charging interest on principal plus interest earned daily; therefore, it is higher than interest compounded on a monthly/quarterly basis due to the high frequency of compounding. So think about this, because the math looks "small" but if you consider that the rate is DAILY, you can see how this is just...insane. 

You first take the annual interest rate on your loan and divide it by 365 to determine the amount of interest that accrues on a daily basis. Say you owe $10,000 on a loan with 5% annual interest. You'd divide that rate by 365 (i.e., 0.05 ÷ 365) to arrive at a daily interest rate of 0.000137. That daily interest rate looks pretty tiny, doesn't it? Well, it's different from your car loan, which is calculated MONTHLY - every 30 days. This student loan interest is calculated DAILY, so you can see how that would add up. 

Anyway... Look at the postcard above. Good old Marge Greene got $180,000 in PPP loans FORGIVEN. And she's screeching like a stuck pig about $10,000 in student loan forgiveness. A bunch of  'em got HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of dollars in PPP loans FORGIVEN. But hey, why would you want to give someone a hand up, when you can kick 'em while they're down? Is that the new "christian way"? Seems so. 

I've gotta sit with DeathSentence and The Texas Idiot for awhile before I talk about the racist, abhorrent, disgusting, dangerous thing they've done. All I can say is that I hope that the backlash from this is like a herd of elephants, butt sides facing an industrial fan on high speed, with said elephants having the runs. Simultaneously. 

Hip, hip hooray...

So my mom's total hip replacement has occurred. She's home, after an overnight in the hospital. I'm very glad she stayed. 

We got her to the hospital at 6 a.m. and the surgery was scheduled for 7:30. I stayed, with my hospital knitting (see the sock). And I had a fully-charged Kindle, and they had HGTV playing in the waiting room. And I could people-watch - which was weird. 

Because about 60% of the people IN THE HOSPITAL WAITING ROOM couldn't quite figure out, nearly 3 years into this, that a MASK GOES OVER THE NOSE, TOO. Seriously, people. The signs (with pictures) are all over the place. 

Anyhow, as I was waiting. And waiting. And waiting, I noticed that there were a lot of codes being called, but I was ok because none of them were "code blue," so I wasn't too concerned. But the time came and went for her to have been done, and I was still sitting there. Then, the manager was coming around asking for various families...turns out that somehow, the hospital was full. As in "no room in the inn" full - no rooms available. So if you lived close, they suggested that you go home. Anyway - I got to see her for a few minutes in the recovery room. She cracked an eye open, said, "I've been hit by a bus," and fell back asleep. That was my cue to go home. 

I got home and took a nap; then they called me around 4:30 p.m. and she'd finally gotten a room. I'm so glad I wasn't stuck there all day. I wasn't doing any good; just taking up space. 

Her neighbor is helping her out, we have the food lined up, and all systems are go. She hates the compression socks. "If they come up any higher, I might actually have a perky bustline." Yep, no filter... 

Now it's time to focus on fixing MY hip. Doctor's appointment on Monday to figure it out. 

The Garden...

I was poking around the back pot of parsley and found...caterpillars! I usually do flat-leaf parsley in the front yard for them, but somehow, they made their way to the back (curly-leaf) and have taken up residence. Started out with 5 of them, and I'm down to I hope that 3 of them have gone on to be chrysalis-to-butterfly, and not bird food. It should be safer back there, because the birdfeeders are all up front. 

These are Swallowtail butterflies in the making. My milkweed never even bloomed. So Hubby tells me he prefers the taste of the flat-leaf parsley, but I warned him to still be careful about the caterpillars. They blend in so well that they take you by surprise!

The birds have been enjoying the seeds from the coneflowers and the Brown-eyed Susans, and the hummingbird feeders were reorganized. I pitched the ones that weren't working or were ignored. Usually, it was because hornets and bees could get to them, or -- my favorite one finally broke down beyond repair and I couldn't find a replacement. So I have three that they seem to like and we're sticking with them. 

And at work, my wild flowers in pots have done well, considering that they're somewhat neglected. I bought a bubbler. We have a "flower pot drain bowl" that we've been using as a bird bath, and I added a bubbler to it so as to cut down on mosquito eggs. The birds seem to enjoy it.

When the office door is open, the sound of the bubbler is quite soothing. And of course, Flat St. John had to pose to show himself off in this "water feature." 

We have nasturtium, salvia, begonia and windflowers, so it's a nice assortment, as I said - considering that I've virtually ignored the whole thing all year. It's been busy...

We're planning The Great Tomato Sauce Canning for the first weekend in October. I'm considering something that I've seen another friend do: roasting the veggies and then puree them in my Vita Mix. Or I'll do it the way I always do: in a huge stock pot, simmering for hours. We'll see. I think it's about the same amount of time, maybe less doing it via the roasting method. It might be worth it to do 2 batches, one in each method, to see how it goes. 


To the new Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, Paula Clark... The first woman, and woman of color, to be a bishop in this diocese. She's had a long, hard road since her election and we waited for nearly 2 years to have her consecration ceremony. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry was heading the service. 

Her vestments, hand-made, honored her membership in the International Order of the Daughters of the King, and the ceremony was planned specifically by her.  

Hubby and I were going to join the choir, but after looking at Covid numbers, looking at my own risk factors, and the fact that my mom just got out of the hospital and we're her primary humans...we decided, reluctantly, to withdraw. Which is a shame, because the music was pretty awesome. 

You may recognize Bishop Curry from his preaching at Harry & Megan's wedding. He's pretty dynamic, to say the least. 

Bishop Paula wore some awesome red kicks! And some purists objected to the tennis shoes. OK, let's break this down... About 18 months ago, she had a traumatic brain injury, brain surgery, a long and difficult recovery, and then her husband died. She's got some lingering mobility issues. She's lucky to be alive, through much prayer and dint of hard work on her part...What did you expect? Manolo Blahniks??? Get real. Comfort and ability to walk and stand -- that's important. She's not here to make a fashion statement and those folks who object to this? They can kiss the north end of a south-bound horse. Or my pasty white rear end. Whichever...

Random Picture...

This is Quinn, getting a Saturday Skritch. She turns into "oozy dog" and just melts. she loves her belly rubs, for sure. She's healing up very nicely from the nasty cysts she's had lately. 

She turns 12 soon. She's really getting older, and I can see subtle signs, such as a little less spring in her legs when she gets up on the couch, and sometimes a bit of deeper sleep where she startles. And her tail is not curling - that's kind of a classic Norwegian Elkhound "old dog" phase, when their tail stops curling over their rump. 

Shyness has never been her problem. When she's in "flathound" mode, she's totally relaxed. 

Looking for yoga and there's no studio nearby? We have Zoom classes!
In the area? We have THREE new classes, including Prenatal on Saturday afternoon, an additional chair class on Saturday morning, and Yoga with Gratitude & Grace on Wednesday nights. 
Check our website at or 
text/call us at (815) 546-2770 if you have questions about which class is the best one for you. We are a safe, inclusive space - and welcome you as you are. 

Friday, August 12, 2022

It's Been a Long, Strange Trip...

 Seriously, I started to write this in JUNE. And then I hit a wall. The wall consisted of a lot of things. Boss Lady's retirement and the attendant stuff, things happening in the family, delayed grief from my sister's death, busy-ness from a training I was in the midst of...a lot of things. 

But mostly I felt like there was a hole in my soul. Even with the monumental stuff going on in the world, I was just...numb. When Katanji Brown Jackson was sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice, I was excited. And numb. I didn't have words. 

When Roe was overturned, again: stunned. And numb. 

When Beto O'Rourke called out a protester, same thing. "About time" and...numb.

When TFG got that search warrant served on'd think THAT might break through the fog, but it hasn't, really. 

I just feel bad that I haven't written and it's like I fell of the face of the earth. 

The Postcards...

So I've been venting some spleen with postcards. Actually, my studio is going to be a gathering place for folks writing postcards to voters for a particular candidate. I believe in the power of the postcard. 

We do so many emails, so many texts, so many phone calls...a postcard is something different. My friend "A" latched onto this, and I ended up sending a bunch. To the SCOTUS and to the idiots who don't support sensible gun legislation. And as thank-you notes to those who are actually legislating. Doing the job we elected them for. And reminding those who're slacking off. 

I'm absolutely not sure if it does anything but it makes me feel like it's SOMETHING. Especially in these times when we all feel so out of control on the whole ball of ugly that's happening in this country. 

I enjoy reminding Uncle Clarence that, while he's dumping "precedent," he'd best be careful: At one point in history, he would've been 3/5 of a person; he couldn't vote; and he and Ginni couldn't marry. Loving v. VA was only decided, after all, in 1967... 

I got my postcards from VistaPrint, but you could get them from anywhere - maybe you even have a stash of postcards that you picked up on your travels. You know nobody wants them, and if you're decluttering, why not use them? At least you'll be making your point. It's pretty therapeutic. 

The Knitting...

Well, there's some progress. I had to add another ball of yarn. And then the age-old question: "How do I do this so that it doesn't look clunky?" It's honestly easier to do when you're knitting with an appropriate-sized needle. Like, if I'm knitting socks, I'm using a size 1 or 2 needle, and the fabric is pretty stable. But with the Long Sands Tee, I'm knitting a linen yarn with slightly bigger needles, to make that "lacy" fabric, so I could do a couple of things:

I could knit double for a few stitches. I could end at a side seam so that I could just knit 1 or 2 stitches and "bury" the new join in the side. Or I could do a variation on a spit join. 

For the uninitiated, the spit join is usually used (in my experience, at least) when you want to join two balls of wool. Like, straight wool, not superwash, not mixed with any other fiber. The reason is, you take Yarn A and "unwind" about 1-2" of it, and do the same for Yarn B. Then, you spit in one hand, lay the yarns with the unwound ends overlapping, and rub your hands together to build some heat and "felt" the yarns together. It's remarkably strong. 

But with linen, it doesn't felt. So the variation I found was to unwind part of the end of Ball A and the same amount on Ball B. And braid them together. 

I went to The Google and looked for "ways to join yarn," and found this. The demo was on a worsted weight, so they used a paper clamp to secure the end. Of course, as you can see, all I needed was a paper CLIP... 

The only thing I don't like is that, because I'm using the larger needles to get the drape in the fabric, I can see where this is at. And of course, it's the front, toward the center. 

As a new skill, it's cool. But as an actual way of construction for my garment, I really wish I would have done it on the seam. I'll get a picture of it, and show it next time. 

The project is coming along nicely. It'll get set aside in September. My mom is (finally) having her hip replaced, and I'm "it." I will be taking her to the hospital, and I'm hoping she stays overnight to be observed. She's well into her 80s and honestly, if something happens, I'm skilled enough to dial 911. And that's about it. She should stay overnight, and I thought I had her convinced. But she's waffling. Don't get me wrong, all her marbles are there. But she thinks she's MY age...and she's not. There are benefits to her staying in the hospital overnight, including the fact that the elderly don't come out of anaesthesia easily. If she were to try to get up, and I wasn't right there, there would be a problem. If she was in the hospital, there would probably be an alarm and someone (or several nurses) would be able to deal with it so she wouldn't hurt herself. 

So my "surgery knitting" will be socks. The Kindle will be charged. It takes about 2 hours for the surgery, so I'll probably stay put. It's easier. This is where I miss my sister. She was "the person" for this stuff. I can take care of the other stuff, but medical things are out of my area. 

I Did a Thing...

I got an email from Amazon saying that, basically, my Kindle (3rd gen) would no longer be able to download books. Well, that kinda sucks. I didn't update it; no need to. It was working just fine. But what's a Kindle if you can't get books, right? 

You can see (a) the difference in size - the old one is on the right, and the new one is on the left; and (b) the difference in the brightness. The new one is much cleaner, and you can make the light more "warm" as you read in the evening, to cut down on the blue light. 

I was given a Fire (Gen 8), which is cool. I have a lovely case for it, and I have TWO games loaded: 2 versions of Solitaire. Yeah. Big gamer, that's me...

In that Amazon email there were two coupons, and I figured, "let's see how this works." I got the grand sum of FIVE BUCKS for my old Kindle, but with both coupons (and a $40 e-book credit!), I got a Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition for a grand total of $90. Which, Hubby says, was LESS than he paid for my Kindle Gen 3 lo those many years ago. Happy day!! I'm just getting used to the lack of a keyboard, and learning where things are. 

I loaded my $40 worth of books - it wasn't as many as you'd think, but I got some good ones. I don't necessarily like the way they organize them. My old one, I could dump "read" books into a file. This one, they have "read" across the book, but with the transfer of my books from the Kindle Gen 3, some of the "read" were transferred as "un-read." 

I also got a nice cover, Van Gogh's "Starry Night." I'd have loved a TARDIS one, and I may still look for that! I'll say that it fits in my purse better. And it has increased my reading time. I have a lot on my TBR (To Be Read) list, so putting a slight dent in that pile. 

The benefit of the Kindle as opposed to the Fire is the longer charge on the Kindle. But it's a piffle; both are nice. I can use books from either when I read them to my yoga class on Sunday nights. It takes up less room. And my bookshelves are already overflowing. 

So I'm happy with my 2 new "toys." I would like to do another game, but I can't decide what to do. I've looked at the word games (I do love Scrabble), but nothing has made me say, "Yeah, I can do that without it driving me nuts." And unfortunately, the Fire comes with ads. Which is incredibly annoying. 

I Did Another Thing...

My hair needed to be re-touched. Yes, I love my silver, but I'm not opposed to playing with a little Rose Gold every so often to shuzh it up a bit more. My stylist, a young woman, said to me recently, "How do you feel about rose gold + violet?" I figured the worst that could happen is that I didn't like it. 

I love it. I've gotten so many great compliments on it. I wasn't going to do it for the summer, because I thought I'd be able to go to the barn more. Well, they changed their parameters, and my hip was acting up (see below), and so I figured I'd give it a try. 

It's quite obvious in the sunshine. And I think it looks spectacular! Is it vanity? Yeah. But it's a little vanity. 

Yeah, my hip is aggravated. I had one cortisone shot that lasted about 3 months, maybe 4. I was disappointed, but the doctor seemed to think that was a good result. I guess all in all it was, considering that your hips never rest. You're either holding them in place sitting or they're supporting you even lying down and standing. 

So I had a second cortisone shot and it hurt like a bugger. Doc really hit The Spot there, and Hubby said that I levitated "about 3 feet off the table." It's been bothering me more, and that's my basic objection to cortisone shots: I tend to do stupid stuff because it doesn't hurt. It makes me feel like it was before I hurt myself. Or it hurts because I've been stuck at the computer too long. Or I slept funny. Or I stood up too long. It's a no-win situation. I'm looking at an experimental treatment, because they don't replace hips for a torn labrum. Thankfully. One of us in the family with a titanium hip is enough!

And I Did a FINAL Thing...

I finally finished (after 1 revision) my 500-hour teacher training thesis. I haven't heard back from this revision, but I'm hoping they like this version and I can check this one off my list. In the meantime, I completed an 85-hour Prenatal Yoga training, which I've wanted to do since 2014...At last it's done. 

In the meantime, I started a 20-hour prenatal training, and I'm going to finish that, mainly so I can get sequence ideas. It's always nice to get some inspiration. 

I've done the community (free) prenatal class and I have a student body The other one was 30+ weeks along, so she's near to term and probably not coming back. I'm hoping to get a community going, and I know it'll take some work, but it will be worth it. 

I also hired a teacher who's a triple-threat, sort of. She's a student of mine who did her training during Covid, and she's certified as an ASL interpreter, and is a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, so while her training was from a studio with a Christian bent, she is well-versed, and can do some nice classes. She also can appeal to the other population segments. 

We're also working with a local group to do trauma-informed yoga with sexual assault clients. Things are moving in a positive direction, and we're hoping to continue to grow. 

Random Picture...

Frog legs. Or "sploot." Whichever. We were at my mom's house and Buddy decided that he was going to relax. I can't resist frog legs. Or sploot, or whatever you want to call them. 

Quinn usually does frog legs, and Tippi used to. I haven't seen Raisa do them - but she has her own quirks. 

I appreciate when a dog can relax around me; frankly, it usually happens because I'm a dog person. Honestly, it also usually happens with cats. I guess I just have the "thing" that allows them to let themselves hang loose and mostly ignore me!

I will write about all the Big Important Things that have been happening. Just not right now. It's enough that I figured I'd land here and spend some time with you all. Thanks for being here. 

Monday, May 30, 2022

Not Word Salad...

I promised you a recipe... The other day, after having to scrounge for lunch for the 3rd or 4th day in a row (I just need to do a grocery run and plan better), I decided to make a Dump Salad. This was a recipe that I adapted from my Vegan Kid. 


1 cup Wild Rice

3 cups water

1 Knorr Vegetarian Cube

1 (8 oz) container mixed mushrooms (can omit or use your favorite)

1 T. avocado or other neutral oil

1 c. frozen corn

1 can beans, drained (your favorite: garbanzo, kidney, black)

3 radishes, sliced thin

2 carrots, cut into 1/4" slices (If they're thick, cut in half first)

2 celery sticks, diced

6 spring onions, sliced - both green & white parts

1 navel orange, peeled and cut into portions (see directions)

1 bottle Farm + Field Basil Vinaigrette (oryour favorite recipe/bottle)

Put the water in a saucepan, add the Knorr cube and the wild rice. Bring to a boil, turn to a "strong simmer" and cover with a lid. Cook for 40 minutes.  In last 5 minutes, add the frozen corn to the rice and put the lid back on. When time is up, drain if there's still water left (I check after 20 minutes, just to see what's going on). 

In a saute pan, add the oil, heat to high. Add mushrooms (cleaned by removing root ends, chop if they're big mushrooms). Saute till cooked through, set aside. Add more oil if needed, sautee carrots and celery for about 5 mintues on medium-high. Then add the white part of the onion, and the sliced radishes. Cook for about 3 min. more, don't let them get too brown. Drain and set aside. 

When the rice + corn is done, dump it into a large bowl (I use a covered bowl so I mix & store in the same container). Add the mushrooms, beans, green part of the onion. Add about 1/3 of the bottle of the vinaigrette and stir together. Season with salt & pepper if desired, and you can add more vinaigrette. I tend to like mine a little on the "dry" side, but you do you. 

Pull the orange apart into sections and cut each section into 3 pieces; add, along with any juice off the cutting board, to the rice mixture. Chill or eat at room temperature. 

THIS CAN BE AS-IS. Or if you want more protein, add some chicken, chicken sausage, or low-fat kielbasa. 

This serves 6 people as a side salad or 4 people as a main dish salad. 

I love this because you can add whatever you have: broccoli, green beans, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, you get the idea. 

The Knitting...

Porch knitting tonight! I've figured out (with the help of the FB Shawl Knitting group) the one instruction that I was definitely over-thinking. I ran it past Hubby and we were both thinking along the same lines. I could've asked my knitting friend, but she's out of town, so there's that. 

I thought I'd get out there while it was nice, shady and before the pyromaniacs get started. It has been (dare I even jinx it??) quiet here for Memorial Day. 

I'm literally zipping along with this. Which means I may be wearing it by Fall, but hey - at least it'll be done, right? 

Next up will probably be a singleton sock that has the mate already done; I have to dig them out. And the Copland shawl, which is a WIP that I'm looking forward to finishing as a gift, hopefully for Christmas, but that could be a stretch. We'll have to see on that one. 

Postcard Project...

I'm back with the postcards again... Is it "doing something"? Who knows? It's something that's being done, that's for sure. I can't march, and I don't have the money to influence politicians, so I do what I can do. 

My friend came up with a pretty brilliant idea - she gathered up all the postcards she got from her own travels and those that people gave her from theirs. I have a bunch of them, and they mean nothing to anyone else. I may as well put them to good use. So she addressed them and shared them with us. I find it ironic that a few of them were buildings that meant a lot: for example, a picture of the historic Supreme Court building for Mitch McConnell and the stained glass for Ted Cruz. 

I wrote what I wanted them to do to curb gun violence. (Well, their JOB would be a start) And then I wrote a small prayer asking God to grant them the courage to DO their job. 

Hey, they're all professing to be Christians, right? So prayer shouldn't bother them. And I don't care if they ARE bothered. 

Random Picture... 

This is the garden as of today. It's been super windy (it's been like that since January...I'd swear my sister was coming back to try to tell me something...) and the middle cover is a bit twisted. 

Soon, we'll be putting on the tomato cages, and the racks for the bush cucumbers. I know - bush means not climbing, but so far, every time I've planted them (this will be my 4th go-round with them), I've needed to give them something to climb on. 

One of our tomato plants (in the far left bed) already has blossoms on it, so we should see something nice soon. 

Gardening is nature's prozac. If you have the space for even a couple pots on the patio, try it. You'll feel good getting your hands dirty and you'll have flowers or veggies. Win/win!

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Just. So. Much...

There's just so much. Too much. Where to begin??

At first, I thought I'd blog when the "leak-that's-not-a-leak" broke with Justice Alito's "triumph" -- a decision which would render Roe v. Wade deader than Marley's ghost. 

Then, I thought I'd blog after the Brooklyn shooting. 

Then, Uvalde happened. 

With all that, stuff like the latest book I'm reading, my knitting and my garden seem so...quaint. Provincial, even. Stuff of fluff and nonsense. 

But maybe we need fluff and nonsense right now because the weight is there and it's getting heavier. 

So let's get to it, kids. What shall we tackle first? 

Let's go with Amy Coathanger Barrett's comment about the "domestic supply of infants," because it correlates pretty closely with school shootings. I guess we need a "domestic supply of infants," so that, if they manage to grow up and get to school, they'll be targets. 

Yes, I said what I said. Kids these days (and their teachers) are targets. Every parent, lately, especially in the Bible Belt (an irony that's almost laughable because there's nothing Biblical about them or their attitudes), seems to think that they can teach better than teachers. They know more than librarians, and they're more heavily armed than the cops. 

And still, kids die. 

And our government has neither the will nor the inclination to change any of that. 

I almost hesitate to say it, but this time, it feels a little different. I can't put my finger on it, but the reactions are different, in places where it just might finally matter. 

We can only hope. I wish I could provide you with a Grade-A, Twitter-worthy rant, but you know what? It's too heavy a load and I just can't right now. 

The Knitting...

The Long Sands Tee goes on. I had to decrease after the lace pattern to get to the correct amount of stitches, once I went down a needle size. And then it turns out I'm going to be doing dolman shaping, with some increases! Yikes. 

The linen yarn is interesting. I'm not sure how this thing is supposed to block out; it's the first "one piece" sweater I've ever knit, and I can see how it's going to be quite "draggy" -- I mean, as you wear it, the weight of the linen will make it hang differently. I saw one picture where it looked quite like a crop top, which isn't the effect I'm going for. I'm hoping it's like on the model, where it hits around the hips. 

I'm sort of -- well, not "sort of," but actually QUITE annoyed at the lack of support for this pattern. I've reached out to the Ravelry page, and I've put things out on social media and...crickets. Now, either I'm just being a dunce, or it's not a pattern that a lot of people have done. So I have no questions answered, and just a few pictures are on the pattern's Ravelry page. 

I've managed to place the markers for each side, and I'm doing the 1 1/2" of stockinette before the dolman increases. Then, the front and back get separated and we don't worry about them till later on. 

I try to read a pattern all the way through at least once, and then I start it. I used to just plow into the project, but that didn't work out so well. So I figured that I should probably do what everyone suggests: Read the blasted thing through first, so at least I have some idea of what I'm getting myself into!

Honestly, I thought I'd be farther along on this, but some things have been happening, so I haven't had the needles flying like they ought to be. 

The Yoga...

Yeah, I went ahead and signed up for an online Prenatal Yoga class. Yeah, I'm the oldest student in the class...we talk about birthing and thankfully, THAT hasn't changed. But some things I experienced in "the 'way back times" as we say? That's changed a bit. 

My hip, by the way, has NOT been cooperating. I am sorely tried by this hip. It's a balance between "moving to keep moving," and then "paying for moving." I may have to have a second cortisone shot, which I'm not looking forward to. 

And as long as we're here, I have to tell you that I'm having an ICM implanted. We joke that it's my "pet finder chip." It's an internal cardiac monitor - not a pacemaker or the like. It just monitors. I'm going to be laid up just temporarily - a few days. But then I'll be back to "normal" - whatever that is!

Anyway, the prenatal stuff should be completed by August, and we do move at quite a clip. It's an 85-hour program: weekend intensives, and lectures every Wednesday from now till July. 

I'm looking forward to teaching this population. It's something I've wanted to do for a long, long time. And it's about time - I don't want to regret not ever trying. 

The Garden...

The twirly-birds are INSANE this year. I'm not quite sure what's going on, and they're just nuts. The garden is quite a bit smaller. We're not doing carrots this year; it's the first year for asparagus, and we've got romaine, radishes, cucumbers and tomatoes. I've put in some parsley and some dill, but we have a ton of basil and rosemary in the freezer. 

This is the first year in about a decade that I haven't had a Rosemary plant. But I do have a new experiment: The Great Compost Project. Yes, kids, own compost bin. We shall see. 

A student gave me a small compost bin that she was no longer using. I thought about it for a while, and figured out where to put it. Let's just say there was a bit of a discussion about it, but my main thing is this: It's small enough for me to manage, and while I can't do the garden as easily as I would normally do, I can manage to fork over a bit of food scraps with the "brown matter" (shredded newspaper, coffee filters, some lawn clippings...). The bin isn't huge, and I'm not compelled to fill it. 

I know it will be at least a year, but it's something I can try. If it flops (draws critters or starts to stink), then I can just trash the whole thing. This is a nice netting contraption with a lid. I've staked it to the ground, which enables the worms and the "good bugs" to start working on the contents. 

I keep it moist, and flip it every couple of days. We'll see how this all works out. 

Maybe I'm totally naive, but I think at least it's my small bit to recycle and do my bit for the planet. Crazy? Yeah. But if it all works, then we get free fertilizer and we can help the ecosystem just a tiny bit. It's up to us to do what we can, right?

The bird feeders are back up; the hummingbird feeders are stocked, and the bird bath is back in action. We were on a "Do not" request from the state because of a strain of Avian Flu. It was mainy going after aquatic birds, but they weren't certain that it would affect songbirds, so they asked folks to not fill feeders for a while. The birds were grumpy. But everyone seems happy now. 

Random Picture...

Husky On Patrol. Raisa has decided that she's a part of the Neighborhood Watch. She rarely barks at anyone unless Quinn starts it first, and then it's her signature "song of her people." 

The neighbors across the street had a big "First Birthday" celebration yesterday so she was watching the cars park along the street. 

I promise I have more. I have at least one recipe to share with you, a post card project that you too can commit to do, and some more pictures. 

Just for now, though, I'm headed off to bed. My latest bedtime reading is "Wednesday The Rabbi Got Wet," by Harry Kemelman. I got it off a pile that my friend was "culling," and of course I decided to order the rest of the series on Kindle. My poor Kindle -- when I first got it, I thought, "I'll never fill this thing up" and now? I think I'm near capacity on it. 

More tomorrow. Rest well, everyone!

Friday, April 22, 2022


Three hundred fifty. 

Three. Hundred. Fifty...  Stitches. In the project I frogged and re-started. 

First off, the Secret Project is on the blocking boards, and tomorrow, I'll have Hubby help me with the linings. He also helps block for me sometimes, and is a great hand-winder accessory when I don't want to drag out my swift and ballwinder. There's a benefit to growing up with sisters who knit. 

And then I had to decide what would be next. I found my socks - which will be my "carry along and knit while you wait" project. It's amazing how many socks you can knit using this method. They're my 8x8 pair: it's a very wide rib and it looks pretty interesting with this yarn, which is a Lorna's Laces that's quite old. I started a pair with these and frogged them for some reason. 

It was interesting switching from size 3 needles to the 1.5 - you'd think I went from timbers to toothpicks, and both are kind of small, aren't they? 

I'm enjoying working with Lorna's Laces. I love the feel of the yarn. Though the socks are a bit smallish for me at 64 stitches. I've been liking 68 stitches; 72 is really too big. But maybe with the ribbing, the 64 won't be too small. We shall see. I'm going to do the regular heel flap on these. 

My next pair will be a broken rib, with a Strong heel. I've done one like that already, in grey variegated, but I want to use some of my stash - I might have a solid blue that would look good with that pattern. 

The Knitting...

The secret of casting on 350 stitches with neither too little or too much yarn on the left-hand? 

I wish I knew. 

I always end up either having to re-do the cast on (oh, that's fun!) or doing the opposite and having a lot more yarn (like a couple feet more) but I'm so relieved at not running out that I don't want to do it a 3rd time!

So I ended up choosing the "Long Sands" Tee that I had started last summer - I think. Because I lost my notes and I had no idea where I'd put them. So I wasn't sure which row I was on, but I knew I was in the middle of the lace bit. 

I frogged it. I wasn't happy, but I really wanted to finish this the first time around. It got set aside for a couple other projects, and my notes, which I thought I had clipped to the board, were nowhere to be found. 

This time, I jotted the details in my knitting notebook. I need to remember to do that, or put stuff in a binder so that it doesn't get separated from the project. 

The yarn is Quince & Co. linen and it's a beautiful silvery-grey color called "Moon." 

I didn't realize that there were dropped stitches in the lace pattern. I'm not a fan of dropped stitches, but there you have it, and I'm just going to have to suck that up, right? 

Linen, as my friend Sonda used to say, can be a bit rough on the hands; there's no give and it's not easy to maintain a decent tension on the fabric. And once you get it done, you have to wash your project at least 3 times. That gets the stiffness out of it and makes the fabric easier to wear. 

If you think about it, linen is the oldest and most sturdy fabric. Found in the ancient tombs. So if I can ever get that thing done, it will certainly outlive me!

The lace pattern required a bit of fiddling and I think I may have done something one-stitch-off, but I will live with it. I'm not pulling that out. I put simple yarn stitch markers between each pattern repeat, just so I could keep track. It's a 12-row repeat, so we'll see if I mucked it up too much. It reminds me of when I used to get permanent waves: the "papers" that they used! Here's what I ended up doing, and I must say it was pretty colorful! I'll take them out on the odd rows where there's no lace going on. 

So, knitting hack: If you don't have stitch markers (or you don't have enough), then use some lighter weight yarn. Just make a loop and tie a knot. That works a treat for markers and if you have yarn leftover from other projects, that's a great way to use it up. 

There are reports out there that say you shouldn't put your yarn scraps out for birds, because they get tangled in the material, and often, the yarn doesn't biodegrade, so it just sticks around, much like soda straws and other things we don't need hanging around in nature. 

Vax'd Again...

So today I got my 4th Covid shot (a/k/a the second booster). I spoke to my primary care doctor and she said that if I was going to get any vaccines, I should keep up with the Covid ones and get the shingles shot (actually 2 jabs), which I am doing. 

I don't even have a sore arm, but one never knows. Several folks have reported "sick as a dog," to "just kind of tired," to "what was the license plate of that bus that hit me." 

I haven't had a reaction to ANY of the shots, except for a bit of a headache from one. Fingers crossed that I can embark tomorrow on the finishing of the Secret Project, and continuing round and round with the Long Sands. 

The folks at the pharmacy consolidated all my vax records onto one card, so it makes it easier. And I like the bandages: they shoot right through this thing, and it's one of the few that doesn't make me itch. 

Random Picture...

When one makes drop biscuits with vegan butter, they're automatically rendered non-vegan when you add smoked Provolone. Along with some herbs to add a bit more zing. 

Kid #2, the vegan, gave me vegan butter, which was supposed to an addition to potatoes which I'd already made. Slight miscommunication there... So I decided to use it for drop biscuits. But then I considered that they needed cheese. Just because. So they're vegan-non-vegan... 

It's a simple recipe from the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook, just flour, salt, a bit of sugar, baking powder, butter, and milk. So I guess they weren't anywhere near vegan in the first place. You put the dry ingredients in a bowl, then cut in the butter. Add the milk all at once and stir just to combine and then drop 'em on a baking sheet (or two...). Of course, you can Google the recipe. It's worth a shot for a quick treat to add to dinner. They bake up in about 12 minutes. 

Looking for yoga but there's no studio near you? Don't want to be in a studio? We can help. 

Call/text us at (815) 546-2770 or email at for more information.

Just Breathe Yoga Studio is a boutique yoga studio specializing in small classes with personalized adjustments for each student. While yoga is for every body, we know that every body is different. Each person gets their own specific recommendations, based on their needs. 

The studio follows Illinois Covid-19 policies and mandates. We practice mask-optional; teachers use hands-on adjustments at their discretion. 

Zoom classes and hybrid (both Zoom and in-person) classes available. Check our website. Private sessions and small group classes available in-person and online. Special events like birthday yoga, bridal yoga, etc. are also available at reasonable rates.