Monday, November 18, 2013

Memorable Sunday

Yesterday was a memorable day, so I thought I would write about it.

We woke up with thunder storms (This IS November... thunder storms are not usual). Danny-dog did not like them and tried to climb into bed (and was rejected) but this was just the beginning of the weather.

Church was good. The sermon was about Sampson, and how to not be like him.

P had Youth Group after church, so we went to the nearby Culvers for dinner. When we got there, the tornado warning sirens were sounding, but the sky didn't look too bad, so we went in. While we were eating the weather news was on. The Bears game at Soldier Field was suspended and all the players and fans were moved into sheltered areas. It was organized and orderly, they did a very good job. I understand the fans continued the party while the storm went on.

Back at Culvers the sky got darker and the wind got stronger. One of the managers announced that since there was a tornado warning no one would be allowed to leave, and they moved everyone away from the windows. They also mentioned there was a room in the back where we could go if it got really bad. DH and I were not really too upset, but C was getting a little worried; her hands were shaking! It did feel safer to sit on my or grandpa's knee with our arms around her. so we did that. We did talk to the people at church as well, and found out they were continuing their meeting in the basement, and so were also safe.

At one point the wind and the rain were so strong we couldn't see across the expressway. There was a lot of rain. When it let up we slipped out and drove the mile back to church. By now there was a blue spot in the sky, so we were feeling much more comfortable. We waited at church with another couple whose son was also in Youth Group. There is a "living room" area in the basement with very comfortable furniture where we waited, and we couldn't hear any weather at all. In fact, it was so calm that C started to get bored, and wanted to join the fun with the other kids. (Earlier she had been in line for lunch with them--before we left for Culvers.)

When we got home, our alley was blocked off with a fire truck because of a downed electric line! It was no surprise to find out that we had no electricity at home. Because of the power line trucks came to work on it quickly; unfortunately the fix wasn't quite so quick.

We spent the time finishing the reading of The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis. It is the last of the Narnia Chronicles, and we had been reading it, on and off, for quite a while. We had to use a flashlight to finish reading. We walked down to supervise the repairs several times, and were encouraged that each time we went down there there were more trucks, except at one point the parade of repair vehicles went down the street and there was no one in the alley! (Shortly afterwards they were back, so it must have been a supper break.)

The lights came back on, and we were settling in for a comfortable evening, but 1/2 hour later they went off again! We ordered pizza after finding a place that was open. They said it would be an hour wait, but we didn't want to open the fridge more than we had to, so we placed the order. After an hour and 15 minutes DD1 checked the website and we were shocked to see "Closed Because of Weather"! It said the same thing on the phone answering machine. By now I was getting a little hungry, and a little crabby too. We decided to go out and find some food. We had to make a detour to get around the repair trucks. We tried to duck through the alley, but there were still lines down there too, so we backed out of the alley and went around.

We found an open Subway store, and picked up some food and came home, just to find the pizza delivery car in our parking spot! So we had a choice of suppers. I ate some pizza stuffers (too salty) and my cookie from Subway, and I have a sandwich for today. I felt much better afterwards.

For the rest of the evening we mostly read; DH still had power in his iPod, so he was listening to music. I had a paperback book that had been languishing next to my bed for some time.

At bed time the power was still not back on, so DH had to go to bed without his C-PAP machine. He woke up gasping for breath... and was extremely happy when the power came back on after 1 AM and he could relax with his mask on. I made a circuit to make sure most things were turned off (had to adjust the light that was on a timer, and turn one or 2 things off, including the TV) and we are back to normal!

It just takes one day like that to be so thankful for electricity, and all the things it does in our lives.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Family Turkey Craft

Last week C came flying home with a large piece of paper with a pattern for a turkey. It was for the whole family to work on together, and she knew I would love helping her with it.


I went shopping in my craft room, and we came up with a whole bunch of stuff. We used 6 different fabrics for the tail feathers. C stuffed all of them.


The wattle is on foam-core; and is kind of cool. It is white glue with salt encrusted in it, and then water color soaked into it. C painted it orange and then red, and it turned out great.


C got a rubber band loom for her birthday to make bracelets, and that gave us the idea for the feet: rubber bands around pipe cleaners.


We made the base for the whole bird out of foam-core as well, and painted the edges and the background so the white wouldn't show through. C did the painting.


The beak is made from a pistachio nut shell, the wings are made with real feathers, and--crisis adverted--we found a googly eye in the button jar. We tried a bead, and we were talking sequins, but the googly eye fit the bill.


We are very pleased.


We hope the teacher likes it as well.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

October knitting and Halloween

I did get a little knitting done in the last month or so. These mittens were a KAL (knit-a-long) on the "I knit mittens" Ravelry group for July. DD2 likes them and they fit her, so they are hers. I didn't start them until the end of the month, after I had seen the finished product; I tend not to like mystery projects.


C was Dorothy for Halloween. (She did have ruby slippers, but didn't have them on for this shot. She also had Toto in a basket.)


Everyone greeted her as Dorothy; she was really cute. P did have a Minecraft Creeper head, which he did like; but since it was almost raining, and his "head" was cardboard he decided to stay home and help hand out the candy.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Half September, most of October

Due to overwhelming requests from my fans (thanks mom!) I am back.

I finished reading the Gabaldon books about 3 weeks ago, but I had given myself permission to take a break until Halloween, so I took it. The problem with that is is that now I am even more out of the habit of blogging.

I really enjoyed reading the whole series of books in one stretch; I did see some things differently, but I am still hating the cliffhangers. When I was done I had to "cleanse the palate" by reading something else. Every morning when I got I would still wonder what Claire and Jamie were doing...

We had a guest in the back yard for about a week:


He lived there for so long that we named him! He is Peter, because Peter Parker had a real relationship with spiders. His web was amazing. It went from waist-height on the fence in the back yard up to the canopy over the back door, and the electric lines from the house next door. The web was repaired every day for that week, and the spider was either on the web, or hiding in a curled up leaf that had attached itself to the web. We checked it every day, and C would announce that she was going to run screaming past it every time she went out the back door.

I did a couple of handwork things while I was gone. In September my guild collected baby bibs for charity. I made a cute one:


C had her birthday in October, and we went to the zoo. Here she is at the wolf exhibit:


DH, DD1 and C hanging out with a polar bear.


 We brought our own picnic, for a change. I was going to post the pictures of that, but I don't think my family will speak to me if I do. This is a picture of the peacock that was trying to share our meal:


Here's a picture of C, P, DD2, and DD1 looking at the bald eagle.


Tomorrow is a family reunion in Michigan, and we are going to try to recreate a picture from our youth; it should be fun!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Jury Duty

It's like a whole day of detention, with a visit to the principal's office at the end.

I was interviewed to be on the jury for a murder trial, with a list of 25 witnesses. It would have taken forever! I was excused.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


I can't believe how long it is since I posted... yikes!

I have been reading. One of my favorite authors (Diana Gabaldon) is coming out with a new book next April to coincide with the debut of the TV show based on the book (!?) She is hosting a read-along of the previous 7 books in the series so everyone will be up to date when the new book becomes available. We are supposed to read one book a month until My Own Heart's Blood comes out. That sounded like a very good idea, except that in the 3 weeks since I started reading, I have read Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, and half of Voyager. At this rate, I will finish the 7 books by Halloween.

See you then!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Stitches Midwest

I have been waiting for Moonsilk Stitches to post her pictures from last Friday, so I could piggy-back off her post here. We had a lot of fun, and I got some very nice stash. I shopped differently this time. I took a list of projects I was interested in making, and searched for yarn to make them with.

The biggest success was this:


This is for a sweater with sort of a tuxedo front and shirt-tails, with 3/4 sleeves. It is from, and you can see it here. I think it will look wonderful in turquoise.

I also bought this:


This is for another shawl:

It is a "Queen Anne's Lace" shawl. I think queen anne's lace is beautiful, and I enjoy it every year during the summer. The cone is 1/2 lb of wool/silk mix, and will have plenty for this shawl.

The last yarn I bought is this:


It is cobweb weight! I plan to make a cowl.

I also bought a set of 40 inch size 1 carbon fiber knitting needles. I like bamboo needles, but needles that small feel very breakable, hopefully the carbon fiber will be more durable. I will let you know how I like them.

We had a wonderful time, even through we were exhausted by the time we were done shopping. We managed to make it through the whole market though, which we felt was quite an achievement.

It is never a lot of fun to ride home during rush hour though. Next time we will try to get an earlier start.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Fibery goodness

I have been working on a new project... it is going to take a long time:

IMG_2256 (please forgive the shadow from the railing)

This is the first of 4 panels for the world, plus I have matching yarn to make a map of the US.

I bought the yarn for this afghan more than a year ago, and it has been sitting in my workroom since then, waiting for me to get the courage to try intarsia knitting. My mom knit a cardigan for my dad many, many years ago, with a golfer on the back in intarsia, and I was awed at the time. That type of knitting seemed to me to be the pinnacle of knitting perfection, and of course, I would never be able to reach that level. It has taken me more than 50 years to try!

I am enjoying the knitting, even with having to stop every couple of rows to untangle my yarn. I am using a Cascade simple spun wool, so the yarn is quite fragile; if I pull on it too hard it breaks. The only problem is, I didn't think it would take this long. I am already thinking longingly of some of the other projects I have lined up... but I will at least finish this panel before I start something else (big).

This doesn't count:


It took me an afternoon; it is a 4 inch teddy bear that I think is simple enough for the new knitters in the class I am teaching. They got all excited when they saw it, and 2 of the 4 cast on right away. We will see on Wednesday how they did.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sunday: Family time

After our busy Saturday, we had a restful Sunday, with the family together. We went to church, then lunch at Culver's.

Here are DD1, P, and DD2.


Here are C and F-DSIL.


Here are my mom & dad... mom isn't too happy I am taking the picture.


Here are DH and I.


After lunch mom & dad left for Michigan, and the rest of us went home and spent the afternoon enjoying the porch together. There was a walk, with puppies, some skate board, some knitting, a nice fire in the chiminea, some napping, and general relaxation.

It was a wonderful day!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


We wanted my folks to experience the restaurant where their future grandson-in-law works, so we went to Senza. It was also my dad's birthday, so that was a very special treat too.

The minute we walked through the door they greeted us like long lost friends, and said happy birthday to my dad. Everyone was very welcoming, and they even gave me a hook to hang my purse from the table! The decor was updated since the last time we were there. They have walnut tables now, instead of the white plastic picnic tables, and a couple more of them. DD1 did the redesign, and it is very elegant now.

We had water, with a choice of still or sparkling. I can't remember ever having that choice before, but I chose still. Mom and dad had the wine, a different wine for each entree, chosen specifically to match the flavors.

My pictures are not the best. I didn't use my flash, so the colors don't pop, but the food was as beautiful as it was good. The description under the pictures is from the menu.

We had the 5 course meal. Between all of us we tried most of the items on the menu. We started with the amuse:

Amuse: hamachi, yuzu kosho, sweet soy. dashi

It was a bite of fish, and a swallow of cucumber ginger soda. The flower is a squash flower, and is edible too, but none of us ate ours. (This is a serving for 2 people.) It was good, and a good introduction to the rest of the meal. My mom's face after she tasted it was so funny... she was trying to figure out what the tastes were.

The next course was scallops for two of us, and petite greens for the other two:

scallop: fava, blueberry, onion caramel, oxalis

petite greens: crab, young coconut, peach, macadamia

The scallops were delicious. The caramelized onions were so good, the blueberries gave just a touch of sweetness. I used to eat oxalis in our yard when I was a kid; I always liked the flavor. Mom & dad had the greens. They had a little trouble eating it (it was hard to get a forkful in your mouth) but they said it was really good. Those are peaches, sliced so thin you could almost see through them.

The service made everything even more special. It was so fun anticipating the next course by what utensils were provided, all carried on trays cushioned with napkins.

This is the soup:

They bring it out with just the extra flavors and pour the soup into the bowl at the table:

vidalia onion: duck prosciutto, truffle, bianco sottobosco, corn

The pumpernickel was the crouton, the little white "blob" was ice cream (!), and the green is petite scallions. I think this was my favorite dish. It was delicious! The soup was sweet onion, and the other pieces just added so much interest and flavor.

My dad and I had the ribeye, and DH and mom had the agnolotti. This was the main course. It was served on such a large plate that it looked like not very much food, but there was plenty.

ribeye: cherry, black garlic, morel, mustard

agnolotti: maitake, juneberry, kumquat, thyme

The ribeye was so good! The meat was tender, and the cherries were the crowning touch. There was a little tiny cracker, and the mushroom (!).

The agnolotti is ravioli with mushroom, the kumquat added such a distinct flavor.

There was an extra course that we were not expecting at all. It is a cheese course. It was melt in your mouth good! Since it wasn't on the menu, I will have to depend on my memory. The cheese was served like whipped cream. It was almost the consistency of pudding, but still with a very strong cheese flavor. The eclair was stuffed with pureed raisin. Just wow!


For the final course three of us had the chocolate, and DH had the oatmeal. They brought dad's plate with a candle burning! (but they did not sing to him).

chocolate: coconut, banana, raspberry, pumpkin seed

oatmeal: pine nut, cherry, dreamsicle, apricot

The chocolate was simply delicious. It had just a touch of chili in it... I could feel it in my mouth afterwards, but it didn't make it hot. The coconut was just a mouthful of ice cream and there were a couple of little pieces of cake. DH had the oatmeal, and really liked that too. It had a contrast in textures, flavors, and colors.

Some of the combinations on the menu make you wonder how someone could even think of putting them on the same plate, but they all work so well! After the first bite my mom and dad stopped trying to analyze everything and just enjoyed. They raved about the meal all the way home. We were not blown away quite as much as last time, because we expected a out-of-this-world meal, and we certainly got it.

The restaurant is doing well, and the reviews have been excellent. I also highly recommend it. By the way, all the food is gluten free! But that is just an added benefit. You wouldn't know it by any of the tastes or even textures of the bread.

We got invited to return soon, and we certainly hope to.

Wonderful Family Weekend

We had a wonderful weekend. My parents drove down from Michigan, and spent a couple of days with us; we did so much I will have to divide the pictures into several posts to keep from overwhelming things.

Mom and Dad arrived on Friday, mid-afternoon, and we spent the rest of the afternoon lounging on the front porch. We went out for supper to Mishkenut, a very small local Mediterranean restaurant. I discovered my parents had never tasted hummus!? (I really can't say much, 10 years ago I had never tasted it either.) DH had the kufka, my parents had kabobs, and I had the fallafel.

Saturday morning, we got a moderate start and went out for brunch; then came home and rested. In the afternoon we went to the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Lincoln Park.

(DH waiting for DD1)

We have been driving past this museum for years and years. A couple of weeks ago they did a "My Chicago" segment on it on the news, and I saw that it looked like a relaxing day; with plenty of places to sit; and it has a butterfly room! Our friends were giving DH plenty of grief about going to such a boring place, but it suited the day.

There were tons of butterflies!

On a docent's hand
The wings are getting raggedy
mom's arm

When you leave the butterfly room, you walk through the chrysalis room.
Freshly hatched!

We wandered through a couple of the other exhibits on the 2nd floor. These were some of DH's favorites:

They had some nice dioramas of Illinois flora and fauna. You can also take a wetlands walk outside too, but we didn't take the time. Just looking through the windows we saw geese, ducks, and I think a swan.

I walked through the exhibits on the main floor, and decided that we have to come back and bring C. She has raised butterflies, and her newest pets are turtles:


(these are sculptures, but there were real ones too.) I did need her along to find the creatures in their homes; she can always find the ones that are hiding.

After enjoying the museum we went to DD1's apartment to wait for the next exciting installment of our day. Three of the four visitors napped, I knit.

Stay tuned!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Happy birthday to the Blog!

There were no comments on my last blog post, so I will not be giving away any of the stitch marker sets.

DH and I bought one succulent pot, and liked it so much we built ourselves another. They are very beautiful this year. Three of the plants have flowered this year. Aren't these coral flowers pretty?


This "purple" plant is taking over this pot. The plant in the front has been sporting pretty little yellow flowers.


The plants in these pots remind me of my grandma's house. She had a south-facing wide windowsill that was always crowded with house-plants, including a healthy pot of hen-and-chickens that always interested me.

I certainly have enjoyed blogging the past five years, and I love the fact that I have the diary of my handwork during that time. I wish I had started 20 years ago!