Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dear Blog

Dear Blog, please do not feel that I have abandoned you. I have been occupied with several other things. I joined Face book and Abe got me involved with an amazing collection of 10,000 computer games and puzzles.

Thanksgiving has come and gone. We had seven guests at our table, In my humble opinion, it went very well. The meal was tasty, the table talk was interesting and it is always good to have friends join us. The leftovers were delicious and none went to waste.

Winter has come to Chicago with a vengeance. Cold, snow, ice, sleet, the whole works.

I made a sweater for Gene. He wore it for Thanksgiving, just a little unfinished. It was completed in time to go to the Zemil's post-Thanksgiving open house the next day. It was a fast knit. I used a two yarns, both alpaca. The charcoal strand was an eBay bargain and I won 17 balls of the light strand in a raffle.

I also made a scarf for our friend Jeremy. Every Thanksgiving he delivers his delicious, home-made pies, apple and key lime this year. He said he is wearing the scarf everyday. Unfortunately, The pies are but a pleasant memory.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

A Day with The Glass Menagerie

Yesterday we went to the Steppenwolf Theatre to see an amazing production of The Glass Menagerie. After the performance, we had late lunch with three of the four members of the cast and some of their other friends. We met James Alfred, who plays the son, last week at Marcus and Perpetua's wedding.

Oh right, did I mention that the cast is all Black? Only a few minor changes were made to accommodate this change from Tennessee William's script. The mother still spoke of going to her D.A.R. meeting!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fall in Chicago

I know, I'm supposed to post some more pictures from the summer, but today was the epitome of a beautiful fall day in Chicago, so here are some I took today.

A colorful tree in Lincoln Park with the Waveland Field House in the background.

The sun over the lake at the far end of Belmont Harbor.

A beautiful day for a walk in the park.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Photos, as promised - Part One - Galena

My photos have now been moved to my new laptop, and I'm able to share them.

Here is the Official Highway Marker about Galena Illinois:

This is a lovely house just outside the Galena floodgates.

The farming areas around Galena have a tendency to look like jigsaw puzzles.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Where has the time gone?

My brother Fred mentioned that I had not blogged for a few months. It is nice to know that he checks.

Much has happened since last we met. I'm officially retired. We've do a little close-in travel. The Cubs are in the play offs.

Travel included a weekend with the Mensa Gourmet group at Joan's home in Loda, Illinois. On our annual trip to "The Lake" we enjoyed great food, superb wine, a relaxing pontoon boat ride, excellent conversations and cheap shopping. Previously, at the benefit for the The Harbour, (Joan and Nancy are/were active on the Board), we bid on and won a night at the Timber Creek B&B in Paxton, Illinois, near Joan's house. It worked out perfectly. Rather than driving home after the dinner, we stayed there and came home leisurely on Sunday.

Every year we meet up with my extended family at the DCI finals. This year was extra special. My brother is an alumnus of the Chicago Cavaliers, now the Rosemont Cavaliers. They celebrated their 60th anniversary by organizing an alumni corps, no age limit, just a love for the corps. It was fantastic. They played with joy, enthusiasm and an overwhelming feeling of Cavalier spirit. They were great. The next night were the Finals. The Phantom Regiment from Rockford Illinois won with a dazzling performance.

Our third trip was relaxing weekend in Galena, Illinois. Our friend Kishore knows how to do a picnic. Tandoori chicken was cooked outside, a table full of tasty salads, noshes, and special treats were served but we all ate inside his home on good china with silver and crystal. It was good to see old friends at a happy occasion. North western Illinois is rolling hills and views that look like calendars or jigsaw puzzles. A pleasant place to spend a weekend.

Photos to follow

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Catching Up

Things have been somewhat busy here.

My knitting continues. Scarves and afghan squares mostly. And of course, Ravelry. The Top Chef pool concluded, my chef Richard made it to the final show, but not all the way.

We had a delightful evening with friends at “The Kid from Brooklyn, the Danny Kaye Story”. It is a high-energy musical about you-know-who. The entire cast is only four actors. Two play DK and his wife Sylvia Fine. All the other characters, I guess about 16, are played by the other two actors. Not deep, but not meant to be. Enjoyable, musical, energetic.

The Gourmet Group met for another delicious meal. Phyllis was a wonderful hostess and her deck and garden were perfect for eating outside.

Something unexpected was said here the other day. I used the words “Gene" and “gym bag” in the same sentence.

Book Club read “The Double Bind”, most of us liked it. Some thought that the twist at the end was a cheap trick. Check it out.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Swapping Susans

On Ravelry there are many special interest groups.

Some groups are based on the local yarn store (LYS) you frequent, some on what you like to knit, your favorite yarn, the type of pet you live with, where you live, with whom you live, your school, your kids, the sports team you support, favorite TV show, what you read, what you drive, your hopes and fears. And, strangely enough, your first name.

With that in mind, I joined the "Susan Knits" group. There is the chit chat you would expect, some are Susan and never Susie, Suzanne but not Sue, etc. Wediscussed famous Susans, there are few. And we had a swap. I exchanged with Susan (Suse) who lives outside of Melbourne, Australia. About as far from Chicago as you can get.

Here's a link to her blog Knitting for Love and Sanity where she kvells about the box I sent. I'm so pleased she liked the collection, as she says, it's hard to shop for someone you hardly know.

I am waiting as patiently as possible for my package from Australia. Is it here yet?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Casey & Ewa's Wedding

Today, after years of planning, Casey and Ewa were married. Casey is a friend and my former IT guy.

They had perfect weather, a beautiful ceremony, lots of family, flowers and music. The bride's maids had lovely dresses, really nice and not at all "bride's maidsy". The priest's vestments were beautifully embroidered.

Except for Ave Maria that was sung in Latin, the entire ceremony, readings, vows, prayers and all were entirely in Polish. Didn't understand a word of it.

Here are the happy couple and the front of the vestments. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A Finished Project and a New Untertaking

As to the Finished Project, I am pleased to be able to post a photo of the Elizabeth Zimmerman baby sweater.

It is finished and on its way to the baby shower. Wear it in good health, kid.

For the New Undertaking, Gene begins his cardio rehab exercise program this afternoon. We bought him "gym" shoes on Monday. Probably the first he has had since he was in school.

I'm getting used to semi-retirement. As things for me were winding down at work, and arrangements were made to cover all my jobs, the new bookkeeper that I had trained quit. She didn't show up one day, couldn't be reached by phone, disappeared. The following day, Alison (the Human of Human Resources, I was the resource!) got her on the phone, she said the job was too stressful and she quit. Bah.

So I'm still there. The good news, work = pay.

This has been a great year for flowering trees. This one is just west of us on Grace Street.

Enjoy spring.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

How I spent my week-end

Friday, Gene and I drove to the the far south suburbs, picked up our tickets to see the Yarn Harlot, a witty writer whose knitting blog is addictive, and bought her new book (Things I Learned from Knitting...whether I wanted to or not)at the yarn store that was handling the Chicago stop on her book tour. We then drove farther south and had an early dinner with his cousin and her husband. Then back to the lecture, we were told she was running late. Bad weather. A critical mass of happy, interesting, involved knitters is a wonderful thing. Much chatter, admiring of projects and fellowship. Then the announcement. After trying to get out of Canada all day, it wasn’t to be. There were no flights that could get her to Chicago. Event postponed, to be rescheduled some time in the future. Bah.

Saturday, we had our monthly dinner with friends. It has been a regular thing for 15 plus years. Everyone brings a course and a good time is had by all. I knit on an afghan square while we caught up and solved the world’s problems.

Sunday, relaxed. I got my swap partner on the Susan Knits forum. She is in Melbourne, Australia. That’s about as far away from here as you can be. This will be fun. I knit some more, did laundry, enjoyed the completion of Passover, etc. Now I’m watching “House”. Who could ask for anything more?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Gene and Jewelry

Did anyone get the reference to "Jules and Jim"? It has nothing to do with this post, the titles just seem to resonate.

GENE - He's doing quite well, thanks for asking. He's getting out and about and will be more willing to venture out when (and if) the weather warms up. Today it should get up to the mid-40's. It is hard to believe that opening day at Wrigley Field is one week away.

JEWELRY - I made a necklace set for the annual Harbour Auction. Last year the jewelry was well received, let's hope they like it again this year.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Is the Tea Cozy yet?

I made a tea cozy for my friend Alison. Never did one before, but will probably do it again. I designed it myself. It lacks the usual whimsy associated with cozies. Cute has never been one of my strong points.

Here are some pictures. The front and back use the same colors but have different patterns.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Traveling Scarves

The Traveling Scarves group in Ravelry is turning into a challenging project. Sure I know that no one will see more than one scarf at the same time, once they are finished, but I still can not bring myself to do the same thing on each one.

Three have been sent on to Brooklyn, and another is on my desk as a work in progress.

This is "Plumpy's" scarf.

Monday, March 03, 2008

News, News, News

Sorry for the delay in posting Gene news. He is home and, after a little setback, onthe road to recovery.

I am now officially semi-retired. I've switched to working twice a week. I slept in this morning, and it felt good.

The weirdest knitting project yet is finished. I have knit a sweater for a large yellow plastic duck that is part of a traveling trophy.

Please note the collar and company initials. Cool, ah?

Have I mentioned how very much I like Ravelry? I'm participating in a traveling scarf project. Thirteen knitters from all around the US have started scarves and sent our section on to the next knitter on the list. Eventually it gets back to you with everyones contribution. In the meantime, scarves show up on my doorstep awaiting their next section. Great fun.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Gene Report - Part 3

Today's report is very much like the last one. He has be detached from all the misc. tubes, but is still kind of coughy. He may come home today. We will find out this afternoon.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sunday's Hospital Report

Gene's progress continues. He is doing laps in the hallway and moving around more easily. He is having trouble with his breathing, though. He is getting respiratory therapy four times a day and drugs to reduce the fluids. Let's hope that helps the problem.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

How is Gene doing?

Much better, thanks for asking. In keeping with a strange need for themed events, he had is bypass surgery on Valentine's Day. (Not really planned that way, it just happened when his original day was bumped.)

Today is the second day after surgery and he has been sitting up in the chair and doing a little walking, not doing the hallway yet, that's next.

The surgery went well. It was a triple bypass. There was no damage to his heart, just clogged up. Good thing he failed those tests and followed up with the cardiologist.

He is at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Everyone there has been helpful, friendly, informative and considerate. You could not ask for better care. Thank you staff.

BTW, waiting rooms are a great place to catch up on knitting. The sari silk scarf is completed and much progress has happened on my first attempt at two toe-up socks on two circular needles.

Friday, January 25, 2008

News, Good and Bad

So much has been happening and there are varied ways to relate it:

Ver 1. Managed to produce a bunch of iPod cozies recently.

Ver 2. I have had plenty of time to knit in public while waiting for Gene's angiogram.

Ver 3. Gene is OK for now, but a second opinion is scheduled and then surgery.

Ver 4. It is reassuring to know that Gene has a heart.

Ver 5. Contrary to how it sounds, they won't bypass his heart.

You get the idea. He says he feels OK, but the doctors say he's all clogged up and needs to get fixed.

On another front, Happy Birthday, Franklin.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

A New Gizmo

An iPod Nano, mint green, has entered into my life. Love it, love it, love it. Music is good, but I've discovered the world of podcasts, specifically Cast On. A wonderful thing, I think I'm in love with Brenda. There are 59 episodes and I'm being very good about starting with the first episode and going in order. Her knitting knowledge is great, her voice is soothing, the advice is sound, observances enlightening and the music is quite enjoyable. Check it out.

Lest the Nano should feel unloved (fat chance), I knit it a cozy. The ear buds don't get tangled and the unit won't get scratched. Donna, a co-worked, saw it and commissioned one for her iPod. Oh well, I guess I'm forced to go to the yarn store. Life is brutal.

My cozy was made from the same yarn as Faith's socks as sort of an experiment. It worked out fine. There is even an opening on the bottom for the cord.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

December Recap

So many things, so little blogging.

December was a busy month. Here's a recap, not necessarily in the correct order but more a "stream of consciousness" chronology.

Our friend Helen celebrated her 90th birthday. Chicago area Mensa gave her a beautiful luncheon, her daughters flew in, as did her old friend Doreen. Helen is a clever, loyal, busy, giving, there-when-you-need-her, open-minded sort of person. Her energy and curiosity are never ending. Happy Birthday, Helen.

After the luncheon we headed to the monthly meeting of the Gourmet Group. Our Christmas dinner was delicious, the gifts were well thought out and appreciated and a good time was had by all.

On the knitting front, besides finishing Faith's socks, I knit a quick hat for my son, Abe. The bottom is knit with a double strand for warm ears, the reddish stripes and the rest of the hat are single strands. The red is left from my Sarum Tunic, the blue, something I picked up at Joann's.

I whipped it up in an evening or two and gave it to him as a Hanukkah gift. Wear it in good health, Abe.

As I'm sure that I have mentioned, I'll be retiring soon. News, but not hot news. In fact, I'm staying on through the end of January.

As always I helped plan the Holiday party. Little did I know, it was also a retirement party for me. We always have some sort of group participation event, we go around the table and recall the weirdest thing that happened in the past year, the strangest customer, etc. This year, they all gave their reminiscences about me! I did not see it coming. It was wonderful. As Sally Field would say, "They really like me." I've been with Bird-X for 27 years, so there are a lot of memories. One fellow pointed out that when I started with the company, he was in first grade!

They presented me with a beautiful crystal bowl, engraved with a skyline of Chicago and a touching thought for me. The logo bird is even on the bottom. Thank you everyone in the flock.

I tried to photograph it but failed. I'll try again.

Alpaca Direct tempted me with a sale on Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Yarn. It is as soft as it is pretty.