Thursday, October 29, 2015

NaBloPoMo 2015 . . .

I've never tried this, but I'm going to try it this year.

What does NaBloPoMo stand for?

National Blog Posting Month.  I thought it was just November, but apparently it's now pretty much any month you want it to be, but I'm sticking with November.  Here's what the Daily Post says about it.

What does NaBloPoMo mean?

It means that I will be attempting to blog every day during the month of November 2015.  There are some weekday prompts that the BlogHer site sets up, and also some that The Daily Post sets up.  I can use them or not, as I choose, and weekends are promptless.

I've wondered if I could do this in years past, and I've always wondered about the 10 on Tuesday and Five on Friday things that I see on others' blogs.

It's time to stop wondering and do some exploring.  It's time to see how it goes.  :-)

I signed up to get the 10 on Tuesdays prompts, and I saved the prompts from BlogHer.

I'll give it a shot.

Monday, October 19, 2015


Another WIP finished!!  These are the Elementary Watson socks.  For those of you keep score at home, these were #15 on the WIP List  :-)  They are much more green than this photo would lead you to believe.  If I made them again, I would use a yarn with a MUCH tighter twist, and probably one that was light colored.  Here's the close up.

And here they are completely:

These were an October 2014 YOSS pattern - so it only took me a year . . .  :-D

This means that I'm back in single digits for WIPs (I now have only 9  :-)  )

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Nothing too Exciting . . .

Fall is HERE in Chicagoland.  We had our first frost this weekend.  Now I'll have to figure out where to plant the daffodil bulbs I got.  They are the only ones that the deer won't eat!  And I need to wrap my young maple in the backyard to keep the deer from chewing on it.  We're not supposed to have as bad a winter as the last two.  Famous last words . . .  ;-D  Still, I'm hoping that it won't be quite so brutal.  Two in a row was enough.

I tried a new, vegetarian recipe yesterday.  It's called a Spiral Veggie Tart.

This is before it went into the oven.  It's pretty - and it actually tasted pretty good.  There is a lot of prep work.  A mandoline helps.

I had to make a crust for it - that was interesting (I never made one before!) - and I made a few subs/mods/additions to the recipe.  Here's my take-away:
  • You have to make the slices pretty much wafer thin.  I used my mandoline, but I think I could have made them even a little thinner.  I cooked it for 10 minutes longer and the slices were still pretty al dente.
  • The slices work better if they are all the same height -  I had to fold some in half.
  • Wrap as tightly as possible.  I think this might come with practice.
  • I used Greek Yogurt instead of creme fraiche.  I think I used too much because the crust was a little wet.
  • I added parsnips - don't do this if you don't like them.  They have a very distinctive and strong flavor. I don't think I would add them again.
  • The veggies need seasonings.  The recipe called for sage.  I'm thinking that some garlic and onion tucked in those rounds would really help.
  • I also think some cheese would be an excellent addition - maybe some feta over the top in the last 5 or 10 minutes in the oven.
  • I added some Balsamic vinegar to the olive oil that you drizzle over the top - it could go either way.
  • It makes 6 servings as a side and 4 as a main.
  • I don't think it's going to reheat well - it might be best to make when you know you'll have enough people to eat it all in one sitting.
I've been really deficient in vegetables for the past month or so, so I decided I needed to try to get some in.  I think this qualifies.  :-D  I've got a delicata squash that I'm going to play with today  :-)

I continue to hammer away on knitting projects here - I'm not making a lot of progress, however.  But I'm nearly done with the Elementary Watson Socks, so that's encouraging.

The budgeting is going pretty well.  I'm not always perfect, and there are expenses that come up that have to be taken care of.  Still, it's going well and I have only had to touch my savings for one medical expense.  I'm hanging in  :-)

I went back to Weight Watchers a month ago.  That's going pretty well, too.

The Cubs won on Tuesday and lost last night in their race for the National League pennant.  Only time will tell . . .

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Hey Chicago, WhaddaYouSay?

If you know me, you know that I really like baseball.  You also would know, then, that I'm an American League fan.  I do love my Chicago White Sox - and I believe in the Designated Hitter  :-D  But I'm a National League fan, too - generally speaking, my National League team of choice would be the Colorado Rockies because I lived in Denver when the expansion team came in, and hey, National League was better than no league.  :-)

Going to White Sox park has always been a part of my life.  In fact, I'd only ever been to an American League game when I attended my first Rockies game in the early 1990s.  It was really fun! I went with a friend of mine.  She and her husband shared season tickets with two other couples, and it was my friend's turn for the tickets.  Her husband was out of town and she invited me to go to the game.  I jumped at that chance!  We were eating peanuts and drinking beer and having a blast - but I was also intently watching the game, because, you know, I really do like baseball.   I think it was probably about the top of the third inning when I realized something was amiss.

Me:  S, what's going on?  Why is the pitcher batting?  Where's the designated hitter???

S:   (after a substantial pause) A, this is the NATIONAL League.  There is no designated hitter.

Me: ::::no words, just me sitting there with a glaikit look on my face::::

S got a LOT of mileage out of that (years of mileage, quite frankly :-D), and I got a funny story that generally makes people laugh even now.  Seriously, as mentioned, I'd only ever been to an American League game at that point in my life.  It never occurred to me that there wouldn't be a designated hitter in any baseball game  :-D   Since that time I've been to my share of Cub games. One memorable one at Dodger Stadium where I attempted to explain the game to my then husband who was British (The Cubs lost - no real surprise) - and I've even been in a skybox at Wrigley Field a time or two - because I love baseball, and it's pretty amazing to live in a town with TWO teams!  

You cannot imagine what it was like in the city in 2005 when the White Sox won the World Series.  Suddenly we had this amazing team that not only won the American League pennant that year, they WON the World Series.  I actually got to go to Game 2 of that Series and it was the best baseball game I have ever been to in my entire life - bar none.  Every possible play you could have in a game was in that game - from a single to a grand slam.  My Christmas card that year was this photo, taken by Bob Milkovich Photography (it wasn't this shape - I tried to scan it  :-D).

That's the victory parade on LaSalle Street.  That's not snow - it was the confetti cannons.  Even Steve Perry (of Journey fame) was there to sing Don't Stop Believin' which had become our season theme song.  On the top of the card it said "A White Sox Christmas" and on the bottom "2005."  On the back, it said, 

Wishing you and your family all
the best this holiday season.

God Bless and how bout those
White Sox!

I keep one on my bulletin board - both at home and at work  :-D  

For the last decade, Sox fans have been lording it over Cub fans.  And really - the Cubs pretty much never win.  They do great for awhile, get everybody's hopes up, and then - pretty much without fail - they fall apart.  They don't seem to be able to bring it when it really counts.  There's the billy goat curse, and in 2003 there was "The Bartman Incident" during post season play (that poor guy . . .). There's always something, and Cub fans are often known to say, "there's always next year."

But now, the Cubs seem to have a young team that looks like it could actually go all the way this year.  They don't seem to know that they're supposed to clutch when things are going well.  I hope no one tells them, because as I write this, the fourth game of a five-game series is underway in the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field against the St. Louis Cardinals.  

So, how can you be both an American League and a National League fan?  Here's the thing - it's hard to be a sports fan in Chicago.  All of our teams lose way more than they win - you gotta take it where you can get it.  It would be pretty exciting if the Cubs actually pulled off the prediction in Back to the Future and actually won the World Series in 2015 (and how funny is it that the guy who wrote that is a Cardinals fan!)

So, I'm taking it where I can get it - That's why this American League fan is singing along with the late Steve Goodman (and what shame that he died so young):   Go Cubs Go!

They'll win or they won't - but I hope they do.  I really do hope they can bring it this afternoon.

Guess we'll see . . . 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Old and Crotchety?

I'm starting to think that I'm just plain getting old and crotchety.

I really miss Marshall Field's.  For those of you not from the Midwest, Marshall Field's was Chicago's premier department store from 1852 until being acquired in 2015 by Federated Department Stores and turned into Macy's.

Like many Chicagoan's, I was furious that Federated would get rid of Field's, and if the windows are any indication of what's inside, it's not a quality store like Field's used to be.  Carson's was the second best department store here, and I have shopped there now for years.  There is one near me that is part of a defunct mall.  Carson's is the only store left, and I have a feeling that they are still there only because they actually own the land on which the store sits.  I was in that store yesterday to buy a gift, and I was supremely disappointed.   The quality was not nearly what it once was, and there were shopping carts . . . I might as well have been at Kohl's or Target (not where I would go to buy a nice gift).

I asked for a box for the gift I purchased.  Here's how that went:

Me:  "Thanks, and I'm going to need a box for that."

Them:  "We don't have boxes." 

Me:  "You don't have boxes anywhere in the entire store?"

Them:  "No."

Granted, I haven't been shopping in a very long time because I don't need anything, but am I so woefully out of date that I didn't know that stores don't give you boxes anymore??  I mean, does everyone just use a gift bag instead of wrapping paper and ribbon?  Or do some stores still give you a box if you ask for one?

This bothers me!  Seriously!  :-S

I realize that change is hard.  And I realized that Field's has been gone for a DECADE (and I can't even tell you how much I still miss it . . . ) and that I should just sing the Frozen song and let it go.  But I miss it.  I miss Field Gear (their house line).  I miss Jones New York.  I miss quality clothing in my size.

I feel like I should be waving a cane and yelling, "You damn kids - get off my lawn!"