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November 2010

Shop 'til You Drop


This week's Ten on Tuesday topic is . . . your Ten Favorite Places for Online Shopping.  I am well-qualified to take on this topic.  VERY well-qualified.  I really don't like shopping "live" -- especially in crowded stores and under pressure.  (I do, though, enjoy leisurely checking out cool, litle shops -- and I never pass up an opportunity to shop the Mag Mile in downtown Chicago!)  I end up doing a lot of my shopping online.


Where do I go?  Here are my Ten Favorite Places to Shop Online:

  1. Amazon (my first online shopping experiences were at Amazon, and I remain a fan)
  2. Zappos (who can pass up free next-day delivery. . . and the selection! wow!)
  3. J Jill (although we have a local store. . . they don't carry the full compliment of J Jill options)
  4. WEBS (can you say "discountable"?)
  5. Gardener Supply Company (dig it!)
  6. LL Bean (trusted and comfortable)
  7. Penzey's Spices (heavenly. . .)
  8. Zingerman's (mouth-watering treats!)
  9. King Arthur Flour (their selection of vanillas, alone, is enough to keep me coming back!)
  10. Muttropolis (Jenny's favorite dog boutique!)

Where do YOU like to shop online?

The Last Five

Saturday. . . means. . . five more things about me.


16.  When I was a little girl, I didn't go to Kindergarten.  (It just wasn't part of the school system back then.)  When I started First Grade as a 6-year-old, I was several exits past Ready-for-School, and I could already read almost anything.  School was easy for me, and I loved it!  (Of course, that was before I experienced geometry and chemistry a few years later.  Those subjects nearly did me in!)

17.  All of my reading-life, I have had some sort of book "going."  Through most of my life, I have passed spare moments with something-to-read.  I know a lot of my blog-readers are more apt to carry a knitting project -- and I do that some, too -- but, for me, it's a book.  The hardest thing about being in college, for me, was that I had so little time for "free-reading."  I used to go home for breaks and just dive into books-of-my-choosing.

18.  My mom taught me to knit when I was about 8 or 9.  I caught on right away, but found it was too slow for me.  I was all about the finished product back then -- and I figured it would take about a million years to finish a scarf, so I turned my scarf into a doll blanket and put the needles away.

19.  I taught myself how to crochet from a magazine sometime in the junior high school years.  I liked crocheting -- because it was quick!  I made lots of little things -- hats, mittens, scarves, potholders, and animals.  Many of these items are still hanging around (I'm talking to you, Dad, with that ratty old scarf I made in high school!). 

20.  When I was little, I used to dream about what I'd be when I grew up.  Back then, I thought it might be nice to be a ballerina or an astronaut; maybe a teacher or an author.  I didn't grow up to be any of those things. . . but I do still dream about what I'll be when I grow up!



Ain't No Sunshine

Finally.  A knitting project I can blog about!  But first. . . hit it, Joan*.

Tom's job requires him to take a couple of extended trips to Mumbai each year.  I cast on for this vest . . .


as he left for Mumbai last month.  It was about the same time that you could really start noticing how short the days were getting . . . and I found "Ain't No Sunshine" running through my head.

As always, Bonne Marie Burns' (ChicKnits) patterns are fabulous.  Well-written and clear, stylish without being over-designed, and totally wearable.  You can find details on my Ravelry page (here).

I'm often drawn to colorful, highly-textured sweater designs with complicated cables.  I like the challenge of knitting them and I like to look at them.  Problem is. . . I don't like wearing them.  I'm finally understanding this . . . and accepting that, when it comes right down to it, I like to wear comfortable, simple designs.  This one fits the bill!  It's really perfectly matched to "my style" -- and I'll probably cast on for another one before too long.


Tom's been back for a couple of weeks now, and the days are shorter yet.  Still, there's a lot more sunshine in my life - when he's home.


* I know this video clip of Joan Osborne isn't the best quality, but, wow, can she belt it out!  If you haven't heard her since the 90s and What if God Were One of Us, you should check out this album - great blues and R&B songs from the 60s and 70s.  One of my favorites!

Pass the Cranberries


This week's Ten on Tuesday topic is . . . Ten Things You Love About Thanksgiving.  I really DO love Thanksgiving, so this list is quick and easy!


  1. Bringing out the family-favorite recipes and planning the meal
  2. Cooking . . . and how wonderful the house smells throughout the process.
  3. Laughing with Tom over the same, old "jokes" and comments we make every year as he stuffs the turkey.
  4. Bringing out the linens and dishes that we only use at Thanksgiving to set the table.
  5. Being together with family.
  6. Turkey and stuffing; mashed potatoes and gravy; roasted vegetables
  7. Yams with pecans; cranberry chutney; pumpkin pie
  8. Wine with dinner
  9. Watching The Muppets Christmas Carol before bed (a long-standing family tradition)
  10. Leftovers!


Hey! Hey! Hockeytown!

Ever since Brian was 9 years old, and played travel hockey, Tom and I spent the weekends traveling about the state (and occasionally beyond) for hockey.  From September through March; through all kinds of weather; lugging sticks and smelly gear, we drove for hockey.  Generally, I'll say it was a lot of fun.  But sometimes, our weekends were not our own.  (Make that . . . the weekends were NEVER our own.)  Although we miss seeing Brian play, we don't acutally mind closing the door on that part of our lives.

This weekend, though, we found ourselves traveling for hockey again.  Only this time, it was a little different.  This time, we headed to Hockeytown. . . for a Red Wings game!


Tom has been to a Red Wings game before, but I hadn't.  (During Brian's hockey season, as he got older, we often did the divide-and-conquer weekend thing.)  It was fun to see the game played on the whole ice (so different from when you watch on TV) and to experience "The Joe" up close.


I especially liked watching the coaches prepare during warm-ups.  So intense!


And, in the end, it was probably the best-ever game to watch live.  The Red Wings played sluggishly for two periods, and then came back in the third period with gusto.  They tied the game with 3 seconds remaining -- and then won in overtime.  Great, great hockey drama!


This hockey fan . . . had a great time!


And no smelly gear in the back of the car on the way home?  A definite bonus!

Five More Things

It's Saturday again. 


This week, since FOOD is on my mind (big-time), I'll share five food-related Things About Me.

11.  I hate oatmeal.  I have always hated oatmeal.  My mom knew I hated oatmeal.  But once, when I was about 8 or 9, the advertisements on TV for NEW, INSTANT, FLAVORED Quaker's oatmeal convinced me that maybe NOW I would like oatmeal.  I begged my mom.  I pleaded with my mom.  She told me. . . you HATE oatmeal.  I said No-No-No, not this new, instant, flavored oatmeal; it's different!  She reiterated that. . . you HATE oatmeal.  Finally, though, she caved.  With the caveat that I would HAVE TO EAT IT.  Guess what?  I HATED it!  The new, instant, flavored oatmeal was even more hideous than the old, old-fashioned, regular-flavored oatmeal.  My mom, though, stuck to her guns (she was like that!).  She made me eat it.  When I finally whined my way out of it at breakfast (I'm sure I had shattered every nerve in her body), she assured me I'd have it for lunch.  And. . . I did.  It became a standoff.  I sat at the table -- with that gross, new, instant, flavored oatmeal in front of me -- for about 3 or 4 hours.  She would not let me leave the table.  I would not eat the oatmeal.  Finally, in a fit of parenting brilliance, she pretended not to notice while I poured it down the sink.  I have not eaten oatmeal since.

12.  I love appetizers.  Love. Them.  I adore tapas restaurants!

13.  I love chewy chocolate chip cookies  Tom loves crispy chocolate chip cookies.  I bake more than he does, so I tend to win that battle!

14.  I love olives!  I have always loved olives.  As a child, one of my cousins and I used to get in trouble at family meal gatherings because we would eat ALL of the olives from the pickle trays before anyone else had a crack at them.  As an adult, no one else in my family likes olives.  That doesn't stop me -- I cook with olives all the time.  More For Me!  That 's my mottos!

15.  I am not a vegetarian, but I don't eat much red meat.  Just don't like it all that much. 

Have a great weekend!

Friday Round Up: Turkey-and-Cranberry Edition

Time for a little Friday Round Up! 

I don't know about you, but it's starting to look like Thanksgiving is coming around my house!

Thanksgiving 011

I'm gearing up to prepare all my favorite Thanksgiving foods.  Tom has ordered the turkey.  Erin (with  boyfriend in tow) makes her way home tomorrow; Brian not until later in the week.  I love Thanksgiving!  Food, family, friends. . . and not so much of the pressure and expectation that comes with Christmas.


Have you seen this little video clip yet?  So clever!  I know it's been making the blog-rounds, but I'm going to stick it in here today anyway. . . just in case you've missed it!



I've been knitting.  Quite a lot, actually.  But.  As you can see. . . no photos.  No details.  I have completed ChicKnits' Mondo Cable Vest, and I really love it.  Problem is. . . it's so dark so early now, that I haven't been able to have Tom help me with a photo-shoot.  Maybe this weekend.

I've also been doing some gift knitting, and can't share here on the blog quite yet.  If you're on Ravelry, you can check out one of my recent gift knits here.  (The recipient is not a Raveler.)


I read yesterday that Norma is teaching Mr. Jefferies to "pee and poop on command."  I'm here to tell Norma. . . It Can Be Done!  Jenny pees on command!  I taught her when she was a puppy, and it's the best "trick" she knows!  It is really great - when you're in a hurry and you need your pup to Go. NOW.  And Jenny does!  (She doesn't poop on demand, though.)



Have a great weekend!

Thankful Thursdays: We Are Each Other's Angels

This November, I'm counting my blessings . . . by thinking about connections -- and how vital they are to my life.  Today, I'm thankful to my "connections" -- my personal network of friends.

When I was just starting out in my work life, everyone was telling me I needed to "network."  (That, and "dress for success" were the buzz-words of the work world in the early 80s!)  I truly didn't "get" the "networking" thing.  It seemed so trite.  And forced.  And fake.  Besides, all the people I met were at the same stage of their career as I was.  How was that supposed to be beneficial from a career standpoint?  I just blew off the whole "networking" thing.  I'd rather have friends. . . than a network!

As I grew older and wiser, though, I learned an important thing.  My friends WERE my network!  As I moved out in greater and greater circles in the world, I made more and more friends. . . who did more and more things. . . and connected me to more and more new friends.  And, all of a sudden, I HAD a network!


It wasn't trite.  Or forced.  Or fake.  It was a real network -- of friends.  What I didn't know when I was 24,  (well, one of many things I didn't know at 24. . .) is that your "network" can't be built overnight, and it can't be forced. . . if it's going to connect you to friends.  It takes time.  Lots of time.  And it's really pretty easy.  You just . . . connect . . . with people.

And what I really didn't understand. . . is that my "network" . . . developed without my trying at all.  I found that . . . we are each other's angels. . . and we meet when it is time.

So now, several decades later, I have a network of friends.  My network can connect me to . . . travel tips, the best recipes, new restaurants, knitting patterns, great books, hugs during a rough patch, advice when moving to a new community, the best teachers in a new grade level, mentors, internship options, medical information, and even new jobs. But mostly, my network of friends gets me through!

I am thankful for my network of friends . . . keeping me connected to people, situations, and the world!  We are each other's angels. . . and we meet when it is time. . . we keep each other going. . . and we show each other signs. . .