Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Summer Lovin'

So far our summer has been going pretty well. You might notice that I like to post photos in my blog.... that's because a picture is worth a thousand words, right? And because I love snapping away, especially photos of the cats.

What blog posting would not be complete without a photo of some kind of food - and of course it would be dessert. Two banana split sundaes! We've been eating a lot of ice-cream, and I've been trying to get my walking in, in an attempt cancel out all the ice-cream. But when the days are hot and muggy (like today) there's nothing like a yummy sundae and a movie in your air conditioned apartment. Elvis has learned the sound of the reddi-whip can, and comes prancing into the kitchen every time he hears it, begging to lick some off my finger - and I let him. How can I resist!???!!!!

I've been trying not to use the a/c too much though. I can't stand the dim wits around here who have their window unit blasting when it's only 75 degrees out!! What a waste of energy AND they're just blowing more hot air into MY apartment. So far we've only used ours two days the whole summer. And I'm thinking tomorrow will be day number 3 :)

When it's really muggy and warm, the cats lounge around, draped across the apartment as if they would melt in a liquid pool of kitty at any given moment. Here's my sweet Monkey in the spot light.

On Sunday night it was a little cooler. We went for a short stroll and I convinced Steve that we should take a leisurely ride through the neighborhood on the motorcycle, since it had not been driven in a couple of weeks. This is our cute little bike - a Kawasaki KZ550. I love it!

Me in my pink motorcycle jacket and my motorcycle helmet..... or is it a space helmet???
muah ha ha ha ha... I sort of look like that little martian dude from the Flintstones. Wasn't there a little martian dude in the Flintstones or am I crazy?

Father's Day

The Friday before Father's Day was a big day for the Nyktas family. Steve participated in the hooding ceremony at Northwestern commencing his "new" life as a Master of Fine Arts. Steve's brother, Louis, and sister-in-law, Devon, celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary. And Steve's dad, George, donated one of his kidneys to Louis. The transplant was successful, and here are George and Louis taking a stroll together on Father's Day, two days after the surgery.

The ceremony was a lovely one. It was pretty small and intimate. Two of his professors placed the hood over his shoulders. Here is Steve in his purple gown.

Steve and his fellow MFA graduates: Ryan, Cole, and Julie After the ceremony there was a nice little picnic with sandwiches and soda. We sat there, talking and enjoying the refreshments. I looked down and noticed something red and shiny in the dirt and grass. I usually don't pick up things off the ground but something told me to dig into the lawn to see what it was. I pulled out this little buddha statue - it had been waiting there for me. I knew it was a sign of good luck!
This is my friend, Melissa (Cole's wife) and her baby, Adele -what a cutie!

That night we went out for dinner with friends. And on Saturday morning we drove 7 hours to Columbus OH to visit Louis and George in the hospital. We were there for less than 24 hours, but had a nice visit that was well worth the drive. George was able to go home on Monday, and Louis stayed for about a week, but is at home now, resting and using his new kidney! Here are some photos I took on Father's Day of our niece, Carly Nyktas, who will turn 2 next month!

pushing Grammy in the swing! this photo is really funny!

climbing the ladder to the slide
Carly and her mom, Devon

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Alleged Gang Member Killed After Shooting At Police

This happened last night at the intersection of Pratt and Wayne - a block from where I live. Thank God I wasn't out walking last night. We DID hear something while we were in our apartment but I honestly thought it was kids setting off fire crackers.

We've lived in Rogers Park for almost 2 years and nothing like has happened so close to our apartment before. At least we know that this gang member did not reside in our neighborhood, but I still wonder what he was doing here...

There is more info on this blog The Broken Heart of Rogers Park

Posted: Wednesday, 20 June 2007 7:12AM
Alleged Gang Member Killed After Shooting At Police

CHICAGO (STNG) - A 21-year-old reputed gang member who was out on parole on a weapons charge when he was killed by police Tuesday night after he opened fire on an officer on a Rogers Park street has been identified.

Anthony Morgan, of 28 W. 113t St., was pronounced dead at 10:59 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office. Morgan was shot at 1321 W. Pratt Ave., according to the medical examiner’s office.

About 8 p.m. Tuesday, two uniformed officers from the Belmont Area Mission Team, riding in a marked car, saw Morgan at Lakewood and Pratt Avenues in the Rogers Park neighborhood, police News Affairs Deputy Director Pat Camden said.

"As he sees the police car he turns around and starts walking in the opposite direction," Camden said. The officers call him to the car and "he immediately starts running west on Pratt," Camden said.

The officer in the passenger seat of the car got out and began running after the man, Camden said. "About a quarter of the way down on Pratt, he fires a shot at the police officer," Camden said.

The officer took cover and Morgan took off running again, at which point the officer resumed the chase.Morgan then fired two more shots at the officer, and the officer returned fire, striking and killing the man, Camden said.

A Chicago Fire Department ambulance responded to the scene at 1321 W. Pratt Ave., according to a fire department dispatcher, but the man was dead on the scene, Fire Media Affairs Director Larry Langford said.

Just prior to the shooting of the man, police had issued a 10-1 call -- for an officer needing assistance -- for shots being fired at police.

No officers were injured, Camden said. Langford also said there were no ambulance transports nor any other reported injuries from the scene.

Morgan was was a "self-admitted Gangster Disciple," Camden said, was on parole for a charge of unlawful use of a weapon.

The police Office of Professional Standards is investigating the incident and a roundtable discussion will be held to determine if the use of deadly force was warranted.

Copyright 2007 STNG Wire, The Chicago Sun-Times. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Sweet Thunder

Back in my biker days, red sweats with jelly shoes were hip - so were training wheels. I think that's the ice cream truck behind me.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

On reinforcing heels & toes

I received this e-mail from the designer of "bmp":

Hi there Sarah! Your bmp's are looking good! :) I don't reinforce heels & toes. Its mainly an issue that I never have the correct reinforcing thread available to me, and until very recently I was knitting in mainly handpainted, variegated yarns-- the colored nylons would never match quite right to my eye. I have knit with reinforcing thread before-- once, when I knit my very 1st pair of socks out of Rowan Calmer (not a great choice!). They were given away so I'm not sure how they held up, but I used the reinforcing thread from fortissima socka. I've read that wooly nylon (used for serging when sewing, I think-- I can't sew :)) is a great choice since its stretchy. The nylon type (sort of like really fine fishing wire) isn't so great-- when I 1st started knitting socks, I bought some of that but more experienced sock knitters told me it wasn't a good choice (wouldn't stretch).

There's also a camp of knitters who don't use reinforcing thread, saying that it can actually cause more wear-- the thread rubs against the yarn, causing it to lose its hold more quickly. I don't know what I think about that, but its out there :)

Mainly though, as with most things I knit-- its a laziness issue... I don't have it around, so I don't use it. If I did, I probably would use the wooly nylon over the fortissima socka reinforcing thread-- from what I remember, the card w/ the thread cost somewhere around $3-4, making the cost for a pair of socks much more, relative anyway. Wooly nylon (or, wooley nylon?) is about the same price and you get tons, Joanns/Michaels carry it so you can get a 40% off coupon most Sundays as well.

I also think that reinforcing thread's true worth isn't for helping stave off wear, but that when holes do wear into socks, you have a vertical set of remaining stitches in nylon to follow when darning socks. Most of my socks right now have holes in the toes (actually, the area under my little toe, where my foot is widest) from wear on the side of my shoes... I need to darn them, but trying to line up the stitches has me ... not wanting to and to wear sandals :)

Have a good one!


PS! I recently realized that the "repeating invaders" chart of the bmp pattern has the last 2 invaders reversed from what is shown in the photos. It was my error, I sent the transposed chart to knitty-- they've been notified, but I don't think its been changed yet. Of course, the design still works, but will look slightly different from the photos. You could easily switch them back to the photos as seen, though. Good luck!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

space invader socks

I just wanted to post my progress on the bmp socks from knitty.com. I'm knitting two at once on two circular needles and it's actually much less confusing than I thought it was going to be. I don't work on it all the time. I have easier projects going on also, but I'm very excited about the progress made thus far. They are for Steve, and while I know he will definitely appreciate them, I also understand that he may only wear them at home, and that's okay with me.

This is my first time knitting two socks on circs and also my first time doing any kind of stranded color work. So far, so good.

I have knitted a number of pairs of socks before and I have never done any reinforcement of the heel and/or toe. If anyone has any comments on this or how I should go about it, please let me know!

The designer of this sock pattern also has a very cool blog called Sock Pr0n. (sock porn) Definitely worth checking out.

You can also find the pattern for these socks, as well as MANY other patterns, by clicking on the photo of the pattern to the left.

Wish me luck!
I'm also working on a sweater that I'm making up as I go along... I know it sounds insane... with some yarn that I got from Midwest Discount Yarn. It's very interesting.

Making Arrangements

This weekend was one of the best I've had in a long time. There was no work to be done, no tight schedules, no stress from work, not many chores (except laundry, which is going to put off until Monday :)

I'm basking in my newly found freedom. I only have one job, and it's low stress, and my boss knows that I can't stay there forever. This is the time for me to figure out where my life and my career are headed.... who knows what that will hold but it's exciting and frightening at the same time. I'm taking baby steps.

My mom was visiting this weekend. We went to the Evanston Farmer's Market where we purchased catnip plants, a bag of mesclun salad mix with some little pansies in it, purple asparagus, and bunch of wildflowers. The one bunch was only $7 and I managed to get THREE arrangements out of it! Shown here is an arrangement I made in a vase that belonged to my great grandmother, Edith Boden. She had given it to my Aunt Dorothy, and she gave it to me before she passed away in 2006. I thought the vintage qualities of the tall foxglove and snap dragon stalks worked well with the shape and style of the vase. This particular vase requires loose, natural looking arrangements. It wasn't meant to hold flower-shop roses. Below is a close up of the beautiful fox glove.

The flowers below are on the dining room table - yellow snapdragons and dianthus (which is a bit rotted but still looks okay). My friend Laura showed me how to make the snapdragons talk! Amazingly, I had never thought they would have anything to say, but they do! :) Monkey was entranced by the wispy grass in the bunch and I think she jumped on the table to chew on some of it when we left the apartment.
The rest of the dianthus I bunched together in this cute little cluster and put them in another unique vase. This vase was left over from a film someone was shooting in a warehouse we were using as a studio. When I found it, it was filled with fresh yellow tulips, drooping and spilling out of the opening. Someone made this vase from one of those glass cubes often used in windows in bathrooms, so you cannot see directly through it. They cut a hole in the top and viola! instant vase. Very cute. I love it!

For dinner last night we cooked some of the salmon I brought back from Alaska last year. My mom brought us Oberon from Michigan! Unfortunately, it is no longer sold in Illinois so it's a real treat. I'm drinking one right now.

Yesterday afternoon I went to the beach with Laura. I got a little burnt.... which I definitely should have been more careful of, but hopefully it will turn brown. It doesn't hurt as much as it did last night. Laura gave me this beautiful little bag on Wednesday that she made herself. She makes things out of recycled clothing and fabrics, and everything is very unique and quirky. I loved this one! The colors and shapes are so unexpected.
Here are the cats enjoying their little grass plant that I bought for them at the grocery store. They have free range of this plant, but not the catnip. The catnip has to remain a controlled substance or it would be gone in minutes.

This is Elvis's "bed". I can't remember where this box came from but he has claimed it for his own. He plays and sleeps in it, and gets jealous if Monkey goes near it. Apparently he's LEGAL and he belongs to the Illinois Record Keepers Inc.

Memorial Day Weekend 2007

Photos from Lynn's house - May 27, 2007
these are photos that I previously had posted on my website...
Steve and Vee playing with the remote control boat in the pond.

Vasilios Grady Nyktas

Aunt Mary & Uncle Steve
Vee with Aunt Cheryl
Lynn with her fabulous teapot collection
some pansies on Lynn's back deck
Uncle Jimmy
Sarah by the pond
the clematis is blooming
Zeke - Lynn's 10 mo. old kitten