Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Trees

There was a bit of a discussion about what kind of tree to get this year. Last year's tree was nice and pretty when we bought it, but seemed to dry out too fast in our desert-like apartment. Every time I looked in the direction of the tree some needles would fall off of it. The cats were walking around with piles of needles on their backs from too many trips to the Christmas-Tree-Tea Oasis. By Christmas Eve we were looking at a stick with some ornaments on it.

I tried to do some research on what kind of conifer would do best in conditions similar to that of the Sahara with gray skies. I was also going for a specific shape. I really wanted a vintage style shrubby, scrubby, pear shaped tree. I found two helpful articles about what species are traditionally used for christmas trees: one on and another on wikipedia.

Abies fraseri seems to be the most popular. I also considered Pinus sylvestris.

Other species include:
Abies balsamea
Abies concolor
Pinus strobus
Picea glauca
Picea pungens
Juniperus virginiana
and trees of the Pseudotsuga genus.

After much consideration, I decided on a specimen of the name Ebai searseventia (common name: 1970's Sears tree from Ebay). I love it! It will not dry out or drop needles, and if I'm going to go fake I want it to look really fake and kitschy. So I got what I wanted. At first Steve was really reluctant. He said that my tree looked like a broomstick with pipe cleaners. But after we put all of the decorations and lights on, it all turned out okay. Plus, it cost less than a nice, real tree purchased in Chicago would. Also I'm not sure how GREEN the act of using a real tree is... I guess if you recycle it, it's okay... but it seems like a big waste of energy. I wonder if there are fake trees made out of sustainable materials. Anyhow, I feel good about reusing this tree that someone purchased a long time ago.

Monkey & Elvis seem to approve, though they aren't getting their annual dose of tree-tea.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Mysterious Drunk Texting

My mom likes to keep in touch with me via text messaging . It's a nice way for us to send little notes to each other whenever. For instance she will send me an "xoxo" every so often. Then other times, like New Years Eve, I will get the random "funky co medina".

Last night I was having some drinks with some friends and it was pretty late... about 11pm our time, which is midnight in Michigan, and my mom is not one who likes to stay up into the wee hours of the morning, especially on a work night. So I was surprised to receive an unsolicited text from her and this is how our conversation went:

Mom: ha ha ha ho ho ho!

Sarah: Lol r u drunk? (in fact *I* was the drunk one)

M: Are you? YOU'RE up late

S: No U are up late! And yes we're having drinks.

M: We were sleeping. the santa suit is cute. i'll look for it on your blog later. (now i'm really confused. i have no clue what "santa suit" she's referring to.)

S: what santa cute? (at this point i'm slurring my txt mssgs...)

A couple of minutes later I receive this picture text from an unknown number (see below). Turns out this was from my uncle's girlfriend and when my mom received it, half asleep, she thought it was Monkey dressed in a santa suit.

I mean, I can see how she could mistake this cat for Monkey... I guess... but if I ever tried to put any kind of suit on Monkey, I think would have to suffer the wrath of her claws. And boy do they hurt. Just ask Elvis.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sesame Street

As a youngster in the early 80's I was a big fan of Sesame Street (and I will admit that I watched it pretty much the entire decade because my sister was born in '87 and it was always on tv.) My family has several favorite cartoons that we STILL talk about. So I was happy to see that my friend Sally sent me a Sesame Street clip on youtube yesterday. I don't remember this one but it's very sweet, and I guess it reminded her of me - the greenhouse girl :)

Now here are some of my ALL TIME FAVES!!!! enjoy!

Plants Need Water, Man

Loaf of Bread

Ladybug's Picnic

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 pinball machine

Ten Turtles

No Cookies in the Library

I will admit, sometimes we DO have cookies in the library but we do not share them with patrons :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Monkey Update

Many of you are aware of what's been going on with Monkey lately. She has been having a upset stomach and has started licking off all of her fur on the back end. From the front she appears to be normal, but on the other side, it looks like she is not wearing pants. She used to have the softest, fluffiest butt in all the land, with these cute little brown speckles on her hips.... so sad to see her in this state.

We have seen the vet several times for this in the past 6 months. A couple of months ago when we went in for a visit, Steve had left the house before Monkey and I, and had accidentally taken the car key with him! And there was no way to get it back. So Monkey and I had to walk 2 miles to the vet's office. It was a lovely September day so the weather was not a problem - I was wondering how I was going to carry the hard, sturdy cat carrier all the way there.

At that point I was wishing I had one of these cat strollers. Even though I know it sounds CRAZY-cat-lady-like.... I still kind of want one.

Instead I had to put the carrier into one of those huge blue Ikea bags and try to peel part of it down so Monkey could see what was going on. I thought, "Oh well maybe this method of transportation will be easier on Monkey because she won't get motion sickness like she does in the car!" Boy was I wrong. She vomited twice and pooped once inside her cage before we made it there. I think it was just all the bouncing around from me walking... she probably felt like she was riding a camel! Maybe if i had the stroller it would be a smoother ride.

At that point Dr. Miller decided to try a hypoallergenic diet for Monkey. She and Elvis decided they liked the Venison, and we renamed their food "bambi cereal" (dry) and "bambi souffle" (wet). It was expen$$ive but we would do almost anything for Monkey. She is our princess. We were very strict with her diet and she did not receive treats or table scraps for two months.

Recently we visited Dr. Miller again for an assessment because there wasn't much improvement in Monkey's condition. This time Monkey made it all the way to just outside the clinic where we were looking for a parking spot before her bowels let loose. Then she vomited. But they are SOO nice there they cleaned out our carrier, threw out our towel (yet another old towel lost to a vet visit... soon we will be out of them!) and put a disposal pet pad in there. The Dr checked again for fleas and for any other evidence of a skin condition. And she decided that a food allergy wasn't causing all of these symptoms. Which means we can go back to our lamb cereal by Solid Gold (much cheaper!) and Monkey can have treats!!! She was so happy to have treats when we got home.

Our next strategy is to do some blood work to see if there are any underlying problems (like diabetes, etc) and we should get those results back on Thursday. If that comes back fine, then Monkey probably has some irritated, inflamed bowels and that may be why she is licking the fur off of that area of her body. So we will try some steriods to get that under control. And hopefully that will take care of it! I hope so because this has been going on for about 9 months... poor Monkey. :(

By the way I highly recommend our veterinary clinic Uptown Animal Hospital!!! They are located in Andersonville. Their office is very clean and inviting. The staff is so friendly and I truly feel that they care about the furry members of our family. Dr. Miller is the best :) Plus she is an Albion alumn.

And I'm still looking for a way to take the cats out in some sort of stroller. I'm thinking a double decker cart would be ideal but I haven't found one that will fit the cat carriers. Any idears???

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Thanksgiving with the Family

We spent this years Thanksgiving in Michigan at my mom's house. She likes to make this recipe for cranberry salad that my Granny (my dad's mom) always makes. You grind up cranberries, and few apples and oranges (one with the peel on) and then add a little sugar. Voila! However, there has been some controversy over how to process these ingredients. Granny always used a hand grinder and my mom prefers to use a Cuisinart. Granny says that the food processor chops everything too fine, and cuts open the seeds of the cranberries giving the salad a slightly bitter taste.

So we conducted an experiment! My mom found an old grinder in the basement and my sister and I made Granny's version while my mom made her version. We used exactly the same amounts of everything. It wasn't hard to tell which was which based on texture because the grinder version was much coarser. But we tried our hardest to do a blind taste test. The consensus seemed to be that the processor version WAS slightly more bitter but Mom said she still liked it the best anyway :)

I actually enjoyed using the hand grinder. It wasn't as laborious a chore as I had originally thought it would be.

I also made pumpkin pies from scratch. But I need to start foiling the edges of my crust so they don't get too brown. Lynn makes the best pie crust. She brought cranberry pie and apple pie. I need to get that recipe from her. I WILL make more pumpkin pies at christmas, even if it's just for Steve and I to enjoy. They really don't have much sugar in them. And I'm sure they are healthy for you. Especially since I don't use canned - no preservatives!! One little sugar pumpkin from Whole Foods was all it took. I think I may even skip the crust and just bake the filling in ramekins - lower carbs and less fat.

Steve and Lynn

On Friday we joined my dad and Cheryl at the UT Rockets game for some tailgating and cooking of wild animals. I ate something that was called "roadkill stew". It was sort of like chili with venison, moose, elk and the like. Very yummy. Also had my dad's famous duck wrapped in bacon. YUM! I'm not a huge football fan but there is something about sitting outside in the cold bleachers, snuggling under blankets, and drinking hot cocoa. Not to mention the marching bands! I LOVE marching bands!!!! And BGSU's band was fabulous.

Dad, me, Steve, & Cat at the football game

Afterward we used my sister's car (because we had taken the train to Michigan) to go visit my Granny and my Aunt Linette. My sister has a rickety old '97 Neon that I was afraid was just going to fall apart on the ride from the train station. You know that scene in Planes, Trains, & Automobiles when the car falls apart? This is what I'm imagining in my head. Lo and behold, the breaks were pretty much completely out at the time we decided to borrow the vehicle. So we were driving around 475 in Toledo with practically NO BREAKS. You push the pedal down and nothing happens.

Luckily my mom and Ed met us at Auntie's house and Ed knew exactly what was going on. So he drove the car back to my mom's for us and fixed it up the next day :) He's too nice. Hopefully the Neon won't just explode GTA style without warning, but I have my doubts.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Slinky Cat

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Last night we made the journey from Chicago to my mom's countryside home in rural Michigan. A frosty layer of snow has coated the grass and the porch and we are cozy inside. Mom and Ed are preparing the bird! And Steve's mom is on her way up. Soon they will meet.... it should go well. I'm so thankful to have a great future mother-in-law. My mom is really excited to meet her.

I brought some bridesmaid dresses for Catherine to try on and she liked one of them! But that will remain a secret to all except the parties involved.

And now for a video of a silly slinky cat who looks just like Elvis! Thanks to Little Grey Bungalow for bringing this to my attention. Elvis is also one who loves to slide around on his side and back... he's very creative.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Prayers for my Dad and his Best Friend, Dave

Hi Everyone. Some of you may already know this, but I just wanted to send out an email to all of you so you are informed and updated. *Scroll to the bottom of this entry for the latest updates.

On Wednesday my dad was involved in a hunting accident. Everyone is alive, but my dad's best friend Dave was badly injured. My dad's gun discharged while he was not touching it, hitting Dave in the thigh while they were duck hunting on a small lake in Michigan. It is hard to comprehend this accident happening to someone like my dad who has hunted his entire life and takes ALL precautions in hunting situations. My dad was able to call 911 and get him to the campground on the other side of the lake so the ambulance could take him to a helicopter, which then transported him to St Vincent's in Toledo. If you have any questions please contact me or my sister.

Please keep Dave and my dad (Bruce) in your thoughts and prayers. Let's hope that Dave can make a speedy recovery. Also, my dad is very upset and is having a hard time dealing with this, as you can imagine. Hunting is an important part of his life and I hope it will still be that way. Here is a photo I found of my dad and Catherine with their ducks and Rosie, their helper. I could not find a photo of Dave, but I will see if Catherine can find one at home.

*UPDATE 11-21-08 After another surgery it looks like they will have to amputate. There are many family and friends at the hospital spending time with Dave. I think everyone is just thankful that he is alive. Please keep the prayers coming.

*UPDATE 11-24-08 9:34am
Dave is going into surgery right now and they are going to take the leg. Not sure how long it will take.

*UPDATE 11-24-08 3:51pm
Dave's surgery went well this morning and the doctors didn't have to remove as much as they anticipated, which may allow him to have a prosthetic. Let's hope everything goes up from here.

*UPDATE 11-25-08 6:26pm
Our prayers and good thoughts are working! I spoke with my dad this evening and he said Dave is doing great. "Almost 100% better than yesterday", he said. The meds are making him feel a little ill so he hasn't been able to eat much yet, but he's started doing some physical activities.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Weekend Chat

Let's talk about weekends.

When I was a kid it seemed like weekends were a time for staying home and helping Mom and Dad do chores around the house or in the yard, but with an ample amount of time for watching tv, playing with Barbie (or whatever it was at the time), sleeping in late, and eating lots of home cooked food.

Well I don't know what has gotten into me now that I am adult, but it seems like there have been major things going on every weekend. For a while there, we were having a little too much active-exhausting-fun time and not enough down time. Our friends asked us to come over for dinner and we had to schedule for a whole month later!!! And Hotel de la Ellis Nyktas was in full swing (they have great rates), but is now closed for renovations.

In September we took two trips: one to Cincinnati for Labor Day weekend, and one to Kentucky for a wedding, however I took a detour to Michigan for one night. Two weeks later we had family visiting.

Two weeks after THAT George and Mary drove into Chicago for a conference and they let us use their Subaru (b/c ours is old) the next day to drive Steve's art work all the way to freakin' Baltimore. And then drove back to Chicago the following day. (See photo above) Boy was that an adventure. George and Mary stayed with us for two more days and a mere twelve hours later we were visiting with Bryce and Christy who needed a place to stay in between trips.

These November weekends have been reclaimed by the original concept of the weekend and are devoted to lazing around the apartment, as well as being productive at home, and hanging out with local pals. Such as Myles and Jennifer! Myles is the first baby I've seen wearing one of the sweaters I've made! We walked around and went to the park and then we all went out for Indian food.

Myles Conrad wearing the BSJ in Noro. AND a hat knitted by his mom, Jennifer!

When Steve flew back to Baltimore for his show opening I stayed here and got some major cleaning and knitting done. (p.s. i really need to talk about my knitting, but I haven't been able to because everything I'm working on right now is a SURPRISE!!!) I've had the chance to catch up on some shut-eye, which I desperately needed. I started recycling, woot woot! Got some wedding stuff organized. And yesterday I went shopping by myself for my bridesmaids dresses to see what I liked.... I just hope my girls like what I've picked out....

Additionally, we've clocked in a decent number of tv hours. We recently started watching Lost and Pushing Daisies, and are getting up to speed with Dexter. Oh and MAD MEN! That show is great. Steve is into 24 and Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles, but I just "watch" them because it's good knitting time for me. I love the knit sightings in Pushing Daisies... both in the cute sweaters that the lead female wears as well as the detective's act of knitting as a hobby. Love it!

I can't believe the holidays are creeping up so quickly.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Join the Impact

This blog is definitely a journal of sorts, and a way that I have been sharing my life with my friends and family who are hundreds of miles away from me. I have tried to keep this blog in neutral territory but there are certain issues that are important to me, so I feel they must be discussed, especially at this moment in time. Please keep reading...

Last week several states voted YES on a banning gay marriage - otherwise known as Prop 8 or Proposition Hate. I feel that this choice to eliminate the rights of many American citizens is a severe regression for our country. And it was a choice many people made based on fear and a lack of knowledge.

Now I was raised in the Catholic Church where we were taught that being gay was wrong and a pretty serious sin. I even had several friends in high school who were gay and lesbian, and even though I thought they were "wrong" I maintained close friendships with them. And let me tell you, Hudson, MI (population 2,500) is not as easy place to be openly homosexual. My feelings were not based on fear, I just believed everything the Catholic church had told me. But then my perception began to change and I saw this issue from a more logical point of view.

I don't care what the Bible says - it says A LOT of things that can be interpreted A LOT of different ways. Two people loving each other and making a commitment to each other cannot be wrong. Love is never wrong. Not one thing is hurt by this love. In fact it's quite the opposite. No one can explain exactly WHY they love someone. It's just something that you feel is natural. Every person should be able to experience that feeling. And build their lives around it. And nourish themselves and each other.

I am getting married next fall, and while I'm happy and excited for Steve and I to be make this commitment in front of our family and friends, and to be a legally married to one another (instead of playing house like we have been for the past 4 years) I'm heartbroken to think that other people are being denied the same right. I hope that some day soon, everyone will be free to love the way that they chose to be loved. And you can help our country and the world achieve this TOMORROW! There are many rallies going on around the US, just go here to find out how and where you can participate.

This man's story is just ONE reason why gay marriage should not be banned. Read here. (you'll need tissues for this one)

Here is another story of a straight man standing up for equal marriage rights that I was really touched by. (it's a podcast)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Gluten Free Pizza Crust

Camille came to visit me last night!! It's always nice when she breezes through town and makes time to visit with me.

I made pizza for dinner (no photos available) using a crust mix that I picked up at Whole Foods - 365 Gluten Free Pizza Crust. I know a lot of people are gluten free and Camille is one of them.

Okay so this mix includes a packet of yeast. And there are instructions on the back... you also have to use additional ingredients such as eggs, water, cider vinegar, olive oil, sugar and salt. Sounds like a lot... and maybe it would be cheaper in the future to buy the flour or whatever is in the mix and yeast separately and make it yourself.

Anyway, when I was following the directions it was really weird. It told me to beat the eggs and then add the mix gradually. Well there was a lot of the dry mix to only a little bit of eggs... so it ended up being really crumbly and pieces were flying out of the bowl when I was using the mixer. So I switched to a whisk and just tried to mix it as best I could. Then you add the other ingredients and after I added the water it was more like dough, but not exactly like dough. I was scared that it was not going to end up right. But it did! It was really good. I usually like thin crust pizza but this was really thick and spongey like bread and soooo yummy!!! Topped it with sauce, zucchini, yellow pepper, kalamata olives and mozzerella. MMMMMmmmm.....

Best served with a bottle of wine and conversation with an old friend. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

This Day

Lots of things going on today! First off, I went to the dentist for the first time in 4 years and my teeth feel amazing. Secondly, the weather is absolutely beautiful. It is pleasantly warm and the colorful leaves dangle from the tree limbs to fall on the ground and dance around in the breeze.

Next noteworthy item: it's my one year anniversary of starting my job at NU!!! woot woot! I love it. Many things have happened since I started working here. I am happily enjoying the financial freedom that comes with being paid a livable wage. I have paid vacation days. And best of all - affordable healthcare!!! Also, Steve and I were able to become engaged and start planning our wedding.

On top of all of these wonderful things, Barack Obama is our president elect. The American people have spoken and I have never been more proud of any other decision we have made than this one. I truly trust him with all my heart to lead this country into peace and prosperity. I feel that he is more like the average American than any other politician in Washington and I have faith that he will always be thoughtful in his decision making and honest with us as citizens of this amazing country. I am so hopeful today.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Why Cats Don't Like Election Day

These cats have seen rough times. The economy has hit them hard - in ways neither you nor I could ever imagine. Just look at their faces. They are ready for CHANGE. And they want it NOW.

However, they are yet to be impressed with Election Day. Because Election Day means Mom is too busy with baking cakes and voting to remember to give them their breakfast.

Mmmm.... cake....

Who wouldn't want to wake up in the morning and see this in their fridge???!! Looks like the cake fairy was here last night :)

Here's the recipe.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween memories

My bike ride home from work today was perfect. It is so comfortable and warm outside. The best weather for trick-or-treaters, of whom I saw many along my way through Evanston and Rogers Park. (Even a black lab dressed in a larva costume.) It reminded me of Halloweens past and I tried to remember everything I had been dressed up as throughout the years.

My mom always made it fun for us, but I do remember a couple of times when she made me wear my coat OVER my costume... thanks mom. I also remember when I refused to go to preschool because I was terrified of my 3 year old vampire classmate. I mean, wouldn't you be, too? I love the creativity and drama that goes along with Halloween, but I've always been too jumpy for any of that really scary stuff (i.e. Haunted Houses and the like, unless I'm participating in them, which we DID at Dean Hall!)

This flower costume is a memorable one that my mom made for me. Another time she constructed a fairy godmother outfit from a thrifted prom dress. She managed to add many layers to that get-up, so I wouldn't get cold. And then there was the time my sister and I were bunnies with my friend Lindsay. See? Bunnies, flowers, and fairy god mothers.... not much horror or blood involved.

One of the best costumes (that I hated at the time, but I love now) is when I was dressed as a skunk at the age of 3! The only way my mom could get me to wear it was to tell me that it was a black cat costume. She tried to pull the old Pepe Le Pew on me but I soon figured her out and realized that I was actually masquerading as a furry little stink bomb!

I think my favorite collegiate Halloween memory is the time Crystal and I were (sexy) Peter Pan and Tinkerbell. We were cute as buttons. College Halloween is just an excuse to wear skanky outfits, of course.

But since then Steve and I haven't really been into celebrating October 31st very much. Either we're too busy or it's on a work day.... Plus Steve has this thing where he doesn't want to plan for a costume, which means he's either pulling something together last minute and complaining about how it isn't very good, or we don't do it at all. However, I have been to the Halsted parade a couple of years ago and it was amazing. I highly recommend it if you are in Chicago. Another year, we ended up driving our friend in labor to the hospital so she could have her baby. In 2007 I stitched with my stitch-n-bitch bitches. And this year we are completely pooped out from many things happening over the past two weeks (art shows, guests, etc). But hey - I carved a pumpkin! All the appetite I could muster up for Halloween has been sated.

I'll leave you with our official Halloween photo from 2004, the last time we wore costumes. Now I'm going to light my Obamampkin and relax with some Bourbon.

p.s we were dead people with our dead cat (see Monkey?)

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Steve and I have been insanely busy over the past week with trips and visitors and going out, so tonight I decided I needed to have a little fun.

Bryce and Christy have been staying with us this week and being the best house guests ever, they bought us wine and bread to go with our crock-pot-pea-soup dinner AND a little chocolate cake. Afterall it IS halloween, which is a time for sweets, black cats, and pumpkins.

After dinner I threw on some John Denver vinyl and began carving away at my orange masterpiece, which took me several hours and I am very proud of!

Monkey helped, of course, by sniffing the pumpkin out and licking the bits that fell on the floor. She also critiqued my work as I went along.

It was fun to use printmaking tools again, to carve the relief part. And then TA DA!!! A little something I like to call Obamampkin!!! The best pumpkin for the job. Elvis approved from the windowsill.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Vote for Elvis!

I'm not talking about the election - I'm talking about!!!! Elvis is officially a Lolz cat but to make it more official if you give him more votes, there is a possibility he will make it to the home page.

So please click on this photo and vote for Elvis! 5 cheezburgers pleez!

funny pictures

Friday, October 24, 2008


okay so i'm twittering.... whooooaaaa!

155 Devon to Kedzie

Announcing my new blog! 155 Devon to Kedzie

When I moved to Chicago 3 years ago, I really fell in love with this part of the city. First I lived in Rogers Park near Loyola University and the lake. That was a really great location to be in. Then we moved inland a mile or so and ended up on Devon, a little pocket overlapping Rogers Park, West Rogers Park, Edgewater, and West Ridge. This area is so vibrant and full of activity, yet it is adjacent to a peaceful park where families and children gather for activities that also includes a golf course, ice skating rink, sledding hill, and many areas designed for specific sports. So many different kinds of restaurants and tiny shops to find. People will actually travel in from the suburbs for the food. I wouldn't trade this place for the world.

I really enjoy walking around and taking photographs of things. It's a very fun and creative activity. So I decided to start a photo diary. And that was the inspiration for my new blog. Check it out. My goal is to post a new photo every day. No text just photos.

155 Devon to Kedzie is the name of the bus route that travels along Devon Ave.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

GO SEE Kita y Fernanda!

Only 4 performances left, folks!!!

Thurs (tonight!) @ 7:30pm
Fri @ 7:30pm
Sat @ 5pm & 8pm

16th St Theater in the Berwyn Cultural Center

Kita y Fernanda will blow you away with excellent performances by four talented female actors and content from playwright Tanya Saracho that touches on such complex subjects as race, language barriers, immigration, and socio-economic status. You will weep and laugh many times all within a matter of 90 minutes, as you watch the performance in an intimate 49 seat theatre. The play is in English and Spanish and follows the lives of two young Mexican girls living in the United States - one a legal immigrant and one undocumented. If you do not understand Spanish it is just as powerful (if not more-so) so don't let that stop you.


Best of all, my very good friend Stephanie Diaz performs in this ensemble. She was recently interviewed for Chicago Magazine as one of the city's hottest actors! Also here is a little sound bite from her interview.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Butternut Soup

It's that squash time of year again. And this weekend I made a butt load of butternut soup. Yum! Maybe this is weird, but the first time I had butternut soup was in South Africa. It's a very popular dish there.

This is one of my favorite things to eat but it is A LOT of work to make. Mostly because the squash is so hard to chop up. Then there is the peeling that is involved. And I'm such a kitchen nazi that when peels or seeds fall onto my freshly mopped floor I freak out. So I'm very careful as I'm doing this, and it's possible that it takes me longer than the average person.

My recipe involves LOTS of butternut squash peeled and chopped into cubes (for this batch I used one large and one small), chopped white onion, minced garlic, and some peeled and cut up Michigan apples (not sure what kind, ha ha). I sautee the onion and garlic in a bit of olive oil. Add the apple, salt n pepper, cayenne, and some white wine. Then put in the squash and let it simmer with the wine and spice for a few mins. Add enough water to cover and bring that to a boil, letting it simmer for 20 minutes or so. Let it cool for a bit. Then BLEND!

Martha Stewart recommends blending with the top of the lid off, using a towel to cover the hole and let out steam as you blend. You may need to add additional salt n pepper to taste. It's also really yummy if you can top it with sour cream and chives, parsley, or cilantro. OR you could make some spicy croutons to top it off. MMmmmmm! It will warm your heart and soul. And it's vegetarian freindly, too.

I've also seen recipes that use ginger, orange juice, and/or cream, or chicken stock. It just depends on how you like it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

October 26th panties

A couple of days ago I received a package in the mail. It was from my mom and inside the box were these.

You're thinking, what the -

October 26th is not my birthday, or my wedding date, or any kind of significant date at all. (If you are reading this and you don't know when my birthday is here is a hint: I share it with Quentin Tarantino, Jennifer Grey, and Sarah Vaughan.)

Okay so there is a story behind this, I promise.

When my sister, Catherine, was in kindergarten she had a set of panties that had each day of the week printed on them. And she wore the appropriate pair for each day. Every night she would set out her clothes for the next morning, and ask my mother, "What day is tomorrow?" One night my mother was out with some friends and my father was responsible for getting us ready for bed. He was sitting in the living room watching television, when Catherine came up to him asking, "Dad, what day is tomorrow?" "Well, it's October 26th," he replied, not thinking about why she would want to know. She happily skipped off to her room to prepare for October 26th. About 15 minutes later, my father walked past my sister's bedroom door to find her sitting on her floor, crying. "What's the matter, honey?" he inquired. "I don't have October 26th panties," she sobbed.

So that is how the October 26th panties joke came to be.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Playing Tag

I've been tagged by robertianish with the following rules:

1. Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.

2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog - some random, some weird.

3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blog.

4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

5. If you don’t have 7 blog friends, or if someone else already took dibs, then tag some unsuspecting strangers.


1. My favorite snack of all time is graham crackers with peanut butter in between dipped in milk. I think I love peanut butter even more than chocolate! I keep a jar of it at work and I literally have to replace it about every 2 weeks.

2. I'm getting married in 343 days!

3. Knitting is my number one obsession and I take my yarn and needles with me everywhere.

4. I have to have white noise when I sleep.

5. I am deathly afraid of spiders, ghosts, and getting shocked by metal doorknobs in winter time.

6. I love television shows about true murder stories. like 48 hours mystery :)

7. My biggest pet peeves are jetskis and snowmobiles. I just hate the idea that someone would frivolously waste all of that energy and pollute the water (or snow) for a thrill! Anytime I think of a jetski or a snowmobile I picture a jerk riding it. ha ha LOL

Now, 7 Bloggers Tagged:

1. josh & annie

2. Borderline Barbie Barb, i think you tagged me a long time ago and I never did it!

3. Layers Deep

4. the barbeque

5. Military Meanderings

6. The Wilson's World

7. The Aussome 7

Friday, October 17, 2008


I found a backpack on my dining room floor this morning. Just your average, everyday backpack... maybe about 15 lbs heavier than normal. Does this belong to anyone?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Nyktas's in Chicago

This past weekend we hosted Steve's brother and family in Chicago. The weather was absolutely perfect and unseasonably warm for October. But that was fine with me. It made toting the kids around a little bit easier for all of us.

We took them to Candlelite (my favorite pizza place), cooked bacon for breakfast, and went to the Garfield Park Conservatory. A large volume of peanut butter chocolate ice cream was consumed. I wish I could have treats like this on hand all of the time, but that would be dangerous, so I have to purchase them for special occasions only.

Vee had a great time taking a trip on the CTA train and there were plenty of cool things for the kids at the Conservatory. Best of all - it's free!!

Isaias and Vee beneath a canopy of flowers

We also witnessed (and documented) Zay's first time sitting up all by himself!

This was the first time they came to visit us in our home, and was the first time we've ever had children staying with us. It's really nice to be able to spend more time with the kids so that they will remember us the next time we visit them, and they will remember all of the nice things we did together. I also know that Steve cherishes the time he gets to spend with his brothers, plus I got to know my future sister-in-law more. On Saturday night Clara and I left the kids at home and went to see the new musical Dirty Dancing. We had a fabulous time.

The next day after everything was said and done, breakfast made, and guests out the door, Steve and I had some time to relax before starting the work week. We love our nephews but we definitely aren't used to having that level of patience or energy. Obviously we aren't ready for kids of our own yet.... someday....

However, I'm wondering if Clara was trying to curse me by leaving the baby bottle brush at our house. Don't worry. I've found that it makes a really good tool for cleaning the cat boxes! You can really scrub in the corners. :) just kidding.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

'Tis Wonderfully Autumn

This morning's bike ride to work was wonderful. It's the perfect autumn day. I love riding through the crisp, dew-filled air in the park with sun peeking from behind the green and yellow leaves on trees. It's like taking a bite out of a perfectly, firm apple in season. People were walking their dogs with their travel mugs of coffee. Moms were escorting their children to school. Others were out for their morning jog. I'm definitely a morning person.

In a few minutes, I'm going to knit outside and eat my lunch.

And soon, Tim and Clara and the boys will arrive for a fun-adventure-filled weekend. We are so excited but I'll admit I'm a bit nervous. We've never had children stay in our apartment before. NOTHING is baby or kid proof. Especially the cats. Monkey is terrified of miniature humans. Elvis is used to hanging out with his neighborhood kids, but even then I could tell he was getting annoyed from all of the attention. So we'll see how they do. I'm sure it won't be as hard for Monkey as the weekend that two dogs came to visit. I know that the humans will have a great time especially because on Saturday night Clara and I are going to see Dirty Dancing!!!!

*P.S. the aforementioned guests are a good excuse to purchase (and consume) chocolate milk, ice cream, and bacon :)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Last Weekend vs This Weekend

I haven't blogged about last weekend or anything that happened this weekend yet, so here goes. Just a little example of how sleep deprived people post blog entries.

September 26 - 28
1. rental car
2. drove 207 miles
3. Dean Hall's 80th Anniversary dinner (Albion, MI)

4. drove 105 miles
5. spent the night at Granny's (Toledo, OH)
6. drove 285 miles
7. Zach and Jennifer's wedding (Lexington, KY)

8. the last hint of summer weather
9. time to catch up with old friends

10. fancy hors d'oeuvres
11. an excuse to wear fancy clothes

12. a live jazz trio
13. bourbon on ice
14. traveled 367 miles all the way home
15. asleep in my own bed at 8:30pm on Sunday (1,000 miles in one weekend can really wear you out)

October 3 - 5
1. television and couch potatoes
2. kitty snuggling
3. Yarn Con
4. crisp autumn afternoons
5. cleaning house
6. cat-sitting
7. laundry
8. Lacey Miller

9. large bowls of irish coffee
10. macaroni and cheese
11. knitting
12. more couch potato sessions

So why am I sleep deprived after this leisurely weekend? Because of #9! I had too much coffee yesterday and couldn't sleep!!!!!!!!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Weekend Knits

I know it's been a long time since I've blogged about my knitting, but I've made concrete plans to do several knit-related things this weekend.

Tomorrow is Yarn Con! I didn't go last year. And actually I've been on a pretty strict low-fiber diet lately. My stash is so big that it's over growing it's allotted cabinet space. I'm planning on taking notes for projects that are coming up and ONLY buying yarn for those projects.

I also want to get there early so that way I might be able to snag one of Franklin's Guys with Yarn calendars!

I'm trying to drag Steve there with me, but I may end up going alone, which is fine. I feel like I can accomplish more on my own anyway. And after Yarn Con we may end up going for a motorcycle ride :) (It could be our last one, as we've pretty much decided we need to sell the motorcycle.)

On Sunday I will be picking up LL Miller from the airport! And we will knit all afternoon in my apartment. She will be passing through on her way to a conference. It should be rainy that day, which will help us get into mood. Some of the things I'm working on right now are secrets, so I cannot talk about them here. I didn't realize that people are actually reading this blog and I have spoiled a few presents in the past.

And now, for your enjoyment, here is a little ditty performed by Kay and Ann of Mason Dixon Knitting entitled Pardon Me (I Didn't Knit That For You). Thanks, LLM, for bringing this to my attention.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Let the countdown begin

Today is our negative 1 year wedding anniversary!!! :)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hot and Cold

I'm blogging from the couch today with a hot toddy. I've been fighting this cold since last week. It seemed to trick me into thinking it was going away and then SIKE! or PSYCH! however you want to spell it. The first sign of students on campus and I'm already catching their diseases. But from what I hear, there's some sort of plague going around.

On Saturday I tried to enjoy my day with minimal stuffiness and headache. My mom was in town so we met her for breakfast in Oak Park. And then took her to see the conservatory where our wedding will be next year around this time. We also wanted to see what the weather could potentially be like and what the garden would look like this time of the year. It was so beautiful and natural with sort of an overgrown feeling, but not in a bad way at all. I loved it! And the indoor part of the venue was equally as lush and green. We also talked about some logistics of the event. I hope it's just like this next year on September 26th!

the Monet Garden

me and my mom

After that it was home for the normal weekend chores.

In the evening we tried a new restaurant on Devon with Julie and Rusty. Uru Swati, between Rockwell and Talman. It was really good. We had TONS of food, all vegetarian and it was only about $16 per person including tax and tip. The inside is really cute, with a handpainted city-scape lining the room. The samosas were delicious and so were the Malai Kofka??? I think that's what it's called. Some kind of dumplings. YUM! We were totally stuffed and had to roll ourselves home.

On Sunday I accompanied Steve to the Puma store, and the MCA, but soon fell ill due to over-exertion, most likely. It's too hard to stay home and rest with such beautiful weather outside.

Colds are JERKS! Time for naps.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

White Peach

Have you ever eaten a white peach?

I recently went to Whole Foods and grabbed a handful of peaches not realizing what kind they were. My new breakfast routine involves a smoothie before my bike ride to work, with fruit, plain non-fat yogurt, a splash of milk, and sometimes a tiny splash of vanilla. REAL vanilla. When I get to work I eat a hardboiled egg and a sprouted grain english muffin with natural peanut butter.

Anyway, I grabbed one of the peaches and cut it open, suprised to see the pale inner flesh of the fruit. I thought, "what is wrong with this peach?" so I looked at the label and realized that it was not your typical peach, and continued making my smoothie. IT WAS SO GOOD! These peaches are so sweet and the flavor is so smooth it should be called the Peaches-n-Cream-peach. Try it!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Labor Day Weekend 2008

Yes it's fall and yes we celebrated Labor Day with a visit to the old Nyktas family.

In the grand scheme of things the Labor Day Weekend trip to Ohio seemed like an afterthought at first. I couldn't finish blogging about our trip to New Mexico before we went on another. But it turned out to be one of the best weekends we've had in a long time. And it made me really wish that we could be close enough to our families to see them more often.

We started to weekend off with Steve's 10 year High School Reunion on Saturday evening after the long drive down. George let us take the Z3 to the event..... I don't know why, he just likes it when we use his nice things. The though of attending your partner's high school reunion may sound frightening to some of you but I actually had a good time for the most part. Only a few boring parts. But I had already met three of his friends from that time in his life and I know them pretty well at this point. So it wasn't too bad.

The following day we had a gathering at George's house with all of the family members we never get to see. And some new ones we hadn't met before - Isaias and Emma. We also spent some time in Covington with Lynn, drinking pisco sours, the national beverage of Peru (just for fun.)

On Labor Day we decided that the drive up to Columbus was worth it to be able to see the triplets, so we did! Here you see Steve holding Eric and Drew. We sort of ended up crashing a friend of a friend of his brother's Labor Day party, but they didn't seem to mind. Plus they had a pool!!! So I was able to enjoy my second and last time swimming for the entire summer.

I know that Fall "officially" starts at the equinox on September 25th, so I guess technically summer should still be winding down. We've had great weather this week (after the weekend monsoon). But I'm already starting to think about christmas knitting projects..... hhhhmmm....

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Class Chameleon

There's been lots of buzzing about this website called So I decided to try it out and boy is it funny!..... so funny that I took the liberty of plugging in Steve's face as well. I've always wanted to experience living in other decades, so i guess this is as good as it gets. Also - more proof that you can't believe something just because someone shows you a photo of it.

Sarah circa 1952 (looks like my father disguised as a woman)
and Steve circa 1950 - such a dapper young fellow

Sarah circa 1954 and Steve circa 1956
I thought this was high school... why do I look like an old lady?

Sarah & Steve in 1960 - don't we look smart?

Sarah from 62' & Steve from '64. This is when we were clean, conservative folks.

another mannish look from Sarah in '68

whoa! is that Steve from 1970 or is that George Nyktas!

I guess hair started getting out of control in the 70's. The funny thing is, this is EXACTLY what I looked like in 1998. I guess I was a 70's-chick-wannabe

um... yeah 1982

How androgynous of you, Steve, in 1984.

mid 80's

and last but certainly not least 1990.

There is more, but I don't think I should show you.