Friday, June 27, 2008


How could this happen?

How is it possible that two people could purchase shelving parts and hardware in December and not put them up until June? Does it really take six months to decide exactly where to hang them?

Well for us it does.

In fact the tiny white shelves that you see to your left holding photos above my faux fire place were indeed purchased THREE YEARS AGO!!!! I bought them at Target when we first moved to Chicago for our old apartment on Wayne Ave. They were so cute and tiny, but I could never figure out WHERE to put them. They are like two floating pieces of crown molding who never had a home - until now! There were tons of photos and frames just sitting there on my mantel so I decided it was time.

The shelves you see below were specifically for the studio, to help Steve alleviate his working surfaces. These shelves take six months to install. It is a very long process. But let me tell you - it's worth the wait!

By the by, my tree has a flower! My tree has a flower! My tree has a flower! Last night when we came home I smelled something so lovely and lilac-y in my living room... and before I went to bed I realized it was the flower!!!! This flower has been there for a few weeks, but for some reason (possibly the intense tropical humidity) yesterday it bloomed even more little flowers along the raceme. I thought this plant was a Deiffenbachia??? But I don't know. I need to do some research. I acquired it from a friend who was moving... which is how I acquire most of my houseplants.

I took this photo of Elvis on Thursday night - all tuckered out and dirty from an adventure outside. See? Doesn't he look like a dirty old stray alley cat?

Well, I'm off to Michigan for the weekend to visit Devin and Grayson, and my cousins. Ta ta for now.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Pardon me!

I need to make a post and the only thing I want to talk about now is PUZZLE FARTER! What is Puzzle Farter, you may ask? It is an online 2D computer game that will surely make you laugh AND leave you with finger cramps. Try it!

Thanks, Laura!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

YouTube Faves

Since I missed my Blogiversary on April 16th, I'm celebrating today as my 100th post! This post is devoted to all FUN STUFF! In case I haven't already told you about these, it's important for you to know exactly what my favorite YouTube videos are. You'll need to hear the sound for all of these except "Kitten Surprise"

Two cats talking (meowing)

Two cats talking (translation)

Kitten Surprise! How to break up a cat fight

Totally un-cat-related..... The Christmas Tree (John Roberts is awesome!)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Elvis has left the building...

I took Elvis outside again this evening. There were some requests for an appearance from his posse of neighborhood kids and there were some other requests for pictures of Elvis in his paratrooper harness. Here he is! Since Steve is out for the evening, I thought we'd enjoy some outside time. Some of the kids are actually afraid of cats, but they were brave enough to pet him and he was very nice to them. What a good cat! He tried to chase a live squirrel and he also tried to sniff the dead squirrel that is in the corner of the yard.... I pulled him in the opposite direction... ick. In general he's pretty calm around the kids who are jumping and yelling and trying to touch him. I think he's a little nervous but on the other hand, I can tell he is just eating up all that attention.

I have another outrageous question to add to the list: "Does he poop?"

ha ha hahhahahahha

My response was: "um, yeah.... Everybody poops."

I guess that's why they titled the book Everyone Poops !!

After that I actually got about five kids to put on rubber gloves and help me pick up trash and litter in the yard. It was really fun. It's nice when they are willing to help. I met a new kid who lives down the street. Osa - he's from Nigeria. I told him that I used to live in Africa but I don't think he believed me. When we were finished I bought them ice cream sandwiches from 7-Eleven. So far I have not seen any girls playing in this group - just the main group of boys. David is the boy who lives next door to us. Yesterday was his 8th birthday and he received a pair of roller blades, which I saw him stumbling down the block on. He isn't the youngest of the group but it seems like most of the other kids pick on him all the time :( It was hard for me as an adult (who is not an authority figure) to discourage that type of behavior. But I hope some of the things I said will stick in their little brains... and maybe they'll think about it later.

My next project is to plant a few flowers out front to spruce up the yard. The lawn needs a lot of work though.

At the moment, Elvis is sleeping here on the desk as I type, while I sip my manhattan and listen to my Double Fantasy record...... aaahhhh.... I love summer evenings.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Baby Surprise Day

Today is Baby Surprise day. NO that doesn't mean I have news to tell you... it means it's the day of the week where some of us at work get together for a Baby Surprise Jacket Knit-Along!

I'm sure I have knit so many of these things it's unhealthy. This is the most recent one made for Danielle who is having a girl some time soon. When she opened the gift at her baby shower a few weeks ago, everyone liked it so much they decided they wanted to learn how to make one. And I think they will all be amazed when they find out how easy it is.

All you have to know for this pattern is how to knit, decrease, increase, pick up stitches, and sew up a seam. And you can definitely learn these skills as you go if you do not already. The seam can be kind of tricky because you are matching up a cast on edge with a selvage edge. BUT as long as you are consistent with each stitch it will look fine.

For the increasing parts of the pattern, I prefer what I've seen referred to as a "blind increase". When you want to increase, using your right needle, you grab the stitch just below the next stitch on your left needle. Put that stitch on the left needle and knit it. I like the way this looks on the opposite side of the fabric.... so I try to put my blind increases on the WS.

Here is another BSJ I recently made for a new baby.

And I'm preparing to make THREE matching BSJ's for several.... you-know-who-s :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Avon Walk 2008 Official Report

I'm a little late on this... but I wanted to thank EVERYONE who donated, came to our yard sale, our bluegrass concert, bought a martini from me at Mars Gallery, or even if you just texted words of encouragement - THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

Click on the picture at the left for more Nips Ahoy team pics.

This was a record breaking year for the Nips Ahoy! team, as every year should be. Together we raised $6333, and almost 1 G of that came from our fundraising events alone!!! We must have done something right.

During the actual walk, I took it a little easier than last time. I completed 30 of the 40 mile journey and I did not sleep in a tent at the wellness village. My bed, located only two blocks from camp, was all too tempting. But I was able to enjoy myself a lot more and with hardly any pain.

After the walk Steve, Mike, and Jack accompanied us to Dairy Star for some well deserved ice cream.

Here are the official stats for this year's Chicago Avon Walk:

- 4,000 walkers

-$9.1 million

Here is a list of the beneficiaries who received checks at closing ceremonies:
· Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern University received $1,050,000 for research and access to care: To support access to breast care for medically underserved populations at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and the Erie Family Health Center as well as research at the Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Research Laboratories focused on identifying markers for breast cancer prevention and treatment response, and characterizing molecular mechanisms of breast cancer growth, survival and metastasis.
· Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force received $1,000,000 to help reduce the black: white disparity in breast health and breast cancer outcomes in Chicago. The funds support the formation of the Task Force as a new, non-partisan entity, which will lead the effort of translating the thirty-seven recommendations issued in October 2007 by its working group into action items. The Task Force will collect and analyze data, manage the city-wide efforts, and evaluate quality control measures and outcomes. The Avon Foundation also supported the 2007 efforts that created this effort.
· The Sinai Health System received a grant of $1,000,000 to continue support of their patient navigation program and the purchase of new digital mammography equipment. In addition, funds will support the implantation of Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force recommendations and the analysis of progress towards reducing black: white disparity.
· The City of Chicago, Department of Public Health received a grant of $500,000 to provide new mammography equipment to five neighborhood health centers that serve uninsured and low income clients. This grant is part of a larger City of Chicago initiative, which will renovate and upgrade each facility to accommodate the new equipment.
· Mercy Foundation received a grant of $500,000 to support the patient navigation program at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center, enhance services with the addition of a state-of-the-art Breast Module Tracking System, and supports the purchase of a new digital mammography machine and ultrasound platform.
· Hektoen Institute for Medical Research received a grant of $400,000 for two initiatives: To continue a successful program that gives underserved populations access to breast cancer risk assessment, genetic counseling and testing, and access to clinical trials involving alternate methods of screening, chemoprevention and genetic testing. And also to support the more formal examination of prevention choices among minority high-risk women and the enrollment rates of this population into clinical trials.
· Rush-Copley Foundation received a grant of $150,000 to support the creation of a collaborative community based outreach and navigation program focused on the medically underserved Latina population in Aurora. Funds will support an increase in outreach and educational activities to reach more women with screening and diagnostic services and breast health literacy.
· Foundation for St. Francis Hospital received a grant of $150,000 to support upgrading existing x-ray mammogram technology with a CR cassette digital system, which will increase St. Francis Hospital’s capacity to perform biopsies while reducing wait times for results, allowing pathologists to provide immediate feedback during surgery and making images available immediately in the surgery suite.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Elvis on a Leash

Elvis has been enjoying frequent trips out to the front yard in his army green paratrooper-style harness. We are often bombarded with funny inquiries from the local neighborhood kids. He is skittish of them but allows them to pet him if they are gentle. He's actually pretty good around them. Here are some of our favorite kid-questions. Many of them are asked repeatedly even if I've already answered that particular one a few minutes before.

kid: How old is that cat?
sbe: He's about 2 years old.
kid: He looks like he's 3!

kid: Is that cat pregnant?
sbe: No, HE just has a fat belly.

Other inquiries include:

"Does he like to take a shower?"

"Can that cat come to my house and catch some mice?"

"Do cats fart?"

"Does he have fleas?"

"What inspired you to get a cat?"

"Does he listen to you?"

"Can I walk him?"

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Summer in the City

I am having the best weekend. After several squelching hot days Saturday was pleasantly mild and warm with less humidity and a nice breeze off the lake. We started the day off with a motorcycle ride to the Evanston Farmer's Market, which at first wasn't so great because the bike kept stalling. It is old (as old as me, in fact) and takes a looooooooooooooong time to warm up - over 30 minutes. It stalled out at practically every intersection making the first leg of the 8 mile round-trip quite nerve racking and potentially dangerous. So we pulled off the road for about 10 minutes while Steve just sat there and revved the engine. When we finally reached our destination we took about 10 minutes to spend our $11 on produce - broccoli, asparagus, and snow peas. I really wanted to buy some peonies but I knew they would be crushed in the back pack.... maybe next time. The ride home was much easier. The bike finally got warmed up enough to a point where we could relax and actually enjoy the ride.

For lunch I made broccoli salad!

I spent the remainder of the afternoon trolling around Rogers Park and Edgewater on my bicycle, visiting the bench-painting festival at Loyola Park (see photo above) and hanging out with Becky. I stopped at Steph's and we took Miss Ripley for a walk.

Steve and I ended the day with an art gathering under the stars at Vega Estates in Pilsen.

Today I reorganized the kitchen cupboards and got some laundry done. chores.

Also, Nancy's surgery went really well and her lymph nodes look clean! Everything seems to be going well and Erin and her family are very relieved.

Friday, June 13, 2008

the double M

Prayer Request: Erin's mom, Nancy, is having surgery today for her recurring breast cancer. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

An Avon Walk report is coming soon!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

In a Biker Gang

... actually just a biker two-some. This week is Bike-to-Work-Week in Chicago. I've been biking for a while and Steve decided he wanted to try it, too. So today was our first day. We had to go a little slow, and I imagine we will for a week or two until he gets used to it.

On a sad note, the beginning of the week was marked by a terrible event reminding us all to be extra cautious on the road - bikers AND drivers! A 22 year old biker was killed after being doored and then hit by another car. All of you should know that Steve and I are very safe. We wear helmets. We make eye contact with other people on the street. We signal. And we don't ride on heavy traffic streets. I don't ride on any street with a bus route, most of the time. Just side streets and bike paths. However, I know that some things are unavoidable.

DRIVERS: please look all around you for cyclists before you open your door (this goes for passenger doors too!), pull away from the curb, make a turn (Right OR Left), or before you start going at a four way stop.

Please watch this short video about awareness of cyclists on the road.

Monday, June 2, 2008


Nips Ahoy! team odometer = 94 miles

number of blisters = 7

amount of sunscreen slathered on = 8.5 oz

total funds raised = $6333

Making a difference for women across the nation = priceless