Friday, October 31, 2008


So I voted yesterday. The way I remember voting is climbing the stairs to the large meeting room in the West Dundee City Hall, greeting our old neighbor Mrs. Arnoni and showing her my id, getting the long sheet of manila, sliding it in the heavy plastic cartridge, and poking out my choices with the stylus. I clearly remember the tactile satisfaction of punching holes . And, if that all wasn’t treat enough, I’d get a sticker afterwards to put on my coat.

Yesterday I went to the early voting site, a large public library, which already had not one, but two long lines of people waiting to vote. I didn’t recognize anyone. I took my chances on the line to the left. A cranky volunteer shoved a blue sheet of paper on the state constitutional convention into my hand. A how-to-vote video played in a droning loop at the front of the line. Most people, even those who appeared to have come together, stood silently with grave expressions on their faces. For a moment the tension seemed to relax as two women behind me began to chat about early voting. But then I heard one snap at the other, “I don’t talk about how I’m going to vote, I just don’t” and they fell back into silence.

The line moved slowly, it occurred to me to wonder if the polling volunteers had been recruited from our local DMV, and then it was my turn to vote. Whoever designed the new machines was probably enamored of their iPod at the time. Its main mode of operation is a big fat click wheel. You use the wheel to go back and forth, up and down. To select you just click the Enter button nestled against the right side of the wheel. Spin and click, spin and click. I have to admit, as far as tactile satisfaction goes, the click wheel wasn’t bad. Still, at the end of a contentious election season I would have preferred a long, metal stick and a ballot to rip holes in.

A little flag graphic flashed to show me that they were done with me and I wandered out of the booth wondering if I ought to say good bye or thank anyone. It wasn't until I got half way down the stairs that I realized I hadn’t gotten a sticker for my jacket.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Doctor Who

I've already posted this on my Facebook but it's good enough to double post! This video is by Seduff. Doctor Who will be back for its annual Christmas special this December.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Time Capsule

An old house that hasn't been updated is like a time capsule. I'm not sure how long these relics will hold out, but I'm enjoying them while they do.

Taking Stock

One thing about crisp fall days is that they make a hot cup of coffee seem an almost sacred thing! Another thing about fall days - they fill me with nostalgia. As the leaves change and fall, and as I get toward the back of the calendar that hangs on the kitchen wall, I find myself taking stock of all that has happened since this time last year.

It was last November, when the trees were already mostly naked, that Ross and I traveled up to South Haven. We walked by the water and visited the shops and ate really expensive Italian food for dinner. Then, at the end of a long, sweet day, he proposed. I seem to remember rose petals and champagne, but what stands out is seeing that beautiful ring for the first time. We set the date for four months away, with little idea of how many distractions life would throw our way.

In December I was in a car accident and wrecked my faithful old Neon. In January my Fibromyalgia was bad enough that I decided to leave Verizon for good. In February we went through all the madness that comes with buying a house. Mercifully, in March we were married at last. It was probably the most exhausting four months of my life. But what a finish line! Nothing I have ever experienced compares to the grinning-like-an-idiot, bursting-at-the-seams happiness of my wedding day.

Since then I’ve been living the “married life.” When you are a newlywed people constantly ask you “how’s married life?” Do people really want to hear about the bliss of falling asleep with his stomach against my back, or how his gentleness nurses my soul when I’m feeling sad, or that sharing a bathroom is like a running joke with no words, and how every touch from his hand makes me a little stronger? Since it seems rude to draw attention to such lavish good fortune, I usually just say “fine.”

But even with a love, a home, and a future better than I could ever have deserved, this year hasn't always been easy.

In my experience, there is nothing worse than lying in a bloody hospital bed and realizing that the intense pains you are feeling are actually labor contractions, and that there is no possible happy ending. That when the physical pain is over you will not be taking your baby home. That the child you have dreamed about and worried over will be gone. You will never get to hold her, or kiss her, or tell her how sorry you are that you couldn’t protect her from this awful, unfair ending.

The next week we were nestled in a cabin in the mountains of North Carolina, sleeping and eating and walking off the shock of what had happened. We were surrounded by the beauty of creation and the loving tenderness of family. Everywhere I looked I saw the promise that God is good, God is faithful.

By the end of that month I was pregnant again, unintentionally and with a great deal of apprehension. I had nightmares and was plagued by pregnancy tests that got fainter instead of stronger as the days went by. The lining was insufficient and the baby didn’t stick and I found myself having my second miscarriage in as many months. There wasn’t the same violence and gory fanfare of the first miscarriage, and I felt guilty for feeling grateful that it happened early and that it wasn't as painful.

And that brings me to October. We just returned from a trip to Wilmington where we slept in a beautiful sleigh bed, tapped our toes to live blue grass, snapped goofy pictures in a grand old mansion, and witnessed the joyful union of Kendell Cangelosi and Brian Stange. As the leaves fall and I sip my coffee, the spirit whispers, "God is good, God is faithful."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

What's Up.

Hi Everybody! Hope everyone had a good weekend!

We got our weekend off to a good start on Friday night when we drove to Elgin for Dad's birthday party. His birthday was actually a couple of weeks ago, but Noah and Lauren were in town to do a little camping, so it was a good time to get everyone together. The apartment was packed with family and noise. Mom's cat, Powder, circled continuously, greeting and re-greeting us all.

Here Ross and I are with our squirmy nephews, Owen, Joseph and Malachy. Ross and Malachy played together most of the evening. Ross amazes me with his ability to enter into Mally's make believe world and stay there for hours. I get exhausted just watching them together.
Saturday morning I went out to get the mail and discovered the scattered remains of a daffodil bulb. Or two or three, it was hard to tell. There are bunnies all over our neighborhood, but they aren't hungry looking like city bunnies. They look like so fat and contented that I hadn't expected them to go after my poor, helpless garden flowers!

And, of course, the next morning they had dug up more bulbs. So, for the first time in my life, I'm at enmity with bunnies. This morning I planted four replacement bulbs a little deeper in the ground. We'll see what happens!

Also this weekend, we finally got around to mixing up some smoothies. Ross is braver so he went first and let me sample his. Not too sweet and slightly gritty, but good and really refreshing. Now I've started making my own and I'm loving them.

Next weekend Ross and I travel to North Carolina for his sister's wedding. In preparation Sunday we went to Borics and got Ross a quick hair cut and then we went to the mall to look for a dress in my new size for me to wear.

I've never gone dress shopping with my husband before and it was distracting, but fun. Distracting because I wasn't sure if he'd become impatient with it all, which he didn't, and fun because I got a glimpse of what these things look like through his eyes. I learned that he is not a fan of flower prints, and he is a fan of high heeled boots.

I ended up with a gray knit dress and wine colored pumps (which I am probably going to return because I don't feel like staggering around his sister's wedding, making an idiot of myself in shoes I don't know how to walk in.)

All in all, it was a nice and relaxing weekend - and I'm glad because next weekend is probably going to be a little on the crazy side!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Tory (aka Garage Kitty)

All most visitors have seen of our fourth cat, Tory, is a fuzzy blur scrambling for cover. Here's what she looks like when she's not zipping around, pin ball style.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


Last week Mama bought me some flower bulbs at Costco. My yard has a few flowers here and there, left over from the previous owners, but needs a lot of help. So this morning, when I saw what a pretty day it was going to be, I decided today was the day to start planting those bulbs.

After raking three bags full of leaves off the lawn I got to work digging in the dirt. We have a raised planting area right in front of the house that has nothing but a Juniper, some prickly ground cover, and a whole lot of weeds, so it was the obvious place to start.

I pulled weeds and then dug a 7 foot trench along the front of the house. I planted the tulips there because they are supposed to get 12-16 inches tall. Next, I dug a semi circular trench along the front of the planter area and planted the daffodils there, because they are shorter. Finally, I retrieved my poor old lilac bush, which I bought at Jewel months ago and has been wasting away in the pot, and planted it in the middle ('tada' it announces, in its sad little voice.)

I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing, so I'm hoping that when my little tulips and my little daffodils start popping their heads up next spring it will look pretty, and not random and weird.

I have a handful of bulbs left over, so I think I will plant some more tulips around the lilac bush and then plant the rest of the daffodils along the driveway.

Next on the list - prune those bushes!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Boats, WIP

I'm working on a painting and (((gasp))) it's not of a cat! ;P It's based on a picture Ross took at Kanuga. I'm doing this painting in oils on a 16"x20" canvas.

I began by doing a rough sketch in charcoal directly onto the canvas. I have learned the hard way not to use graphite because it will keep floating to the surface of the paint and then you have these ugly gray lines through your painting.

I apologize the color is so off in these pictures. This canvas is actually the normal white color ;P
After finishing the drawing I attempted to mix a gray color using alizarion crimson, cobalt blue, and white. According to an oil painting book I own this is supposed to make gray. I should have known better! Oh well, it will be a sunny day picture instead of a gloomy day picture :) Next I began blocking in the boats and the dock using white, naples yellow, ultramarine blue and raw umber. I also began painting the shadows of the boats on the water using raw umber and ultramarine blue.
Next I began correcting some of the drawing mistakes with the shape of the boat on the far left and the shadows.

I can already tell that this painting is going to take awhile to finish but it's fun doing something different and it's a good learning experience. If it doesn't turn out well I'm definitely going to try again because there are already some things I would like to do differently.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Worth a Listen

I've been hearing news coverage of the economic crisis for days and days now and it wasn't until I heard this episode of Chicago Public Radio's This American Life that it has started to make some sense. If you are looking for an explanation that is relatively easy to follow, and not at all boring, "Another Frightening Show About the Economy" is worth checking out. Just click on the link above.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Watching the Debate

Sugar and I watched the debate tonight. We admired Palin's shoes and marveled at her generous and creative use of the word "also." The best take away of the event? The mental picture of Biden chilling at Home Depot with the friendly folks in the orange vests. We give the debate two thumbs up (yes, Sugar has a thumb.)

Care Package

We got a care package today! Ross's dad has been telling us about the benefits of smoothies and he has sent us some supplies so we can start making our own. I had to laugh as I unpacked the box because I've never noticed "Hemp Smoothie" on the menu at Jamba Juice, but apparently hemp is the way to go! He sent us two bags of hemp seed and two canisters of hemp powder. There is also a big bag of walnuts (yummy!) and two canisters of something mysterious called "Green Super Food." He also sent us some lavender bath stuff and I can't wait to try that out!

So this weekend we'll go get some yogurt and fruit, throw some of this stuff in the blender, and make ourselves some smoothies!