Thank Goodness For Radiators

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Awesome Rainy Day Outing

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I must remember the American Science and Surplus store next time I need to entertain my young charge on a rainy day. This place was chock-full of strange and interesting stuff and we easily killed 90 minutes roaming from aisle to aisle.

This bizarre Rockets ornament is a prime example of the surplus to be found.

Holiday Time in the City

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December is off to a great start: I scored an excellent Christmas tree on the cheap, enjoyed tea with friends at the Drake and then swam upstream against the tide on Michigan Avenue for the only Christmas shopping I care to do, cheese from Pastoral. Best of all, I caught a winning performance from my favorite street performer, the Puppet Bike, and got to the el platform just as the holiday train came rolling in!

There’s a Jellyfish In My Bed

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My five-year-old charge was at my house today and she wanted to check on the jellyfish (stuffed animal) she gave me a few months ago. When I showed her where it was, hanging from my bedpost, she said nope, not acceptable–I have to sleep with it. So she placed it on my pillow, where it was waiting for me tonight when I got into bed. She also wanted to write me a note so I wouldn’t forget, but I convinced her that was unnecessary.

Time Consuming

Hedgehog mittens

Recently I’ve gotten back in to knitting and after making a number of baby blankets I decided it was time to break out of my knitting rut and try something new. I discovered the Morehouse Farm knitting yarn website and flipped for the cuteness of their “critter kits.” It took all my restraint not to buy one of everything.

I decided to start with two kits and see how it went. My first project was the hedgehog mittens, which I stupidly thought would be a quick project to knock off over the holidays, in time for JD’s fifth birthday. Did I not notice the cute little quills and wonder how they were made? The pattern is relatively simple but each quill is the equivalent of nine stitches in one. Can you say time-consuming-pain-in-the-***?

Added to that, is the fun of knitting with tiny double-pointed needles (my least favorite type of needle to use.) You also have to really pay attention to the pattern. I kept screwing up, so there was a fair amount of ripping and swearing involved, mostly because of the tight little stitches involved. But it was a good learning experience and I was very happy with the end result. Not bad for my first pair of mittens.

In comparison, this dinosaur hat was a breeze and took no time at all. In fact, it seemed to take longer to sew the points on.

Dinosaur capIt was a huge hit with the four-year-old recipient and I think she’s been wearing it non-stop since I gave it to her a week ago.

Next up, a scarf for myself.

Dragon in the House

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Wednesday, 31 August

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In about 3.5 seconds, JD transformed a ten-foot-long piece of brown paper packing material into a Chinese dragon, holding it over herself while she danced around, imitating the dragon dancers she sees every year at the Tet Festival. We decorated it and she had fun with it all afternoon.

Here she is wearing the “shiny pants that dragons wear.”

Fireworks Bound

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Sunday, 3 July

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For reasons I've never quite understood, many communities in the Chicago area have their Fourth of July fireworks displays on the third. The city of Chicago used to as well, but this year they were cancelled as a cost-saving measure. That greatly reduced the crowds down at Montrose Harbor and the lakefront.

We motored the boat north up the lake shore and anchored directly off of the Bahai Temple to watch Wilmette's fireworks display. After a potluck dinner on board, we were treated to a beautiful pre-show sunset that filled the sky with a bright pink light. By 9:30, the lake was filled with anchored boats.

We were so close to the fireworks that on more than one occasion, everything was brightly illuminated around us by the explosions over head, which sounded like cannon fire echoing off the buildings on the shore. Spectacular. As usual, as the last ember from the final firework died out, air horns blasted from all the boats on the lake as they "applauded" the show.

Balancing Act

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Wednesday, 11 May

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Lately, JD likes to stand on my feet while I walk around. Any method of propelling herself from point A to point B without actually walking is seen as great fun. Sometimes she manages to balance on one of my feet and I make a circuit of the room, a la The Wrong Trousers (of Wallace and Gromit fame–a recent favorite.)