Thursday, February 4, 2016


We lost our sweet dog Oscar yesterday, and I can still hardly believe it.  He had had some medical issues over the last several months, but I thought everything was under control, and he would have a full recovery.

With Gerrit the day we brought Oscar home in July of 2009: a timid, chubby 5 year old with a short haircut
who wouldn't leave Gerrit's side.

But - blood clots formed and impacted his spine and brain.  The prospects were very grim for his recovery - and if he recovered, he would likely not walk, and the amount of neurological damage was unknown.  Would it be kind to put him through all that?

The people at the vet clinic were so kind and compassionate. I could spend as much time as I needed with him, lying next to him on a blanket on the floor. He was well medicated for pain, but still knew me and made his usual murmuring noises with each breath as he always did when I stroked his face and tummy and told him stories about his time with us.

I'm consoled that he didn't suffer for very long, and that he is reunited with Gerrit.  Gerrit is the reason for Oscar (and his predecessor Quincy) coming to live with us, and I'm so thankful for all the joy and laughter Oscar brought into our lives.  He was good medicine for us all, especially Gerrit, who loved dogs, all dogs.

Oscar was very timid when he first came to live with us but soon gained confidence (and lost pounds) and would bark at anything loud: passing school buses, motorcycles, thunder, fireworks.  He was afraid of stairs - two years of me trying to teach him to use stairs resulted in my finally giving up. If I wanted him to sleep upstairs with us, I'd have to carry him, which I gladly did.

Farewell, sweet Oscar.

Monday, January 4, 2016

The big leagues

My work schedule has expanded from 3 days a week to 4,
which is the tipping point for making it worth buying 
a monthly train pass.

My first monthly pass!

I feel so grown up.

Saturday, January 2, 2016


A video posted by MASTERPIECE PBS (@masterpieceonpbs) on


At last, some sun.

Turning Oscar's and an anonymous rabbit's footprints
into art.

Melting just enough snow from the roof
to ornament the winterberry shrub
with icy glitter.

Gilding Oscar's sweet face.

Not pictured:
3 undergarments hanging on the clothesline
after being (unsuccessfully) whitened
 with a very (as it turned out) perfumy product
that I purchased without really thinking it through.
Now optimistically being aerated and deodorized of the sickly sweet perfumy smell
(that continues to cling after 2 washings)
by hanging on the line in the sun and cold wind.
(And why didn't I check the product safety info online first??)

Thursday, December 31, 2015


Getting to the office early often has its rewards: 
sometimes I miss the worst of the weather.

All was quiet for the first hour yesterday. 
Snow was predicted, and had just begun to fall in tiny flakes 
as I walked through the Loop before 7:00 
on my way from the train to the office.

An hour or so later, 
I looked up from my desk to see a window of huge, white swirling flakes 
against gray skies and neighboring buildings.

The rooftop garden on the new building next door
was getting a frosting.

Even our solar pope stopped waving to marvel at the sight.

Happy New Year to all!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Macy's windows

Taken early this morning on a foggy walk to work, 
past the iconic Marshall Field's building.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Warm and rainy.

At least we won't have trouble making it to family gatherings
and the Christmas Eve service.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

'tis the season

Holiday staff party is Monday. 

We drew names 
(via a gift exchange website to make it easy for
remotely located co-workers - 
who thinks of these things?!)
but it's a secret who's got whom until Monday. 
Does this look sufficiently secret-ish?

We were encouraged to 
make something, 
bake something, 
donate a book from our own library,
or otherwise be creative - 
but don't spend more than $15.

And because I like to see what I can do with minimal giftwrap, 
or find something reuseable to stand in for giftwrap, 
this is a wire basket
with metal sculpted branches and leaves for a handle.
99 cents at Goodwill.  
Re-used ribbon.
The tissue paper is new. But recyclable if the giftee opts not to reuse.

My gift is (I can tell you because no one from work reads this - I think)

3 food items that I made in September:

with nothing added. 
(It's pink because the apples are cooked with skins on
before being put through a food mill.)

Dilled eggs (hardboiled eggs pickled with dill, garlic, & jalapenos).
Dilled cauliflower (ditto).
Here are the jars before the pickling liquid was added.

I used ripe (read: red. read: hot!) jalapenos.
Red instead of green
because I thought they would look prettier in the jar.

I told the man at the farm stand what I was buying them for, and he shook his head and asked me about the size of the jars and advised I not use a whole pepper in each jar but cut them in half, since the red, ripe jalapenos are much hotter than the green. 

So I cut them in long quarters. And only put a quarter in each jar.

The eggs are nicely hot.
But the cauliflower - oh my.
Really really hot.

I'm also putting the cards on the chocoladeletters
an annual tradition that started the year Gerrit and I were married.  
It's a happy reminder for me of our years together.

The ones for the family have already been mailed, 
and my niece sent this picture of her middle son, ready to chomp his B.

And that makes me happy, too.