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.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Advent Antiphon Radio

On this not-so-cold December night,
I'm working on church-related stuff on the computer 
(scheduling the volunteers who read the lessons, 
acolyte, chalice, etc. for after the first of the year) 
and listening to Pandora.  

The Pandora station is called Advent Antiphon Radio.  
Many of the selections are familiar: beautiful hymns and anthems 
I've sung with choirs over the years.  

Some are unfamiliar and still beautiful.

They just played this, and it was especially lovely.
I had to click away from what I was doing 
to look at the Pandora tab and find out what it was:

Stella Natalis: Sleep Child Of Winter
The Adiemus Singers/Tenebrae/Karl Jenkins/Alison Balsom

Want to listen?