Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Election Day in Chicago...

What can I say? I'm one of those good citizen types who takes my right and duty to vote seriously. So despite the fact that my vote will most likely count for naught, I trudged over to the local elementary school that is my polling place this evening after I returned home from work.

I cast a ballot against Hizzonner, Richie Daley, fils. I know that he will remain mayor until he quits, dies, or goes berzerk and eats a human baby live on WGN, but I just couldn't bring myself to connect the lines (our new voting method) for him. When I told Jeff I wasn't going to vote for him because of all the corruption that has come to light with regard to his administration of late, he just scoffed good naturedly. "C'mon, Cathy! You've lived here HOW long?" Yeah. I know. We in Chicago are proud of our corrupt politicians. It's endearing. To a point. Maybe if Richie's voice were not like Baby Huey's on helium...

I also cast a ballot against our incumbent alderman. For a long time, I thought that he was a good guy. Things have improved in my neighborhood, without a doubt, but they still have a long way to go. And this summer when I attended a community meeting about whether a certain problem property should open its doors once again as a watering hole, I saw the alderman in action. It was clear that he was on the side of the building's sleazy owner--a notorious slumlord whose infamy is legend throughout Rogers Park. And the guy was responsible for the utterly foolish local law against foie gras. I'm not a huge fan of liver--no matter what creature it comes from. And I certainly am against the cruel treatment of geese and/or ducks. But a city ordinance against a foodstuff? Feh. There are SO many more things that need doing. Such as working to boot out sleazy slumlords. Or gang abatement. Or attracting better shops and restaurants.

At any rate, I voted for one of his opponents--the plumber. All of his opponents seemed to be decent options. I just liked the idea of a plumber doing the job.

But, as I said, I'm certain that neither Daley nor our incumbent alderman will be unseated.

Since I voted, though, I have whining rights when they do things of which I do not approve. I only wish I could say that was gratifying enough when applied to G.W. Bush. Sigh.

UPDATE: While Daley sailed through to another term, our alderman faces a run-off election! So maybe my vote DID count for something, although the guy I voted for did not make the cut for the run-off.

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Jeff's New Toy and a Few Other Things

Check THIS out!

Jeff just added this to his hoard of mandolins--it's a Mandoblaster 4-string electric mandolin. It is a cute, honey little thing, but it sounds great. It joins the Weber Sweet Pea travel mandolin, the Michael Kelly, the strange banjo mandolin with the highest action on Earth and a very scary adjustable neck, and the mandola in this particular collection of his. Don't get me started listing the guitars.

Up until yesterday, the weather persons were predicting a relatively mild but very rainy weekend. Well... so much for that. I woke up this morning to predictions of this:

And dire warnings about ice as well. Guess it's a good weekend to stay in and be cozy.

Don't let this fool you! This is about as clean as it gets, folks. And I'm not going to tell you when this snap was taken. Hmmm. Maybe it's a good weekend to stay in and tidy up!

In parting, take a gander at Shelly (she of the o, so friendly gaze!) and her pals Moxie and Ox.

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sunday Afternoon at Nevin's

We live in Chicago, but we are so close to Evanston that we do most of our shopping, dining, and general wandering there. This chilly afternoon, we took advantage of one of the great Sunday pastimes our North Shore neighbors have to offer: The session at Tommy Nevin's Pub.

Led by John Williams, erstwhile concertina/accordian player for Solas, the Sunday session is a wonderful way to spend a lazy afternoon. Sip a pint of Harp, nosh on bad-for-you but o-so-tasty fried pub snacks, and enjoy the lively Irish jigs and reels.

On any given Sunday, the session will include several flute tootlers and fiddlers, a couple of guitarists, a couple of bodhran players, a bouzouki player, and, naturally, Williams on concertina. This afternoon there were a couple of tenor banjos and a mandolin thrown in the mix as well. Back in the summer, a cellist from Boston dropped by. Young and old alike are welcomed, and whole families come to the pub to listen. Every once in a while, little girls who have taken or are taking step-dancing classes tiptoe a turn around the room.

If you ever find yourself in Evanston on a Sunday afternoon, check it out. It starts at 3:00 pm and ends at around 5:00.

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Too Cold!

Damn, but it's cold. Sub-zero. And it's supposed to be even colder tomorrow (although the high is supposedly going to be higher... maybe around 6).

So what does one do when it really is too cold to venture outside--aside from chores, mind you...I don't want to waste my weekends doin' no steenkin' chores?

Why, knit, of course!

So that's what I've been doing. Last week (when it wasn't quite so cold) I finished knitting the first sweater of the year. I haven't gotten around to sewing up yet (my least favorite part of the process), but I think the yarn is way cool. It is called "Foliage," and it is by Berroco:

And here is the pile of knitting it produced:

TODAY, though, I'm working on the piece I started earlier in the year and had to rip back. Instead of the black fuzzy yarn I started with, I'm now using a nice heathery rose yarn called "Whisky" by Reynolds. It's working ups quite nicely:

You can see the pattern very clearly--something that was decidedly lacking in the previous attempt. I think it was fortuitous that I dropped that damned stitch on the earlier version, even if it was a pain in the ass at the time.

I promise that this will not turn into a knitting blog. It's just that, well, it's so cozy to sit indoors on such a cold day and play with wool.