Voting is a right, not a privilege….

The big one is now a few days past, and I think a lot of us are still floating on the euphoric wave of “we did it!” We voted out a Prime Minister whose behaviour in the last couple of years has been nothing short of racist and illegal. Actually, I should say, “YOU did it.” Because I was not permitted to participate in that most inalienable of rights. I did not get to vote. I tried. Boy, did I try. Matter of fact I was at the polling station all day!

I signed up a few weeks ago to work the election at a polling station. I didn’t vote in the advance polls, because I figured, hey, I’ll be there all day on election day anyway, and the Election Canada trainers assured us that everyone working a polling station would be accommodated so that they could vote. Fair enough. Off I went on a very frosty morning with my ballot box and materials, and set up my polling station.

Some time around 9am, my polling station supervisor phoned the head office and asked for a transfer certificate to be brought over so I’d be able to vote. No problem, she was told. It would be there at some point during the day. Voter turnout was encouraging, and only a couple of grumps (and drunks) came through. So many young families brought their children to the polls, and took the time to explain the process to our next generation of voters. It was pretty encouraging! Mid-morning, an Elections Canada representative came through and my supervisor repeated her request for a transfer certificate. They promised that one would be delivered in the early afternoon.

When the afternoon started to wane a little, I asked the supervisor if she’d heard any news. She called the head office repeatedly, and kept getting the same answer. “It’s on its way.” Around 8pm, they finally told us that someone had just left the head office with the certificate and was on their way to us (roughly a 10-minute drive). I don’t know if that person decided to detour to Texas, but they never showed up. My supervisor logged a dozen calls to the head office to get that certificate. When we phoned around 9pm asking where the heck the person delivering the certificate was, the answer we got was this: “Look, all I can tell you is that they’re on their way. They’ll get there.” When I pointed out our proximity to the office, I was brushed off.

9:30pm came around, and I had not been given an opportunity to vote. At that point, it was too late, because we all had to open our ballot boxes and get to work counting the vote. The person who supposedly left the office with my transfer certificate never did show up, and the office wouldn’t provide an answer when we asked what had happened. I am 40 years old. I have been voting in Canadian elections since my 18th birthday and have never missed one. The fact that I was denied the opportunity to vote by the very organization that is meant to ensure fair and legal elections in this country is absolutely ludicrous.

Some will point out that I should have voted in the advance polls if I was concerned about being able to do so while working the polls. And I totally will in every election from here on out. But the reason I’m writing this is that I should not have had to take that precaution. There are mechanisms in place for polling station workers to be able to vote on election day. Transfer certificates are issued EVERY election, and it’s a system that has been in place for a long time.

Considering that transfer certificates were supposed to be included in every supervisor’s supply package and that we had none; considering that we began requesting the certificate from the head office TEN MINUTES AWAY well before the polls opened, and in 13 hours, none was provided; considering that an Elections Canada employee actually LIED to me and to my polling supervisor; considering that it was my absolute right to vote in that election, and I did everything possible to ensure that I could; considering that my right to vote was actively sabotaged by the very people who are charged with overseeing the fairness of the process…

Considering all these facts I am appalled and enraged at the behaviour of the local Elections Canada office. Both my polling station supervisor and I are filing official complaints with EC (for all the good it will do) and I’m also filing one with my newly-minted MP. What happened to me, and to so many others (I’m thinking of polling stations that were moved to remote locations so that no one without a vehicle could access them, polling stations that RAN OUT of ballots, etc.) is completely unacceptable and was entirely avoidable. I doubt anything will come of the complains filed, and I don’t have any draconian fantasies of heads rolling, but I’m writing this as a sort of, “I know what you did.” Because what they did? It didn’t go unnoticed. Not by me, and not by anyone else who was treated unfairly.

(And I know it’s objectifying to judge his looks, but isn’t our new PM pretty??? His wife is downright gorgeous too!

Still limping along…



Well, if I have any readers left, I’d like to thank both of you for coming back! It’s been a long, crazy, largely unpleasant summer with a few bright spots in it, so let me settle down and tell you about it a bit. There has been a lot of knitting, because knitting has been keeping me sane, and maybe in the coming days and weeks, I’ll share some of it with you, but not right this minute. (I’ll confess – I’m writing this blog entry because I’ve been knitting most of the night, and it’s now quarter to 6 in the morning and my arms hurt!)

My no-good, rotten, awful summer got off to a bang back in late April when my dear friend Velda passed away after a long battle with cancer. Velda and I first met back in 1999 when we were both members of the iVillage ParentsPlace 1999 parents messageboard. I ended up following her over to their cross stitch board, as I took that up when Zachary was a baby. Over the years, we’ve shared a heck of a lot. From parenting advice (her Zachary was her third child, mine was my first!) to cross stitch to adoption to joy to sorrow and back again, Velda was always there for me and I miss her so much :( She was the den mother of an exceptional group of cross stitch ladies, a lot of whom are still very close friends. She loved to laugh and to make others laugh and had a mischievous streak a mile wide :)

A few weeks after that, I was told I would have to move out of my rotten apartment. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, since our new place is so perfect for us! A pipe burst in our ceiling, and rather than do any kind of repairs, our old landlord left us having to use an umbrella to go to the bathroom for several weeks. Now, the reason I lived in such a crappy apartment for ELEVEN YEARS is because I simply hate moving. Hate. HATE moving. (To that effect, we moved the last weekend of May, and I still have about 1/3 of my apartment in boxes). But we got it done, in no small part due to Rob’s help (he actually drove up two weeks before I moved to get me started with the packing, and then came back for the move!) and to my ex-husband, who generously paid for the movers and also helped me do a lot of packing.

And then, dear friends, the floor dropped out from under me. I found out that the reason I hadn’t heard from my friend Kim for several weeks was because her battle with cancer was coming to an end. She was in hospice and didn’t have much time left. I did get to visit her a couple of times, and then… I lost my job. My job, which I loved. The best boss I’d ever had. Suddenly, I was just done. After probably the worst two or three months I’d ever had, I was tossed out onto the street. The next day, Kim died.

The rest of the summer has been a blur of grief and rage and tears and swearing and this all-pervading sense of failure and hopelessness. I find myself crying at least once a day, often just because I’m tired and want this all to stop. Often, because I’m thinking about Velda or Kim, or Marwa, or Josie (two other friends who passed away this summer – Marwa, after a lifelong battle with depression and Josie, who died of pneumonia only a few weeks after getting the all-clear after being treated for lung cancer).

One of the few bright spots was the trip Rob and I took to Minnesota for our friend Steven’s wedding. I was so thrilled and humbled by the fact that Steven and his beautiful wife Sarah chose to include us in their celebrations (I’d never actually been invited to a wedding before, other than my brother’s, and they needed my kids in their wedding party LOL). I’m not sure if I had mentioned it, but I started knitting them a blanket on April 1st and finished it IN the car on the drive to Minnesota. We also got to head into Minneapolis and visit with our friend Todd and his kids, which was pretty awesome as well :) Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to be at Kim’s memorial service, since it was at exactly the same time as Steven’s wedding, but I said my goodbyes in person and I feel pretty good about that decision.

I know this post is a really long downer, but I feel like my life is spiralling out of control. I feel as though I’m spinning my wheels, and in the process, people I care about are just disappearing in all directions. I feel as though I’m constantly running away from something, and at the same time, sitting still and waiting for my life to start back up again after the massive stall it’s undergone. I want to get back to work. I *need* to get back to work. But I don’t know how to get myself out of this rut. I don’t know how to climb out of the hole I’ve dug myself into. And I don’t know how to stop crying.

So now, I just keep moving forward, hoping I’ll figure out a way to make things okay again. And maybe unpack a box or two.

Circle of life???

Or Assholes come in every flavor, even bird!

Okay, so the craziness has mostly subsided (I KNOW! I keep saying that, and then it’s a month or more before I blog again!). We are all moved into our new place, which is AWESOME, and I’m very much enjoying not being in the old place anymore. I actually had some pretty serious anxiety involved with going back there with Rob yesterday to pick up some of the last of our stuff. I hadn’t realized how much I hated living in that apartment, that neighborhood, until I was free of it!

So we’ve been moving stuff at a pretty steady pace, and then the movers came by on Saturday to do the lion’s share of the work (thank you so much to my ex-husband for paying for movers, it removed a HUGE amount of stress from moving). Anyway, the kids had gone to the park to explore (my kids are 13 and 16, but move to a new neighborhood? WHERE’S THE PARK, MUM?). They come back, and there’s yelling, and I can’t figure out what’s going on. DEAD BABY BIRD, MUM! OH MY GAWD!!!!

Turns out there were a couple of baby birds dead in the grass just outside my daughter’s bedroom window. I go outside to look, and say, well, not much we can do now. (backstory – a robin had built a nest inside the dryer vent of one of my upstairs neighbors and we could hear the babies peeping a lot of the time). As we’re heading to the car, we see a grackle messing around at the opening of the vent, hear the babies peeping as loudly as they possibly can. Suddenly, we hear “PLOCKSHHHHH” behind us and realize that this grackle, this asshole bird, has grabbed another baby and tossed it out of the nest.

You know that scene in The Bourne Identity (I think that’s the first film?) when the girl has just witnessed people killed and she throws up in the lobby of the building, and Matt Damon just grabs her around the shoulders and makes her keep walking? That’s kind of what I did with my kids (minus the vomit). I just grabbed them both and resolutely kept walking toward the car. Grackles, man. Assholes.

We got home from wherever we were going, and the kids decided that we needed to hold a little birdy funeral. So we lined a little cardboard box with paper towels, and used a Ziploc bag as a glove to pick up the three little corpses (I got that dubious honor), placed them gently in the box and covered them with another layer of paper towels. Taped the box shut with duck tape, and Zachary carried it off with him. I think he buried it somewhere at or near the park. *sigh*

So devastated, these near-adults of mine, at the harsh realities of nature. I told them that in the woods, animals would have carried the babies off to snack on, or would have just eaten them there. But we needed to remove them, or we’d have dead-bird smell coming in our windows in a few days’ time. I know Zach doesn’t like people knowing how sensitive he is, but the idea of putting the birds in a bag and into the dumpster just killed him, so they were interred with pomp and circumstance.

There are still babies left in the nest. I don’t know if Mama robin came home and dispatched the grackle or what, but we haven’t found any dead babies in our yard since that first batch, and we can still hear the babies crying in the nest at feeding time. I did joke about letting our cats out for a snack, but that was met with stony silence, and then, “That’s not funny, Mom.”

So much for trying to lighten the mood.

Asshole birds.


Rainy Monday Morning…

I woke up at 2am this morning to go pee, and as I was sitting there trying to wake up enough to go back to bed, I realized I could hear water dripping. Then I realized my foot was getting wet. I looked over and realized it was RAINING in my bathroom. The day could only go up from there, right?

A few years ago, we had some trouble with the upstairs neighbor’s bathroom issues. There was a very heavy-set, disabled fellow living upstairs at the time, and he had mobility issues that made it difficult for him to get in and out of the bathtub. Culmination of these difficulties was that the seal on the bathtub gave way and suddenly there was all kinds of water pouring down our bathroom wall into the apartments below us. The landlord got his usual handyman in to fix everything, and it seems he did his usual half-assed job, because suddenly, it’s happening again *sigh*

Can’t really complain about the last week and a bit though :) It’s been pretty good! I’m working on finishing up square #3 of the Great American Aran Afghan project. Things are progressing apace! I did start a pair of socks to give me something of a palate cleanser when I get too burnt out on using huge needles on the blanket squares. Just a plain pair of vanilla 2×2 ribbed socks, based on the Yarn Harlot‘s Good Plain Sock Recipe from Knitting Rules. (It’s the only sock I knit, after having taken her Grok the Sock class a few years ago).

In recent weeks, I’ve been a knitting machine. Finished the Triangle Field shawl I was test knitting for Anja Krebber:

Triangle Field Shawl by Anja Krebber out of Julianna's Fibre Lucid Dreams Sock yarn in Luna colourway on size 6 (4mm) needles.

Triangle Field Shawl by Anja Krebber out of Julianna’s Fibre Lucid Dreams Sock yarn in Luna colourway on size 6 (4mm) needles.

I also finished the Zilver shawl by Lisa Mutch of NorthBound Knitting. I don’t have a finished picture of this yet, but I’ll get one soon. I ended up giving it to my mom as an early Mothers Day present, and she loved it! I also gave Rob’s mom the Kuura shawl by Milja Uimonen of Milja Designs that I finished a few months ago. I need to get a picture of that one too!

I don’t remember if I posted my Amanda Hat (by Gina House) when I finished it, but I finally also finished the matching cowl I improvised:

Amanda Cowl improvised from The Amanda Hat pattern by Gina House out of Classic Elite Jil Eaton Minnow Merino in Celery on size 9 (5.5mm) needles.

Amanda Cowl improvised from The Amanda Hat pattern by Gina House out of Classic Elite Jil Eaton Minnow Merino in Celery on size 9 (5.5mm) needles.

And a grand finale, I also finished the Lyn’s Round Ripple Baby Afghan I was crocheting from Lyn’s Designs out of Katia Mexico on a G (4mm) hook. I don’t have a finished picture of that either (because I’m a bad blogger). But I haven’t given it to the intended recipient yet, so I still have time with that one :) (the cowl needs a good blocking and the ends woven in still, so I’ll show a better picture of that one later).

I’ve also been experimenting a bit in the kitchen (out of necessity)… basic bacon & eggs for breakfast yesterday, but for dinner, I had three teenagers to feed and very little food left in the house. I had a few chicken breasts lying around, some broccoli and a few random apples lying around. I heated a bit of chicken stock (about an inch) in a skillet, then tossed in the chopped broccoli and apples (not peeled). Added roughly chopped chicken breasts, some cumin & mint seasoning and a healthy dose of sriracha. I covered the pan and let it simmer on medium heat for about 10 minutes.

Had I served this on rice, it would have been a complete meal for anyone not Whole 30-ing. As it is, I served it as-is, and all three kids loved it! Wish I could show you a picture, but they ate it too quickly! For today’s lunch, I used the leftover stock to poach some butterflied pork chops and quartered mushrooms. SO good!!!!

Right now, things are starting to get a bit hectic in preparation for the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. I’ll be heading down with Sue of Two Tangled Skeins and our friends Elizabeth and Krystal. I can’t wait!!!!! We have a big podcasters meet-up every year on Saturday at 1pm near the corrals (where you can see the highway). Anyone who wants to come join us is more than welcome! This year we’ll be doing a little road trip to a yarn store in Alexandria, VA. More importantly, we’re going to be going back to our favorite restaurant in Frederick, MD – The Orchard!

I’m looking forward to ramping up canning in the next few weekends (after Maryland) before it gets too hot. I have a pile of produce in my freezer from last summer’s harvests and I’m looking forward to clearing it all out into delicious preserves! Stay tunes :)

Chag Sameach Pesach (a little bit late…)


I know, I know. I meant to blog about Passover while it was happening, but I was so busy and stressed out, I didn’t have time, and since then, I’ve been in a bit of a funk. So here’s the breakdown of my Passover :)

Wednesday morning, I drove to Syracuse in order to catch a direct flight to Chicago (SUCH a treat!!!! I love direct flights!). We immediately headed for the grocery store – we shop at Woodman’s in Kenosha, WI because the selection is so much better than the little store by Rob’s house. Now, we knew that Rob would be running out to the store more than once for little things I’d forgotten, plus we were planning for his son’s 19th birthday as well, so unexpected things were bound to crop up :) Before bed, I took the chicken out to thaw for the Matzo Ball Soup, and chopped the onion, carrots, celery, parsnips and parsley that were going to be used the next morning.

The next morning, I got the soup boiling and then we went to Rob’s mom’s house to learn to make Brisket! (Next year, that’s going to be my job too – can’t wait to experiment!!!) Back to Rob’s house to get cooking. I cooked the green beans for the green bean casserole (Campbell’s recipe here). I will freely admit, I don’t GET green bean casserole. It’s gloppy and heavy and a bit gross. But the excitement I encountered when I set it out on the buffet counter was unbelievable. People actually HUGGED me because there was a huge pile of the stuff. I dunno. Must be an American thing. Personally, I think it’s an affront to green beans LOL

I also made the fruit salad (I base mine on Martha Stewart’s Recipe) – this year, we used orange/pineapple juice and fresh mint (couldn’t find fresh mint last year, so we had used dried – fresh is SO MUCH BETTER). And this year’s fruit list: a whole pineapple, four half-pints of blackberries, two quarts of strawberries, four black plums, three nectarines and a few MacIntosh apples. I had wanted to include cherries, but they’re not in season and there were none to be found under Gold Standard prices, so I left them out. BIG hit, every year, and a lot of people even take some as a side for their dinner.

I decided to try this Smoky Roasted Sweet Potato recipe from Budget Bytes this year, and it was SO good. People were picking at it before dinner! I had twice the amount of sweet potatoes, so I doubled the spice mixture too… Next year I think I’ll leave the spice mixture as-is. Very tasty though, and it’s going to come back next year.

A few months ago when I was visiting, I made Rob a pan of Cabbage and Apples. He loved it, so I thought I’d try it. It didn’t go over as well at Passover, but it’s a distinctly German/Polish/Ukranian dish that I served cold (and likely would have been more popular, had I served it hot). I love it, but I don’t think I’ll make it next year. Too much left over. My favorite variation has home-smoked bacon my friend Sue’s husband makes for us, but I figured that would not be appropriate at the Passover table… The recipe was sort of made up on the spur of the moment. One head red cabbage, roughly chopped. One onion, roughly chopped. Three Granny Smith apples, roughly chopped (NOT PEELED). Heat 1-2 Tbsp butter in a wide, deep skillet with a lid. Add the onions and sautee over medium-low heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add cabbage and apples, stir to coat with butter and leave to simmer, covered, for about 10-15 minutes or until cabbage is completely wilted. Add 2 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar, 1/2 tsp celery seed and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Cover and cook 2-3 more minutes. Serve immediately, or refrigerate and serve cold later on.

On the spur of the moment, I decided to make some Roasted Mushrooms. OH MY WORD. So good. I used this recipe from Serious Eats, except with Parsley instead of the other herbs (and some dried basil). Unfortunately, the nature of the beast with Passover is that dinner sits there while you go through the Haggadah (we use a rather extensive collection of Maxwell House ones that Rob’s mother has collected over the years) and perform the rituals. So everything pretty much gets cold. Especially in a kitchen like Rob’s which only has one undersized oven. We used the leftover mushrooms for Ray’s birthday dinner (steak, sauteed onions & mushrooms and raspberry/chocolate swirl cheesecake).

I’m still working on my stock recipe for the Matzo Ball Soup, but for the Matzo Balls themselves, I use the recipe on the side of the Manischewitz Matzo Meal can and add whatever herbs and spices I think sound good (this year was black pepper and thyme). My goal is usually to have the soup made ahead of time, and cooled. Then when guests start arriving, I put it on to boil and drop in the matzo balls to cook, and the soup is perfectly done when we finally start “The Festive Meal” (Page 28, I believe…)

A couple of other things I put on the table… this Apple Horseradish Conserve from Food in Jars. It’s SO DELICIOUS!!!! I’ll confess, I’m Marisa’s biggest fan. I have her cookbooks, I read her blog religiously, and she is my hero. I want to be her (or a slightly less uptight Martha Stewart) when I grow up. Because I still firmly believe that one day I will grow up :P I feel silly including a how-to for Charoset, because everybody makes it differently, and it’s all according to taste anyway. But this year, I used 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and finely diced, one bag of crushed walnut pieces, 1 cup Manischewitz Passover wine, 2 Tbsp honey and 1 tsp cinnamon. I dilute the honey in the wine before adding it to the apples, and stir the whole thing repeatedly until Haggadah time.

I think I dirtied every single dish Rob owns, although we did use paper plates for the meal itself :) I made two casserole dishes of Green Bean Casserole, two dishes of Smoky Roasted Sweet Potato, a VERY large serving bowl of Cabbage and Apples, TWO huge serving bowls of fruit salad…. there was a lot of food :) Rob had a good amount of leftover Matzo Ball Soup to put in his freezer. I’ll confess that yes, we do serve Gefilte Fish as well, but as it comes out of a jar, I don’t tend to mention it because I didn’t make it. I’m already making some plans for next year’s dinner. I’m thinking of making my aunt Heather’s famous Wild Rice casserole, but you’ll have to wait for that recipe!

Happy Passover, everyone!


Same old, same old…

I haven’t written for quite some time, because I had absolutely nothing of any interest to say. More importantly, I didn’t have anything I was interested in writing about. I’ve been knitting, I’ve been crocheting, and tonight, I will be spinning (or plying, anyway). But I just haven’t felt like talking about it. Spring is finally arriving, and I just want to sleep for a week! My kids are both sick with some kind of stomach bug right now, and I’m just exhausted, not sleeping well, and resenting having to get up in the morning.

It could be the time change, but it’s far more likely that winter is just catching up with me. I *am* ten days in to another Whole 30 though (for anyone who doesn’t know, this is Whole 30).

Aside from working, podcasting and knitting, I haven’t been up to a whole lot. I will be sharing a few Passover recipes as we get closer to my trip to Chicago, but for now, I just have a few knitting finishes to show off…

Boyfriend Hat by Stephanie Nicole Bennett

Boyfriend Hat by Stephanie Nicole Bennett, out of Red Heart Super Saver in Gold and Claret, on size 4.5 (US 7) needles.

Rib-A-Roni Hat by Jane Tanner

Rib-a-Roni Hat by Jane Tanner, out of Red Heart Super Saver in various colors, as well as other random acrylics, on size 4.5mm (US 7) needles.

The Amanda Hat by Gina House

The Amanda Hat by Gina House, in Jil Eaton Minnow Merino on size 5.5mm (US 9) needles.

The Amanda Hat just begged for a nice squishy, warm cowl. So I’ve adapted the hat pattern into a cowl, and I’m working on finishing that. It’ll be for next winter, since it’s starting to get nice and warm (or at least, above freezing!) here. I’m also working on a baby blanket for a friend and I’ve got a couple of shawls in the rotation. The Amanda Hat also counted as my March project for the Brown Bag Sock Challenge over at Two Tangled Skeins! (Oh!!! One piece of exciting news, we reached 1,000 members on Ravelry just before we recorded our 100th episode, so we had a big party and giveaway! If you haven’t joined yet, come on over!)

I’m hoping to get some spring cleaning done in the next few weeks, because the kids and I are sick of being cooped up in the apartment with piles of stuff everywhere. My goal is to be able to get around the apartment without avoiding obstacles and to be able to use our kitchen table as more than just an accumulation point! Maybe then we can tackle the teenager’s bedroom!

Consent: Not actually that complicated


This deserves to be seen by as many people as possible. Read. Absorb. Share.

Originally posted on rockstar dinosaur pirate princess:

A short one today as my life is currently very complicated and conspiring against my preference to spend all of my days working out what to blog. But do you know what isn’t complicated?


It’s been much discussed recently; what with college campuses bringing in Affirmative Consent rules, and with the film of the book that managed to make lack of consent look sexy raking it in at the box office. You may not know this, but in the UK we more or less have something similar to ‘affirmative consent’ already. It’s how Ched Evans was convicted while his co-defendant was not – and is along the lines of whether the defendant had a reasonable belief that the alleged victim consented. From the court documents it appears that while the jury felt that it was reasonable to believe that the victim had consented to intercourse with the co-defendant, it…

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My whirlwind tour…


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Woo… that was a bit of a breathless week. I did mean to blog before I left, but I honestly couldn’t think of a thing to say that would have been more interesting than watching grass grow. (Grass…. there’s a thought. I never thought I’d miss grass, but I do right now!)

Last Friday, I left work a little bit early and drove to Syracuse so I could take the train to Rob’s house. I knew I’d have a bit of time before the train (it doesn’t leave until late), so I asked a friend of mine who lives in Syracuse if she wanted to do dinner before train time. She did, so we did, and it was awesome! We ate at Cantina Laredo, and the food was fab. We both had Ceviche as an appetizer and I swear, our eyes just about rolled out of our heads over how good it was. I love ceviche, but it’s hard to find where I live (We only have a few Spanish/Mexican places in town). SOOOO tasty. She had this amazing-looking mango cheesecake-y type thing for dessert (which I did not try for obvious reasons). Then Tricia headed home and I headed the two blocks over to the train station.

The train ride to Chicago was fairly uneventful. I didn’t get much sleep because I was too excited… that, and I met a nice fella around 3am who sat and chatted with me until almost 7am. He clearly needed someone to talk to, or rather, for someone to listen while he talked, and he’d been through some rough things. I listened, I hugged him, and then he wandered off to have a smoke while I went back to sleep. Rob was at the train station BRIGHT and early to pick me up, even though my train was nearly an hour late coming in, and from there, we headed off toward lunch and an awesome show. If you happen to be in the northern Chicago suburbs this weekend and want to see an excellent production, I highly recommend Spotlight Theater’s production of Hairspray at the College of Lake County in Grayslake. There are tickets left for the February 14th and 15th shows, which you can purchase here. (Oh, and if you are in the mood to drive out there to see a great show put on by some of the most talented kids I know, do me a favor and credit Catherine Roscher – one of the Spotlight kids – for the ticket sale? It’d help her out!)

Sunday was mostly spent cooking – I fill Rob’s freezer whenever I come visit, since he doesn’t particularly enjoy cooking (especially for one) and I sneak vegetables into his food this way! In the afternoon, we met up with his Genealogy Society friends for their biweekly writing group meeting. Basically, the point of this group is to get together and work on their life stories. Every two weeks, there’s a new topic. Everyone writes a couple of pages on the topic assigned, and we read our stories aloud to each other. It was a lot of fun, and there was a lot of side-discussion as well! Sunday night, Rob rented a movie, and I tried, I really desperately TRIED to stay awake to watch it, but … I only managed to see the first 30 minutes of Bullitt. I’ll confess now that I don’t think I’ll ever be a Steve McQueen fan… I find him very two-dimensional and boring in most of his movies. This one… well, we were lying down, and I had a nice warm blanket covering me, and…. nap time.

Monday, I headed home on the train with an impressively large group of Mennonites (I love hearing them speak – their language is so musical!), a lady with two extremely well-behaved little girls who had been on the train from Syracuse with me, and an unfortunate older lady who spent the entire 15-hour train ride arguing with herself. Loudly. Shrieking, at times. What can you do? I arrived back in Syracuse on Tuesday morning to find my car almost entirely buried in snow. *sigh* Photo to follow, because it really was a LOT of snow. I dug myself out, got on the road, had a quick lunch at Cracker Barrel (I know, I know… It’s not healthy, but it’s SOOO GOOOOD!) and got home just before the sun went down.

I’ve slowly been getting back into the routine around here, not a lot of knitting has seen the light of day – the baby blanket I’m working on saw a little bit of love on the train to Chicago, and none since. I’ve cast on a hat three times now and I’m just not feeling it, so it’s going to be frogged before it ever gets past the ribbing. I may try it again in a different yarn, because a shelter near my house has run out of winter wear to hand out to folks, and they need some hats and mitts. Here’s hoping my mojo comes back before we record the podcast on Saturday!

Scary stuff…

This is going to be controversial and rude – I apologize in advance.

I’ve noticed over the last few weeks that there’s been a drastic increase in the anti-vaccination crap littering my Facebook feed. It likely stems from the recent Measles outbreak stemming from an unvaccinated and infected child visiting Disneyland and starting a new trend.

And I am APPALLED at the number of reasonably intelligent adults who continue to refuse to vaccinate their children out of stubbornness and abject stupidity. I am disgusted at how many of these people do all the wrong kinds of research, arrive at completely false conclusions, and make their “informed” decisions based on debunked junk science and, worst of all, take the advice of celebrities of that of their doctors.

How absolutely brainless do you have to be to put the life of your child and the lives of hundreds or thousands of children around them at risk? There are some children who can not be vaccinated. Children with compromised immune systems, such as cancer patients, heart patients, etc. Children who are severely allergic to some component of the vaccine (like eggs). Children under one year of age, who are too young to receive these vaccines. If your child falls into one of these categories, then this blog post is not aimed at you. Carry on.

However, if your child does NOT fall into one of those categories? If your child is healthy and you just don’t want little Johnny to have “chemicals” pumped into his body? (Here’s a hint – if the kid is alive and breathing, there are “chemicals” entering his body every day.) SUCK IT UP, BUTTERCUP. Those folks whose kids can’t be immunized? They rely on something called “Herd Immunity” to keep their kids safe. And herd immunity? It just doesn’t exist in a world where people choose not to vaccinate their kids for idiotic reasons. And yes, I absolutely think you’re an idiot if you choose not to vaccinate.

Polio, measles and mumps are diseases that were eliminated in Canada and the United states. And now they’re making a STRONG comeback. Because of morons who won’t vaccinate their kids. Am I being harsh and opinionated? YOU BETCHA! If I sent my kid to play in a snakepit, someone would call Child Protective Services on me and my kids would be taken away. But sending your kids out unprotected against measles, mumps, polio, pertussis…. that’s just as dangerous, if not more. Because your kid is way more likely to contract one of those diseases – diseases that have killed tens of thousands of people – than my kid is of being bitten by a snake.

And for those of you who whine that it should be your choice? No, it shouldn’t, because if protecting your children from deadly diseases seems like a bad idea to you, then you’re clearly not capable of making intelligent choices. I am being harsh and opinionated and in-your-face because there is a growing trend of stubbornness surrounding the anti-vaccination movement, and it’s INCREDIBLY frustrating to the rest of us that this small group of people is using faulty logic disproven by science to endanger our children.


I’m beginning to understand my mother…

My mom is an early-rising morning person. I am decidedly not. However, I’m beginning to understand why she enjoys her morning solitude. When I was a kid, my mom would wake at 4:45 on weekday mornings, without fail. That’s always seemed really ridiculously early to me, but what do I know? I have no idea what time she woke up on weekends, all I know is, it was before I got up.

She’d use that time to take a shower – I assume… to this day, I have never been aware of my mother using the shower, and when I lived at home, she washed her hair in the utility sink in the basement. This always puzzled me, but again, what do I know? She grew up in a house that didn’t have a shower, so maybe this was just what she knew. She’d read her newspaper and eat her breakfast, make our lunches, and then start thinking about waking us up. By the time I was in high school, my alarm clock would wake me long after she’d left to take the bus to work.

My father? SO not a morning person. It was sometimes a chore and a half to wake him so he could drive us to the babysitter’s house in the next town over. If you let him, he’d sleep most of the day away and be up all night. I’m more like him, temperament-wise. I like my late nights and sleeping in. But recently, I’ve found my view shifting a bit.

I’ve been having a bit of insomnia the last few months. I’ll wake in the middle of the night and just not be able to get back to sleep. So I’ll get up and knit, or read, or play around online until it’s a more appropriate time to be moving around above my downstairs neighbors’ heads. But the best part of waking up stupidly early? I get to watch this:

Not my picture, it came from here:

Not my picture, it came from here:

This isn’t the exact sunrise I saw (I live farther east than this) but it’s close. And it was magnificent. I got to see another tiny vertical rainbow on the way into work. The bridge I cross to get to Ottawa from the Quebec side is right next to a hydro dam, so the spray often creates little tiny ones in the sky. It’s one of the highlights of my commute, along with the waterfall created by open sluice gates.

I don’t mind insomnia so much when it comes at the morning end of my sleep schedule. I’d hate to lie in bed and not be able to fall asleep at night when I’m tired, but this? This is okay.


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