Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Permanent Solution to a Temporary Problem

This happened two blocks from my office this morning.

As I'm reading some of the posts at the end of the article I can't believe that someone actually witnessed this person falling. I can't begin to imagine how horrifying that was.

I also wondered about the need to post the picture of the car; showing the results of an impact between a body falling from X number of stories on to a steel and glass. It felt a bit gratuitious which is why I decided not to post the picture here. Thank God there is no obvious blood.

Unfortunately, in my line of work I do see this happen; in fact I have had a record number of people falling/jumping from high-rise buildings in the last 18 months - it's been over 5 whereas prior to that I could count on one hand how many I had in 18 years. With the economic times as they are sadly this spike over the last 1 1/2 years doesn't seem like a coincidence.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Chicago Olympics 2016

Olympics in Chicago 2016. Could it really happen? It seems surreal to think that an Olympics could be held that close to my hometown and that I would be able to be part of them. My children would be old enough to remember the excitement and while the commute to work would probably be an absolute nightmare, I think overall it would be a really wonderful thing to happen to the City.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin is sending around an electronic petition - if you see fit please sign your name to it (I already have!) and maybe, just maybe Chicago can pull this off.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Do It Yourself Pizza

We love homemade pizza in my house - we have a long used pizza crust recipe that I make in the bread machine. A few months ago I came across a bread machine version of a "Boboli" crust - this intrigued me because we enjoy the store-bought Bobolis but they get kind of pricey. The picture above is our first attempt at the "Boboli" recipe below - we shaped it like a heart in honor of Valentine's Day. I also like to use a blend of cheeses - in this case mozzarella with a bit of cheddar.

All of the dough ingredients are already in most pantries; add a green salad and I consider this one of my least expensive "Meals for $10 or Less". For you non-bread machine cooks I am also posting a recipe for a Boboli style crust I found that is made by hand; I haven't tried that one yet but rest assured it did have positive reviews on

Both crusts freeze well once par-baked, so this is a convenient and inexpensive item to make ahead of time and keep on hand in the freezer for fast homemade pizza!

Bread Machine Boboli-style Crust - dough made in the bread machine, ingredients below but click on the link for the complete cooking directions. In order to make a pizza you will also need pizza sauce, cheese and toppings.

1 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning (I used 1/4 t basil, 1/4 t oregano)
2 teaspoons parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 teaspoons parmesan cheese, to sprinkle

Pizza sauce - 80 cents
8 oz mozzarella - $2.50

Bake at 450 for 8-10 minutes

Boboli-style crust made by hand - an option for those without a bread machine.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Free Tahki Cotton Classic Yarn!

I admired the “Blooming Cotton Scarf” when perusing my latest copy of Interweave Knits and now L@@K - Knitting Daily is running a contest in which the prize is the yarn to make this lovely scarf! It’s easy - just chose the colorway you like and list your name/address. Deadine to enter is March 27. Good Luck!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Interview with a 4-year-old

My friend Jennifer did this with her almost-4-year-old and I thought it was a great idea - interview your child! I'm going to do this every year; I think it will be interesting to see how the answers change. Keep in mind I'm taking dictation and keeping myself from correcting my daughter's grammar, as much as that pains me not to! Her favorite color is blue, so I'm putting her answers in blue too.

1. What is something mommy always says to you? That I go upstairs

2. What makes mom happy? Being not so naughty

3. What makes mommy sad? When we don't be helpful

4. How does mommy make you laugh? Tickle

5. What was your mommy like as a child? Knock knock

6. How old is mommy? 10

7. How tall is mommy? 50-42

8. What is mommy's favorite thing to watch on TV? Top Chef - only on Bravo (I kid you not, that's an exact quote)

9. What does mommy do when you're not around? She says "India" (said in a sing-song voice)

10. What is mommy really good at? Putting me to bed

11. What is mommy not very good at? Putting me on the pillow

12. What does mommy do for her job? Go to the park

13. What is mommy's favorite food? Carrots and grapefruit

14. What makes you proud of mommy? (no answer)

15. If mommy were a cartoon, who would she be? A princess

16. What do you and mommy do together? We go to Starbucks when Daddy's not here

17. How are you and mommy the same? We both match dresses

18. How are you and mommy different? When we have different clothes

19. How do you know mommy loves you? All we do is just hug and we hug

20. What does mommy like most about daddy? Marrying him

21. Where is mommy's favorite place to go? The place they make guacamole

It was so interesting to see how she responded to the questions; how she, in her 4-year-old way, interpreted what I was asking - like 2, 12, 17 and 18. By the way, I don't work at a park but the train station is near the park and she is with me every morning when I am dropped off at the train - that's the only connection I could make! 8 and 16 made me bust out laughing - I can't believe she knew Top Chef was only on Bravo or that she even knew what Bravo was! And some made my heart melt, like 19 and 20. In case you are wondering about 21 - there is a Mexican restaurant in town that makes fantastic guacamole and they do it tableside, so you can watch. She has only been there once but I guess it made an impression!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Found Objects

Over the last few weeks I have stumbled upon various little objects that have made me smile upon discovering them.

The most exciting find was a few days ago when I discovered that my crocus were peeping their heads out! This is always thrilling for me - their bright, cheerful flowers give me hope that spring really is coming

And then while surveying the condition of the backyard I found this:

We had been wondering where the elephant-shaped puzzle piece had gone! Poor thing was snow bound for the last 5 months. He looks surprisingly intact!

and this - one of my daughter's plastic food items - a "head of lettuce". I thought it wasn't a very convincing replica, but apparently it fooled one of our squirrels. I'd like to have seen the look on the squirrel's face when he realized he was chewing a hole in a plastic head of lettuce. I'm sure his squirrel pals didn't let him live that one down for a long time.

Last - this one just was so cute. My little guy decided to "park" one of his cars in a houseplant. I'd like to think he was playing and decided this is where it landed after going over a bluff and landing in a ravine. But no, I think his 2 year old self just became distracted and this was the first place he saw to put the car. Lucky I guess, atleast I didn't step on it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant"

- Robert Louis Stevenson

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Mamma Mia, What Just Happened?

That's what I was saying after I watched each of these movies this weekend - one day after the other. Ugh. It all started with a free rental coupon and went downhill from there.

"What Just Happened" - a direct to DVD movie (should have been my first clue, but Slumdog Millionaire almost went direct to DVD and look how good it was). It starred Robert DeNiro, Robin Wright Penn, Sean Penn and some other names. So, how could it be so bad? Embarassingly bad? Robert DeNiro played a big Hollywood producer and we follow him through his manic, frenetic life. However, I never ended up caring about him, his manic, frenetic life or any of the other characters. The movie was disjointed, pointless and worse yet, I'll never get the 1:43 minutes I wasted watching it back. My knitting even ended up messed up. What Just Happened indeed!

"Mamma Mia" - how can you go wrong with a movie that is full of ABBA songs? Most importantly, start by mis-casting the older female roles - that's crucial. Then add a frothy, silly storyline and you're done. I don't think this movie translated well from the stage to the screen - wasn't it a smash hit on the stage?? It was downright laughable watching the esteemed Meryl Streep act like a free spirited, single mother living on a Greek Island, running a broken-down hotel. Story is that 20 years earlier she had a few youthful indescretions (slept with three different men in a period of a few weeks) and ended up not knowing who the father of her now adult daughter was. Ummm, Meryl Streep is a leeetle bit long in the tooth to play this roll - I'm thinking someone in their mid-forties was about the oldest you could go and pull it off. It was ridiculous watching her dance and run around like an idiot. That and the two women playing her best friends (including Christine Baranski) - were just as bad. And the men - what a waste of Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth! Although they were a little more believable in their rolls. Oy - Mamma Mia - what a waste of film!