Monday, November 12, 2007

Veteran's Day

I was supposed to have today off but then I had to work. The good news was it was only a half day AND I get to pick a floating holiday of my choice. So I'm not complaining.
I am smitten with Ravelry "a place for knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, and dyers to keep track of their yarn, tools and pattern information, and look to others for ideas and inspiration". It is inspiring and fun. You get to admire other people's projects and yarn stash. Cool! Adrienne told me about The Knitterly Dachshund Group which of course I joined! There are many Dachshund owners on Ravelry. Last Friday some of the North Shore Purl Girls and I went to a fashion show at Loopy Yarns. Chic Knits was there (LOVE the Ribby Cardi and Felted Bucket hat). Afterward we went to dinner at Carnivale where we had drinks and dinner. My favorite server Jessica waited on us. A brand-new dessert menu debuted that day and she treated us to three yummy desserts. Tiffany drove down from Kenosha to join us for dinner. Afterward Tiff, Claire and I went to Huettenbar in Lincoln Square until the wee hours of the morning (sorry Claire!). We met a guy who tried to guess what we did for a living. Somehow "pole dancer" was suggested! Good grief.
My parents will be here this weekend for Claudia's play "Charlottes Web". Salutations! We are celebrating Thanksgiving on Sunday evening. Soon it will be Christmas. Looking forward to going home to MN to see everyone and relax. My parents are slowly moving everything to the townhouse. I think it has been hard for them to leave the house where they lived for 32 years. Meanwhile I am missing being a homeowner. Once I know what is going to happen at work, I need to seriously consider buying a place again. Wherever I land. No update on the work front. Business continues as usual.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

How can it be November?

Wow. Time flies when you're doing whatever. I'm SOOOO happy the clocks were turned back last night. I need an extra hour of sleep in the morning. It gets harder and harder to go to work every day. We had meetings with RBS last week and still have no idea what is going to happen. I just continue to take it one day at a time.

#1 Niece Madeleine and I ate lunch at fRedhot Fries in Glenview yesterday. Yum! Liz recommended it to me. They have these funny little Dachshund figurines on display. After lunch we went to Michaels and Target. Madeleine had her first high school party last night. 40 friends were invited to the house. It was utter chaos. I could only take it for about an hour then I went home. Maybe not having kids isn't such a bad thing....I found the cutest coat at Target. Can't wait to wear it tomorrow.

#2 Niece Claudia is in the play "Charlottes Web" at the Levy Center. Mom & Dad are coming from MN that weekend. Looking forward to seeing them. Hoping to take them to the Brauhaus in Lincoln Square. I think my dad would get a kick out of it. Had dinner there last Friday with Rebecca. I met a cute boy who offered to pose as my boyfriend while M&D are here. =) We'll see what happens!

Today was a very lazy day. Didn't do ANY knitting but will try to work a few rows on the Chevron scarf. Sizzle has been put on hold. Not sure if knitting in the round was a great idea. I like mindless knitting where I don't have to count decreases and increases etc. "Knitting Little Luxuries" arrived in the mail Friday. Cute book!

Tuesday night I'm attending a "First Impressions" workshop. I think it will be interesting to find out how others perceive me. The New York Times fashion editor told me I was poised and elegant, but spoke with an unexpected whimisical, childlike voice. I still get "Is your mom or dad home?" when I answer the phone. Note to self: Talk in your big girl voice.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Peggy in Chicago

My dear friend Peggy came to visit me from Boston this weekend. We met in 1988 while working for Pan Am. Hard to believe it was almost 20 years ago. We started the weekend with lunch at the Daily Bar & Grill. Then a Pub Crawl through Andersonville with the Crazy Dachshund Ladies (and gents) from the Chicago Dachshund Lovers Group. Our "tour" included SoFo, T's and ended at Star Gaze.
Saturday was the CDL Halloweenie Gala. Peggy was our Guest Judge for the costume contest. Rudy and Bridget went as Lobsters in honor of Peggy's visit. They couldn't participate in the costume contest but almost won People's Choice!

After the Halloweenie Gala we drove around the city - West Loop (Oprah's Studio/Calphalon/Wish Bone), the Loop (by my office), through Millenium/Grant Park, past the Museum Campus, Soldier Field, McCormick Place, up State Street then River North, Michigan Avenue, Rush Street/Division Street, Oak Street then Lake Shore Drive to Wilson and home.

We had planned to go out for dinner but the Red Sox were in the ALCS playoffs and the game started at 7:15. So I made a huge snack tray, opened a bottle of wine for Peggy and we watched the Red Sox whomp on Cleveland 12-2 to win Game 6! Bridgie ADORED Peggy from the minute we picked her up at O'Hare. She followed her around the house, scratched on the bathroom door and even shoved the door open once to be near her! It was really precious to see Bridgie my little badass react so sweetly to Peggy.

Sunday morning we drove back into the city, parked near Navy Pier, got lunch/snacks at Fox & Obel, went on the one-hour Architectural Cruise, walked around Navy Pier then up Michigan Avenue to Water Tower Place.

Sunday night we went to Huettenbar in Lincoln Square to watch Game 7 of the ACLS. Crazy Dog Lady and Boston Fan Rebecca met us there. We got sandwiches at Potbelly's and I drank too many Cider Jacks. The Red Sox went on to win the ACLS which was very exciting!

Peggy plans to come back to Chicago again soon. And I will plan a trip to Boston soon! Hopefully to catch a Red Sox game and tour Fenway Park.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Home sick

Today I was home sick and homesick. I woke up with swollen glands and a sore throat so I stayed home from work. I miss my parents and keep asking when they plan to visit. They usually come down for grandkid activities - birthdays, school plays, awards etc. As their kidless daughter, I lack the same draw. Rudy and Bridget aren't in school plays. It makes me sad but such is life. "Tamara, Tamara, don't be blue. One day they will visit YOU". Some say I'm lucky to have a carefree life without kids. But what is the measure of ones life when you are single? I have a job, a car, an apartment and two dogs. That's boring. At the end of the day, I want to feel my life mattered and I made a difference. I try to be a great friend, a great daughter, a great sister and a great Aunt. Hopefully that is enough.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Fall Weekend Fun

Chicago weather went from 80's to cold! Today I went to Yarn*Con with two of my BFF's from Northshore Purl Girls (Hey, C! Hey, L! Holler!). It was smaller than I expected and the lighting wasn't great. But we met a fabulous vendor named Donna Koranek "My Small Wonders". She hand-dyes yarn in her backyard. Her colorways are gorgeous and she gives them the best names! I purchased one skein of Parade worsted and one skein of Seaside Jewels worsted.

Nikol Lohr author of "Naughty Needles" was there and signed a copy of her book for me. I mentioned not letting my nieces see the book and later when I read what she wrote, it said: "Tamara, Put it away when your nieces come around. Or, you know, corrupt them and be the cool Aunt!" That is awesome! She lives in an old schoolhouse in Harveyville. They host workshops & retreats and it's a creative residence for artsy people. Now how cool is that?! Nikol gave me a free card with the photo from the cover of her book. She said Sam's Club wouldn't print the cards for her. I guess it was too naughty for them....

Another cool thing was participating in the photography project of Chicago photographer (and knitter) Franklin Habit, who blogs at The Panopticon. Each "model" knits a row in a scarf project and he photographs them. He told me to knit as though I was knitting with my knitting group. I was around number 182. BFF C took this picture of us.

After Yarn*Con we stopped at Nina on Division and admired all their yarns. I bought Rowan Magazine 41 Spring/Summer 2007, the issue that inspired me to join

We ate lunch at Smoke Daddy - I ordered a pulled pork burger with sweet potato fries and coleslaw with cilantro. Yum.

Tonight I am meeting friends for dinner at Redfish, a yummy Cajun style restaurant at State/Kinzie. More Yum.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Technical Difficulties

I was invited to Ravelry on August 29th (my dad's birthday and also knitting night). In the mad rush of my life, I sort of forgot about it until Tuesday. ohmygod. I couldn't wait to get home and add all my knitting books to the library section of my profile. I'm slowly adding projects I've knitted. Unfortunately I mis-placed the power cord for my digital camera which forced me to use the camera in my cell phone. How is that working out. . . . not so much. Ravelry has been a great distraction from the chaos in my work life. A consortium of Royal Bank of Scotland, Fortis and Santander is buying ABN Amro. I'll be going to RBS. Still not sure if they will keep me or not. I like the word used to describe losing your job: "Best Sizing". Sigh. My 10 year old niece/godchild asked to spend the night tomorrow. She will go with me to Yarncon on Saturday. Looking forward to spending quality time with my best girl.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Day of Reckoning

So much can happen in a day. Barclays withdrew it's offer to buy ABN Amro and it looks like Royal Bank of Scotland will buy us. They want to close the deal on 10/19, only 2 weeks away. Will I have a job? Only time will tell.
In other bid news, the 2008 Benefit hosted by our Dachshund social group has sadly been called off. There are hard feelings toward the previous benefactor (MWDR), people are upset & hurt, and one of the CDL leaders has stepped down. In the end, it hurts the many Dachshunds who need forever homes and medical care. I nominated We got Rudy through DRNA and I feel they are a wonderful organization. They placed 500 dogs last year which is amazing.
I've cut back on knitting because I've found new inspiration in crocheting baby sweaters. In less than a week I made 5 sweaters. Everyone seems to be having babies all of a sudden. I'm continuing to knit the Chevron scarf with alternating strands of Socks That Rock yarn (I'm too tired to look up the color names).
It is late and the dogs want to go to bed. Me too.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

End of Summer 2007

I'm back in a good place in my life again. It's hard to believe summer 2007 is over. So much has happened since my last post. It was a fun summer filled with lots of activities and events. My boss retired and we took her to dinner at Opera. They have amazing martinis.

I moved to Ravenswood manor and love it. I'm not fully unpacked. I simply have too much stuff. The Francisco brown line station is just around the corner which makes for an easy commute to work.

The dogs are really happy here and love walking around the neighborhood. Bridgie has gained weight and has adjusted well to her new life with Rudy and I. We celebrated her second birthday in July. Chicago Dachshund Lovers held a Luau in July and Bridget loved the bubble machine with pineapple soap. Of course I had to buy a bubble machine for my Luau girl.

The first weekend in September, we drove to Danville, IL to attend the 11th Annual Doxiefest with our Doxie friends. But the weather didn't cooperate and the event was rained out. This is us huddled under the tent. In spite of uncooperating weather, we had alot of fun and look forward to going again next year.

Work has been very busy. ABN Amro Inc sold LaSalle Financial Services to Bank of America. Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland are competing to buy ABN Amro Inc, and our fate will be known soon. I am hoping for a package so I can take time off and reinvent myself. Everything will work out, it always does.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Crazy Day

I went to work today with my sweater inside out. Enough said.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


On the way to knitting tonight, my phone rang. It was my friend Kendra from Southampton, New York. She was stranded in Chicago and the only hotel available was in Skokie. "Do you know where Skokie is", she asks. Literally minutes away from home! So once she got settled at the hotel, I picked her up and we enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Wildfire in Glenview. What a Serendipitious moment to unexpectedly have dinner with a dear friend . We had a wonderful time and I hope to see her again soon.

Monday, June 25, 2007


Rudy my incorrigible Dachshund has learned "down". Of course his version isn't the standard. . . he slowly drops his front down and casually flips on his side. But I'll take it! He can sit up, sit, down and shake. Class is going okay. He is unable to "sit and stay". When we walk around our dogs, Rudy follows me in a little circle. He will always be my Mr Needy. I was dreading the last night of class because I thought we would have to go through all the commands successfully. If so, I knew Rudy would never "pass". But the last night is going to be a fun night -- we get to entertain each other by showing off all the "tricks" our dogs can do. Rudy will rock the house.

Sunday afternoon was the June Chicago Dachshund Lovers group meetup. Bridget attended for the first time and did really well. She would run around and then home in by my feet which was sweet. Both dogs were exhausted when we got home.
Heidi and I had dinner at Carnivale on Sunday night. Hands down my favorite restaurant in Chicago,

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Birthday Joy

Wow! My weekend was filled with more birthday fun! Saturday afternoon I lounged at the pool with Fancy Nancy. We ran into Lynae with her kids, and she gave us her lounge chair (a precious commodity). Fancy gave me Mango Martini mix so we enjoyed frozen margaritas after our day at the pool. Later Heidi joined Fancy and I for dinner at Wildfire which was fantastic. Their Key Lime martinis and Pomegranate martinis are delicious.

On Sunday Rebecca and I journeyed to Kenosha to visit Tiffany. We had 8 dogs between us who got to play and wrestle and wear each other out. They surprised me with a "Happy Birthday Tamara" DQ ice cream cake and presents!

What a great weekend! I am really blessed to have such caring and thoughtful friends.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Socks Don't Rock

I hate knitting socks. I love to knit and I love sock yarn but I hate knitting socks. I am knitting socks for Marcello in Mountain Colors worsted. Recommended needle size 6-7, I am knitting on size 1. These socks are like Teflon, nothing will get through them. They are so firm, they stand on their own. I was done knitting the second sock with only the kitchener toe to do. . . . . when I discovered a huge mistake after the heel. Sock One I decreased every row, Sock Two I decreased every other row. So I had to frog it back to the heel and redo it. I only have 10 more rows until the toe decrease. Having to re-knit the sock wasn't so bad. Maybe I don't hate socks after all.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Four Months later. . .

New car.
New dog.
New apartment.
New haircut.
New size.
One year older.
Same old me.

In March I purchased my dream car, the Mini Cooper - silver with a black roof. It is so fun! I decided to cut my hair short again. Growing it out was no longer tolerable. I was tired of feeling like a fat cow and have lost 10+ lbs since April.

Just before Memorial Day weekend, I was contacted by a friend who knew about a Chocolate and Tan Dachshund who needed a home. I went to meet her and she came home with me. Rudy adores Bridget and they are wonderful together.

He was so lonely after we lost Chloe'. She was such a good girl. Although Rudy is much happier with Bridget in our lives, he is stressed out living in Evanston with the kids. Too much noise and chaos for him. He ran out of the house recently when doors were left open and bit an elderly neighbor in the leg. A week later he ran out of the house again and bit Madeleine when she tried to get him out from under the UPS truck. He hates the doorbell or when people come to the house or are in our yard. I realized it is time to move out and found a wonderful apartment in Ravenswood Manor. It is spacious, comfortable, easy street parking, close to train and near friends. Move in date August 1st.

Over the weekend I went to MN for my nephews High School graduation. Hard to believe our little man is all grown up and off to college in the Fall. He is such a nice boy, we are very proud of him. I turned 43 while I was home. My dad had a family birthday dinner party for me which was nice. I received thoughtful gifts. When I arrived back in Chicago Monday night, Heidi and the kids celebrated my birthday again. They gave me a beautiful Lantern Moon knitting basket with handles. And a gift certificate for Montoya Fiber Arts. I plan to buy my first set of Lantern Moon knitting needles.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Last Thursday I had Chloe' put down. I went to a vet I hadn't met before. He lives near Lincoln Park Zoo and helped my sister when she had car trouble last summer. He was so kind to her and the kids, and I knew he was the person I could trust to take care of Chloe'. His office is in Naperville, about an hour drive from Evanston. The sun was shining that day and I played Eva Cassidy on my stereo. Chloe' sat in my lap and watched out the window. Very peaceful, very calm. When we were near the vet, we stopped at Culvers and I got her one of their famous butter burgers, fries and frozen custard. She was so cute. We sat in the car in the sunshine and enjoyed the peace and quiet. When we got to the vet, they put us in a private room where I had quiet time with her. I told her how much I loved her and how having her in my life had made it so much better. I thanked her for being such a good girl all her life. The vet was wonderful. He was gracious and kind. He started out by saying he was sorry we were meeting under these circumstances. He examined Chloe', then looked me straight in the face and assured me I was making the right decision. Even though everyone told me the same thing, it really put me at ease to have his professional opinion. She was strong to the very end and my heart broke when he said she was gone. He stayed in the room with me until I was ready to leave. Driving home I thought about all the wonderful times I had with her. And know she will be in my heart forever. Chloe' meant so much to me and I will treasure the memories of her always. This is the last picture of us taken that afternoon.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Tuesday, Feb 13

I'm home sick today with a bad cold. It is snowing like crazy outside. Rudy my Dachshund was leaping in the snow, ears flying in the air. He's so little, the snow drifts bury him. But he keeps leaping. In spite of feeling sick, I went out and shoveled the driveway and sidewalk for my sister who will be home soon with her 4 kids. Just as I finished, my neighbor came home from work and told me he planned to do our driveway with his snowblower. Oh well. I crocheted fancy dog collars for a Dachshund Benefit held on Feb 11th. I had so much fun making them. I haven't been very good about posting on my blog. I will make an effort to be more diligent. My parents drove from Hampton, MN to Evanston, IL to visit us for a week. They went home yesterday. We had alot of fun and the week went by too quickly. Mom and her dog Puppy attended the benefit with me on Sunday. He was a typical Chihuahua and showed his teeth at anyone who tried to pet him. No one minded. Apparently people expect Chihuahua's to behave that way. Just like you expect a Labrador to wag it's tail and lick you. I'm supposed to see The Carmelites at the Lyric Opera tomorrow but if I am sneezing, sniffling and coughing, I won't go. On Thursday I am taking Chloe' my nearly 14 year old Cocker Spaniel to be put down. She has cancer in her leg and it is time.

It is heartbreaking. She was diagnosed with Cushings Disease two years ago and I expected to lose her to that. Cancer came out of no where. She is not a candidate for surgery for many reasons. Her age, the Cushings, heart murmur, reduced immune system and ability to heal. If she survived surgery, the growth is deep in the soft tissue and the surgeon would probably amputate her leg. It's not fair to put her through that. She has started to collapse on the leg with the growth, and I don't want the growth to burst. It is a terrible position to be in. I know I'm not the first person to lose their dog. To age, to sickness, or for any other reason. But loss is loss no matter what the circumstances. My family gave me a Dachshund for Christmas 2005.

He was a rescue dog named Rudy. He has been good company for Chloe' and kept her on her toes. I know he will miss her very much and will be lonely without her. When the time is right, I will look for a second Dachshund. I truly believe dogs should come in pairs. To comfort me, my niece Claudia (9) said "Aunt Tam, you're just going to have to go through this again in a few more years with Rudy". My sister said "Claudie, why don't you squeeze more lemon juice in Aunt Tam's wounds". It provided some comic relief. My nephew Asconio (6) wanted to know if the vet will give me back her clothes and also who I was inviting to her funeral. I am flying to Florida on Friday for a long weekend in Naples. A group of us go every winter to visit our friend Kari (since we can't get her to come to Chicago). Claudia wants to go online so I am going to sign off. Happy Knitting!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Sunday, January 21 (2007)

Wow. I'm officially a "blogger"! I plan to blog about knitting and my dogs and anything fabulous that needs to be shared with others.