1000 BLEEPING Cycling Miles

It’s no surprise that I LOVE  my bike. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m in a relationship with my bike.  I commute to work everyday on it, choose to ride long distances because it’s just so fun, and prefer to take a ride on my bike rather than use the car. From Memorial Day to Labor Day I managed to hit 1000 miles, despite one nasty crash (sprained the membrane between my ulna and radius), a car wreck, and three flats.  Here are some funny/nice/awesome moments of my first summer cycling in Chicago.

BICYCLE RIIIIIIIGHTS.

Me and Yoshi right after reaching 1000 miles on 8/29/2014.

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That time I wore this white Nike top and there was a surprise downpour on the way home….. AWKWARD.

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Giant Bike Packs. Gotta be prepared I guess.

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One Year exactly. 8.26.2013 vs 8.26.2014. HUZZAH.

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On the ride air pumps. This was the first of 3 flats I encountered – all within the same week too!

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Gorgeous view from my long University of Chicago Campus rides – total distance that day 35 miles.

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Work is nice enough to have an indoor bike rack. Yoshi never has to brave the elements without me.

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The aftermath of Yoshi vs. Car. Twisted handlebars… thank goodness no other damage was done.

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Sorry for my butt… about a week after my first crash. It took two months for that bruise to totally disappear.

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On the road with Yoshi and Leopold. If only that squirrelly little pug would sit in a basket… sigh.

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Here’s to many more 1ks on Yoshi!

Huzzah!
xxxx
GFK

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Gender Bender

It has been quite some time since I’ve written about gender in a socioeconomic way. Perhaps, it was a natural ‘distancing’ that occurred after I finished my MA thesis and did not immediately jump into another higher education program? Or rather, it was the disgust in being labeled a ‘feminist’ in a vulgar regard, much the same as I would be labeled a tramp or a whore? Anyways, I wanted to share some things that I find to be incredibly interesting regarding gendered economic thought and its place in our culture and society today. Don’t worry I’m not gonna start burning my bra, I’m looking to set fire to the whole damn system.

Gender and economics are something every single woman (AT THE VERY LEAST) should be thinking about, talking about, and getting f&*king PISSED about. Things are dire. In fact, I went my whole higher education without ever hearing the words ‘gender economics’ until I worked on my thesis. WHAT THE F*&k?! The social expectations and economic limitations of being female are absurd. We still live in a world where we are told we MUST look, dress, and appear a specific way in order to be successful, loved, or deemed ‘good.’ There are still some horrifically unequal gendered statistics in our ‘country of equals’ such as pay between genders, active roles in our legislature and congress (<20% are women!), and in economic activity. You can access quite a bit of data and statistics through the United Nations here to look at more gender-biased statistics in our entire world. Further, according to The Economist’s ‘Women’s Economic Opportunity’, the United States is the 15th most ‘opportunistic’ economy for women. Are we not a world leader? Yet economic opportunity for women is less than most of Europe, Australia, and New Zealand in terms of labor involvement, access to finance and education, and legal status. (Oh that’s right there are still parts of the world where women are not even considered legal citizens!) I love this article from the Huffington Post about how US Women can even be considered second-class citizens – especially the preface of “Uh-oh. I’m a woman. With feelings. Am I going to get too emotional? Will there be tears? How is it possible that I can have intelligent, clear, informed thoughts with all of these emotions flowing through me?”

Next, about the expectations of gender on both male and females in our economy. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that youth culture and adults are fed all sorts of information regarding physical standards and therefore influence beauty consumption. I stumbled upon a documentary during my thesis research that inspired me to make a difference and be a difference in this. Miss Representation is an eye-opening look at media/advertising and its effect on culture and economics. Honestly, it’s baffling that we are influenced so much by companies and their products – literally most of these companies do not even care about the consumer or want to add value to their lives – it’s purely for profit. I would highly recommend checking this documentary out on Netflix instant video right now too.

The creator of this ‘movement’ via Miss Representation is Jennifer Newsom and she branched out to include changing views and expectations on many gender based instances. You can see her current project Curating Change here. It is worth a look as it deals with many of the changing gender roles our culture sees today – from “Mr. Moms to the faces of masculinity”.

Honestly, gender is a taboo topic in our culture. While it can be said that sexual-orientation gender advocates are seeing progress, the overall goal of gender equality is failing. In fact, it is a joke. It’s sad to me that our culture degrades anyone who does not fit into the ‘typical’ model that has been stereotyped and forced on so many individuals. Further, to even question the system young/old men and women are laughed at. I am a feminist. I can proudly say that and in doing so does come the negative backlash from BOTH women and men alike. I personally demonstrate my hatred for gendered stereotypes, by not only crafting and baking (traditionally female hobbies), but pursuing my advanced education in Economics and working in Economics academically. Believe me, I have never been ‘among equals’ as the boys love to say in my professional and academic career – and you know what they are right – I AM above the standards and I am motivated and enraged enough to start making some social and cultural changes. Not just in my consumption, but in my way of life. (Hell I already am a ‘sober outcast’ I might as well make that outlier status mean something powerful.) People, especially women, should be livid about what is expected of us. Burning bras might be laughable now, but I can understand how tempting it would be to lash out at a majority society that just laughs off any sort of change to status quo.

There is a popular saying floating around and one that saw each time I visited my advisor’s office while working on my graduate degree, that says “If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention.” I couldn’t agree more. Without diverging too far from the subject of gendered economics, this is a statement that rings true in our entire culture. From the production processes of all of our consumer goods, to our basic thoughts as a consumer driven society – things are really ‘messed up.’ I’ll candidly state that I fear for our economic system, our morality or lack thereof as a people, and the overall health of our planet. I am educated enough on our current economic system to objectively, mathematically, and appropriately find the flaws and the dependencies it is effing based on. I fear so much sometimes, that it keeps me awake – pondering where we are heading. I sometimes wish I was naive about economics, finance, and the general health of our entire monetary system. Would I do things differently if I didn’t have my bug-out bag prepped and didn’t spend a good 5 hours each week worrying where I would go if something happened to a city in which I am virtually alone? It’s intense to think of the ‘what-ifs’ and to begin to prepare establishes some kind of relief, but in so far as just facilitating more anxiety and more situations to ‘be prepared for.’ (Coming soon boys and girls, GFK’s how to prep for the apocalypse every Friday! am I joking? Maybe. I’m not sure.) I digress, when are people including myself going to start being the change and the difference? When will we all realize that we are ones in control? Literally, we are the power.

We are the power.

GFK

Together

Well it’s Valentine’s Day. It’s always a day full of such great expectations. If you have a typical Valentine good for you. I’m flying solo, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have awesome family, friends, and the tribe to send me love all year long. Plus…. Motley Crue.

Happy V Day. Whatever it means to you.

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Love yourself the most.

xxxx
GFK

Outside

Wow already biffing it hard on this daily blog challenge, but c’est la vie. I had an exciting weekend and am working on a secret craft I’ll be able to post on Thursday so in the mean time… Outside.

I am so sick of winter, I’m sure everyone is, but especially the insane cold and snow that Chicago has been hit with every week. I took a walk up to Bloomingdale’s yesterday during lunch. I had to cross the river and I was pretty impressed and awed by the ice.

Adventures in Fair Isle

Before the holidays, we had a secret santa at my work. Well, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a Mastering Colored Knitting book for my gift. I still in fact have no idea who gave this book to me! They won’t fess up, but when I finish my more intricate pattern I’ll send an email thanking/inquiring again. Anyways, I’ve been just practicing a few little projects and I love it. Just like most knitting techniques, I’m mad I didn’t learn this sooner. SO FUN.

Just a simple one peeries for practice.
Just a simple one peeries for practice.
First heart project on modified sweater (no cable obviously) for Boris.
First heart project on modified sweater (no cable obviously) for Boris.
Baby B likes his sweater.
Baby B likes his sweater.
Gloves have inspired a pillow 'flat/larger' project.
Gloves have inspired a pillow ‘flat/larger’ project.
Slowed down by headache/cat kisses.
Slowed down by headache/cat kisses.
Almost done. Still have 15 rows to go - adding inverted cross to top right design panel. Red to left crisscross pattern as french knots too.
Almost done. Still have 15 rows to go – adding inverted cross to top right design panel. Red to left crisscross pattern as french knots too. I’m hoping some of the gathering goes away with blocking/pressing. Damn you tension.
Valentines Cards? Can I Fair Isle this?
Valentines Cards? Can I Fair Isle this?
This is for a child. I'm thinking it would look awesome as vest. (no one wants to knit sleeves - especially for my ape like arms)
This is for a child. I’m thinking it would look awesome as vest. (no one wants to knit sleeves – especially for my ape like arms)

Pet Projects: The Animal Knit Bible

After my ‘finishing faux paw’ (harhar) on Boris’s new sweater of sewing the arm holes closed I realized I’ve knitted too many pet sweaters to be making such a silly mistake! So I’ve been inspired to share a few of the patterns I’ve made here.

a cat straight-jacket is okay with me too.
a cat straight-jacket is okay with me too.

Obviously I knit a lot. I knit for people and of course animals. I have talked a little bit about the knitted items I’ve made for the animals before, but without a doubt all the patterns are from Pet Projects: The Animal Knit Bible. I can’t even tell you how many sweaters I’ve made for mine and others’ pets, but here are a few of the patterns and a lot of sweaters I have made from this book. (PS If you click the book link it takes you to the Ravelry page with other knitters’ works too!)

Despite his grumpy demeanor he's warm.
Despite his grumpy demeanor he’s warm.
This was for a furry friend. Too short for Vlad.
This was for a furry friend. Too short for Vlad.
All dressed up and no where to go - also ever since I took this photo I've wanted to make an all grey 'knight' suit for Lee.
All dressed up and no where to go – also ever since I took this photo I’ve wanted to make an all grey ‘knight’ suit for Lee.
My first sweater for Vladimir then it became Leopold's.
My first sweater for Vladimir then it became Leopold’s.
Although short, he prefers this sweater because he can run around.
Although short, he prefers this sweater because he can run around and you know grab a cup of coffee.
Pet bed, perfect for two.
Pet bed, perfect for two.
Vladimir's favorite summer spot.
Vladimir’s favorite summer spot.
"The Anti-Firework" Balaclava..... aka "The Laugh Hysterically at Your Animal Hat"
“The Anti-Firework” Balaclava….. aka “The Laugh Hysterically at Your Animal Hat”
Again "Laugh Hysterically"
Again “Laugh Hysterically”
I modified this hat to make Lee transform into RASTA PUG MAHN.
I modified this hat to make Lee transform into RASTA PUG MAHN.

They have a LOT of wonderful color pattern knits in this book too. I think I’m gonna turn the page from the sweater section and start making a few other fun animal items. Coveting it now? Buy it here.

SERENITY NOW!!!

Gee Whiz, it has been quite the week here in ‘Chiberia’ and it’s only Tuesday. First let’s just get it out of the way – it’s so cold I can’t even believe it. Second, Chicago has really sucked it up on being ‘prepared.’ The CTA (our transit system HA) ran yesterday with MAJOR DELAYS – that meant that instead of waiting an average of 5 minutes for a train or bus (even less most days) the wait for the bus was 15 minutes each way to work (exposed mind you) and 15 minutes for the train. The only saving grace yesterday was that a lot of people stayed home. This morning we were not so lucky because the buses are back to business as usual but the train still for some reason is running incredibly infrequent and late.

let's not even talk about this cold.
let’s not even talk about this cold.

Regardless, the crap weather didn’t stop me from taking an amazing class at The Needle Shop on Saturday to learn the famous Amy Butler Gumdrop pillow. I had a blast. I met some great women and learned some awesome new patterning and hand sewing skills.

Amy Bulter Pillow
Amy Bulter Pillow
Amy Bulter Pillow well received.
Amy Bulter Pillow well received.

I also started a new sweater for my sick kitten Boris.

Boris' new sweater.
Boris’ new sweater.

My neighbors and I exchange little ‘trinkets’ from time to time and this was what I made for their pup Lola.

Handkerchief for the neighbor doggie Lola.
Handkerchief for the neighbor doggie Lola.

I made some ‘winter shorts’ notice I’m wearing long underwear under them haha.

new pj shorts for the STAKBE club.
new pj shorts for the STAKBE club.

Sewing is interesting with two nosy sphynx cats.

my two 'assistants'
my two ‘assistants’
the inspector.
the inspector.

Finally – a chuckle at how ridiculous Leopold looks in his winter outfit.

a man with a mission.
a man with a mission.