Blog Limbo (or Limbo Blog)

Thank you, for your emails, messages, comments, and snail mail! You have lifted my spirits and made me feel appreciated and loved. I have to admit, the luster of blogging has worn a little thin and I am struggling to come up with content. It isn't that I'm not "doing" stuff, I am knitting (and have several finished projects), reading (book after book), hanging out with friend here and there, and, admittedly, dealing with winter's blahs (maybe not so well). 

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Not to sound down on myself but (what is is), my Month of Letters never really got off the ground. I have loved receiving letters and I'm working my way through replies, but my daily missives have been more like "once in awhile" missives. I struggle a bit with the "daily" thing and I can't really tell you why. I knit daily and read daily, but they feel like a reflexive things, something ingrained and a part of me, not something extra. This is the first year I've had a problem meeting the MoL goal. Writing and receiving mail is a real treat and you can't do one without the other. I guess I could make the excuse that life is busy and I have felt stressed, but busyness is just an excuse for not following through and it is time for a change. (Don't you just love the new Oscar de la Renta stamps?)

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In any case, I've come to say hello and to try and regain the habit of blogging, because I need to do a better job of staying in touch with my friends. Have you missed my mountain? In January we had day after day of the "dreaded inversion", but the air has been cleaner since February 1st. This is the time of year for crazy mixed up weather and, after several days in the 60s, winter has returned. The good part is all that mountain snow! Look at how the peaks are weighted down with the glorious white powder. Makes me wish I could ski! 

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During the warm spell, a few of my crocus decided to make an appearance. Their day in the sun was short-lived, as nature goes through her usual tug-o-war. Just wait 5 minutes... 


Traditions

December traditions have changed over the course of my lifetime, but each and everyone has created a wealth of wonderful memories. One of the greatest gifts I have ever received is that every Christmas has been safe, fun, exciting, rich with tradition and abundance, plus I have always been surrounded by people I love.

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For many years, Christmas Eve was the best day of the Holiday festivities. Last minute baking left the kitchen warm and aromatic. Mom would lay out a feast on the table for us to nosh on, and we "pieced" our way through the evening of joy. Freshly baked breads, cakes, cookies, and candies  are among my favorite childhood memories.

Every year mom made each one of u (4 girls!) a new flannel nightgown, which we were allowed to open on Christmas Eve. Mine was usually pink or blue, with ruffled yoke and hem. How I loved the first nights wearings of  that fresh, crisp gown, which was well worn by the next Christmas. 

We'd listen to Christmas songs, or we'd gather around the piano and sing our own carols, always waiting and listening for the sounds of Santa. Later in the evening we'd watch the news on our old black and white TV as the announcer tracked Santa's progress from the North Pole. We went to bed when he warned children the needed to be asleep or Santa might not stop! 

I'm thinking of the years there were 5 of us kids, a house full of noise, laughter, laundry, lights, gifts for the neighbors and baked goods abounding, the piles of packages under the tree, and the general chaos of life--that is what I think of when asked what Christmas means to me. Many traditions have changed through the years, and I can't think of one year that Christmas wasn't full of magic and joy. Riches beyond words, that's the joy of Christmas tradition. 


The Beauty of December

December is the season of lights, which I admit, bring to me a sense of wonder and awe. I can stand before a display of lights my mouth agape, my eyes wide with joy,  oblivious to the world around as I am transfixed by beauty I behold. I love the light (as I'm sure you know by now). 

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We spent Thanksgiving with our friends Monica and Steve (a wonderful day) and as we were driving home that evening we caught sight of a well lit tree off in the distance. We drove up a side street that led to a small cemetery and found at its center a very large tree covered with white lights. It was ethereal, magical, and we exclaimed to each other, with delight and wonder, how beautiful it was. As rarely happens when you're an adult, we were filled with awe. It felt like a gift to be among the first to see it.  

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The sunrises and sunsets are quite wonderful this time of year and the cloud displays before, after, and during a storm can surround the mountain tops with garlands and crowns. You know I love my mountains and winter can really bring out their unique beauty. White, snow covered mountains and clear blue skies are are also commandingly exquisite. 

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This time of year the golden glow glorifies our view in a way that isn't seen during the other seasons. December's light is the beautiful of the year and I must fill my heart and soul with this beauty before January's dingy skies move in.

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December is filled with with wonderful people, friends and family, parties and gatherings, (which is when I keep my phone in my pocket). I'm hopeful there will be time for Smith and I to be together this month, as well. 

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December offers more time indoors (demands it, actually), and that means more time to knit (maybe blog). I hope to be able to show you the TTL Mystery shawl I finished, and the Julianna shawl that's nearly off the needles. December's cold and snowy days offer the gift of knitting and reading time.

Just as Bonny said in her December post, December marks the beginning of the return of light. Solstice is a day of celebration and joy. I so look forward to the shorter nights to come. 


Saturday Sky - Hello!

Today I am grateful for friends who check to see what I'm up to when I haven't posted for awhile and who remind me I have a voice. 

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I am very grateful for the long, warm autumn we experienced, however, quickly it ended with the northern winds bringing in the cold and snow of winter. It was 73 degrees one day and within 36 hours the high for the day was 36. I am grateful for my ability to make something warm with woolen fibers. We hope for more snow because we are in great need. 

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More than snow, I am in need of the positive energies of friends, of community, of beauty, and the joy daily life can bring. I am grateful that many of my dearest blog friends have been posting daily. I am grateful for their voices, for their guidance, their calls to action, and for their strong sense of community. I am grateful you are here and grateful for your friendship. 

Hello, friends. 


That Very Best Breakfast

Camping

It's been years. Back in the 80s, which is so crazy. How can it be that long ago? Let's say it was 1983, during the years we spent camping, sleeping on the ground, often without a tent, and cooked breakfast and dinner on an open fire. We often reminisce about the amazing meals we had. Like the time Camille readied a huge prime rib roast to cook as soon as we arrived at our campsite. We would head off to the wilderness of the High Uinta mountains and four-wheel the mountain trails until we found the perfect spot. We liked to have a creek or a lake nearby, which made life a little easier, but was not necessary. As soon as we found the perfect place we'd build a fire and get the coals red hot. The rib roast was slow cooked in a pit, surrounded by hot coals, and it was the best piece of beef we ever had. We were starved by the time it was ready, but it sure was worth the wait.

But, I should be talking about breakfast as it's Kat and Carole's "Think Write Tuesday".  When we were on our camping trips, breathing in the fresh mountain air, our appetites were enhanced. We took extra care in planning our meals, as one need not eat tin foil dinners when four-wheeling in the wilderness. Our friend Dave was the chef and everything he cooked was delicious and memorable. I could go on and on about his meals, but his mountain breakfast is something we still talk about, brag about, really.

Dave was always the first one up in the morning and he'd start the fire and put on the coffee. He would make sure there was a flat rock on the edge of the fire pit for his big old fashioned enamel coffee pot to rest. He'd get the water boiling and then tossed in a big handful of coffee and let it boil until it was dark and strong. When you wake up in the wilderness, nothing smells better than strong coffee.

The next thing he did was cook up a ton of bacon in his well seasoned cast iron skillet. When the bacon was nice and crisp, he's slice a bunch of bagels and crisp them up in the bacon grease. The best way to eat a crispy bagel is to slather it with cream cheese and topped with crisp bacon. The bagels were the perfect appraiser to what comes next, mountain eggs!

Mountain eggs are the pièce de résistance. They cannot be repeated without an open fire, a wood fire, in the middle of the wilderness. To begin Dave would add a cube of butter (yes, I said cube) to the leftover bacon grease, and as the butter melted, he crack a dozen eggs (or so) into a bowl, stirred until fluffy, then poured them into the skillet. As the eggs cook, he'd add in chunks of cheddar cheese and a big bunch of sliced jalapenos. The addition of the "mountain pepper", ashes from the burning wood, was the true seasoning for the eggs and that just happened as they cook. When the eggs were the right consistency, Dave liked them custardy, he'd serve them up to the hungry, waiting gang.

Food and friends make the best memories.


Prisma Color Wednesday

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While it's still Wednesday, I thought I'd create a watercolor with the Prisma app. This is a picture I took while at  Red Butte Garden's several weeks ago. The Rose Garden was full of blossoms of every color and variety. This is the effect, made with "Breakfast", which highlighted the perspective and softened the colors which were quite bright in the original.

Yay! The week is half over and I looking forward to a long weekend.


The Catch All

Where was I when I stopped blogging? I have been a bad blogger and, for the most part, it's because I am enjoying my time away from a computer. The end of summer came and went and autumn is now in full swing. The last few days the weather has been perfection. I am not ready for the nice days to end and I hope they keep coming. In any case, I must go back a few weeks and share some of the highlights of what's been happening around here.

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First, there was our time with the Etherknitters!  As it turned out, their timing was perfect! The beauty of autumn was in its full glory with the aspens showing off against the clear blue skies and the bronzed and burnished patchwork of color covering the mountainsides. To say it was a treat to be with friends we rarely see is an understatement. 

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Smith and I took our visitors up and over the mountain to our favorite spots. We had breakfast at Silver Fork Lodge (of course) and a delightful walk around Silver Lake (of course). The next leg of our trip was back up and over the mountains to the added bonus of more amazing vistas. We made a trip to Sundance and then, down American Fork Canyon during its most stunning time of year.

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We ended the day at another of our favorite spots, Red Iguana, which has the best Mexican food anywhere in the West (according to many). We were sorry to see the day come to an end, but happy we could enjoyed a fun time with truly wonderful friends. 

 Then...

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...there was a little thing we call The Retreat (The Alta Knitter's Retreat), which is a chance for knitters to come together and hang out, eat, drink and do anything else they can think to do.

The beautiful blue skies and autumnal colors of the previous weekend, came to an abrupt end Thursday night and, by the time I arrives Friday afternoon, the weather had turned cold and blustery. Snow started to move in and by Saturday morning we woke to about 8" of snow on the ground! The white snow and golden leaves made the views all the more beautiful, when you could see them, as the low lying clouds and fog often obscured the mountain.

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However, nothing could dampen our spirits. 

We stayed cozy and warm inside and had a great time drinking a little,  snacking occasionally, and spending a lot of time knitting, talking, and laughing. There was even some yarn buying, which I'll share with you later.  We did not lack for entertainment as Anna, one of the SnB grrls, introduced us to Korean facial masks, which provided a large amount of raucous laughter. Cheryl took a video of me during my bit of self-pampering, but you'll have to go here to see it as videos make the blog go boom. (Thanks, Kym!)

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After two days of cold, snowy conditions, the skies cleared and Sunday afternoon we enjoyed an hour or two on the deck. It was the perfect ending to a incredibly fun weekend. 


Knitting and Reading (Because I Do Not Do Football)

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Kat's KAL ended on Labor Day, but my TTLM (now known as Thistle Rambles) did not meet the deadline.  A couple of weeks ago, while admiring my work of, I noticed a section that wasn't like the picture of Kirsten's shawl. It was then I realized I would have to take out ALL of clue 5 (because I had not read through it thoroughly enough) and reknit. I am very grateful I hadn't yet started the beautiful, but time consuming, picot bind off. As of today, the first few picots are now in place. Wish me well!

The book, The Underground Girls of Kabul, is for my Book Group. (This month marks our 29th year together!) I am only a chapter into the book and have 300 pages to go. However, I didn't buckle down and put in the time needed to finish, instead I found other things to do. 

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I left for work a little early so I could take a picture of the sunrise. I love a crepuscular rays and it was worth giving up my reading time to capture this shot.

When I got home I cleaned the bathrooms. (It had to be done!)

I, also, worked in the garden because the weather was superb and I had to be outdoors. 

I sipped a glass of wine whilst enjoying the patio (I do drink alone). 

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And, I ended my day with a walk and pictures of the sunset, which I painted with Prisma (Caribbean).  

With summer ebbing I have to revel in the beautiful days as much possible.