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August 2014
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October 2014

Kitchen Throwback

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Can you believe it? You're looking back to September 1951, 63 years ago. Hard to believe I was ever 18 months old. Evidently, I had a bit of a reputation as a climber, at least as far as my mother was concerned. She told stories of how I'd pull out chairs and climb up on tables and tool every opportunity to climb up cupboards by pulling out the drawers. Mom told eveyone I was a handful, which I can believe, as was her first kid. 

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Mom had beautiful handwriting, much better than mine, handwriting I wished I'd either inherited or, at the very least, learned from her. She wrote one sentence stories on the back of my easrly pictures, which I had scanned along with the front. Hard to believe mom has been gone 25 years and I still miss her. 


Weekending Past, Weekending Future

Last week went OK until Friday and then, well, it was one thing after another. In the end, I had to have a treat and finding something chocolaty was the only thing to do. I'd been craving cake, a cupcake kind of cake. A cupcake bakery resides up the street from my office, but I didn't know if they have anything gluten free. A call allayed any doubt and, with a quick drive up the street, before driving down the street toward home, I was able to procured a bit of deliciousness.

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Score! This salted caramel cupcake was the perfect way to start the weekend.

I spent last weekend readying for a guest, as the Alta Knitter's Retreat is coming up this weekend. Since everything is ready for my guest, I decided to organize projects for Retreat. Oh wait. I know you're dying to know who the guest is, right? It's KYM! Excitment doesn't begin to cover how it feels to have her visit again. I, also, feel honored and humbled when anyone comes to visit. 

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But, back to the projects. Slowly, slowly, progress is being made on my Cactus Flower. Knitting this shawl has been enjoyable, and as little time as I've put into it, the progress has seemed quick. Before I knew it I was through the lace section. However, the two color section has been slower. It takes a bit of time and concentration get through each color section. There has been some back and forth tinking and ripping, due to my lack of attention. When a project is knit in short bursts of time, the memory of what I should be doing slips away and I assume I can "just knit". That attitude gets me in trouble every time.

Since I am working the second section of brown 'bubbles' and I have two more sections to go, Cactus Flower will go along to Retreat. I will work until it is time for the lace border, which is not something I want to do whilst knitting socially.

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Therefore, I have a new project lined up for Retreat, Kristen Kapur's Duane Park Triangle. You won't be surprised to find out, I'm using The Woolen Rabbit yarn in colors Godiva and New England Red, which are perfect for autumn knitting. I'll also take along the Alabama Chanin Market Bag. One must be ready for any whim.


My Ride, Be-Beep

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Sky on Sunday after the rain storm. I like to drive up the mountain, that's as close to a picture of my car as you'll get. It's too dark at the moment, in any case.

This edition of ToT is brought to you by a person who just couldn't care less about what make or style of car she drives. That isn't to say I don't have criteria, as I want something reliable and preferable foreign. I've only had about 10 cars, which made easy to come up with a list.  Only one of my cars was brand spanking new and it is likely it will be my only new car.

1. Austin America- British Racing Green, very small, rare, and extremely unreliable.

2. Triumph Spitfire- One of my favorite cars, as it was fun to drive, unique, midnight blue, soft-top in summer, hard top in winter. The downside was its reliability, or lack thereof, and its inability to handle much snow.

3. Nissan Datsun B210- Old, cheap to buy, cheap to fun, cheap to fix, reliable, and red.

4. Subaru - New to my sister, who sold it to me a year after she bought it. It was reliable and red. After a few years I sold it back to her and it ran for another 15 years. It was quite the car.

5. Old Mercedes- White, big, diesel, and boring.

8. Volvo - Another tank, pale blue and top of the line when new.

7. Old Audi - yellow, unmemorable, but it did live on in my family after I'd moved on to my next car.

8. Honda Accord- My very favorite of all my cars, as it was reliable, nondescript white, and I had it for 14 years. If I hadn't totaled it (it doesn't take much to total a 14 yo car), I'd be driving it today.

9. Toyota Camry the First- Black, fast, racy, and short-lived. It threw a rod, leaving us stranded in the dessert.

10. Toyota Camry the Ugly- My current car knows what I think of her ugly color, but she also knows how much I love her and her reliability. The poor old thing has 190,000 miles on it, but I have every reason to believe I'll be able to drive her for a few years more.

What's your ride and do you love your car, or are you as ambivalent as I? 


It IS the Process

While working on my projects, both knitting and sewing, I am aware at how much I love the slow process that is crafting. There is no reason to rush to the end and every reason to enjoy the process. I love to become lost in the flow of of the process and to let the love of the art take over. 

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When sewing my Alabama Chanin market bag I have had times of being completely unaware of what is happening around me. It started with pinning the two pieces of fabric together, working from the center out. The next step is to cut the thread and to "love the thread",  and then, needle the thread. After my needle is loaded with a properly loved thread, I start stitching from the inside of the design to the outer edges.  You might be able to tell by this photo, I am almost through this part of the process. The next step will be to cut the fabric to allow a red layer to show in the petals. If you would like to know more about the Alabama Chanin process I recommend looking through the AC Journal. Here's a video on "loving your thread".

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Every step of this process is "fun", enjoyable, and each step is part of the journey of creating my market bag. By purchasing a kit, I gave over part of the process to the AC factory. They stenciled the design, cut the fabric, and labeled each piece of the bag. I was happy to have them simplify my process and allow me to do what I thought would be most enjoyable. Even though, I'm not very far into my first AC project, I'm dreaming about what my next project will be.

After reading Ann Shayne's post about her adventure with AC (and a trip to India), I may add a few beads just to see what that process is like. Besides, every life can use a little "bling", right Vicki?


Autumn Readiness

The nice thing about condo life is ease with which we can be ready for winter. No outside work needs to be done, no repairs, no winterizing, no need to put anything to bed. Thank isn't to say there isn't plenty to do around the house, or in the community garden, but having the yard and house taken care of by others, certainly frees up ones time. My list of 10 Things I Do To Get Our Home Ready for Fall is.

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1. Clean up the patio and put patio furniture under cover to protect it from the upcoming weather.

2. In the garden we harvest, weed, discard vines and tomato plants, till the soil, plant fall crops (garlic and onions), cover the ground with mulch, and wash our hands of it until next spring. By the time the harvest is gathered and the garden put to bed, we're happy the season is over.

3. Empty the carport garden pots and tuck them away for the winter. Next year we'll plant differently, as the tomatoes didn't do well because of the extra heat fom the asphalt and the lack of afternoon sun. Herbs and flowers will be enough.

4. It's been a year since we last organize the freezer and it's time to nake room for the garden harvest. How everything can become so discombobulated, I'm not sure. We only freeze a few things, but having summers bounty at the ready brings a little summer into the winter kitchen.

5. Plant bulbs in the front garden to replace the bad bulbs planted last year and hope they don't fail again. I like a little flower show in late winter, early spring, and I hope to have a better showing next year.

6. My wardrobe is small and the only change I make is to add an extra layer of clothing, such as a sweater or a shawl, always, always a shawl. It's time to check over my favorites and make sure they are cleaned, repaired, and blocked.

7. Organize clothing by repairing, washing, and readying garments and shoes that need attention. Yesterday I dropped off a pair of shoes for repair and a coat that needed to be pressed. I also need to check my decreasing number of hand knit socks to ensure any needed repairs are done before a bigger hole appears...a stich in time and all that.

8. Make sure the electric blanket is in working order and there are enough extra blankets and throws to keep the chill at bay.

9. Check the furnace and change the filters to make sure everything is in working order when needed. It is not enjoyable to spend a freezing cold night (or longer) in ones own home.

10. Ummm, relax and enjoy a job well done?

Better late than never. I wrote this last night, but forgot to publish.

I'm not ready to say good-bye to summer! What about you?


Weekending

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Saturday, Smith and I had a well deserved night on the town to see one of our favorite jazz artists, the pianist, Monty Alexander.  It's been several years since we walked around our fair city, which means we were treated to all sorts of new sites.

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Murals adorn walls that were once blank or covered with ads, and objects of art dotted the streets. Seeing how my city had changed, how full it was of unique art, and how alive the streets were, gave me renewed hope for this once dying downtown.

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One thing is certain, I'm going to take more time to be a tourist in my own city. There's so much to see and do and I can't wait to return.


Currently...

This meme has been going around for awhile and I always enjoy reading "currents", because they're a one post way of finding out more about friends lives.  At the moment I am...

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Watching ... the autumn colors slowly creep over the face of the mountains.

Reading ... well, rereading Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson, who is one of my favorite authors, as my book group decided to read it. This has been the summer of rereading.

Knitting ... really, truly, and honestly, I have been knitting, but the task has been arduous, between all of my tinking and the ongoing arm pain. I've plans to show you my project next week. I'm also sewing my Alabama Chanin project. More on that later, too.

Dreading ... washing the rocks on the patio, as they need to be cleared detritus before they're returned to the garden. We haven't come up with an efficient idea for getting the job done.

Listening to ... my favorite radio station, KRCL, 90.9, community radio at its finest.

Thinking about ... the Alta Knitter's Retreat is at the end of the month. Yay!

Celebrating ... today! My re-birth was 5 years ago today. Can you believe it?! And Happy Birthday to my dear friend, Kim. Let's celebrate!

Planning ... Smith is working so I'm planning a night out with a girlfriend 

Itching to ... get back to pilates after a two week hiatus due to a bad knee. I hope my knee's ready for Saturday!

Drinking ... a cocktail, from BarX. I'm not drinking it at the moment, but it's what I had last night when out with grrlfriends. We celebrated!

Needing to ... finish cleaning the guest room, as a friend is coming at the end of the month.

Organizing ... a closet in the guest room. It must be faced.

Inspired by ... Intagram and the dozens of photographers who share their work with a quick photo and a few hash tags.

Delighted by ... knowing Saturday night we a concert to attend. Smith was able to get the day off and we have tickets to our first jazz concert in 8 years. So much has happened over that period of time and we've decided to celebrate.

What's happening for you this week? 


Upheaval

You've seen the wall of my patio in many finished project photos...

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..you've seen, and maybe even sat in, the red (plastic) chairs.

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 You've seen the lantern covered with snow, rain, and knitting...

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 ..as well as, the rocks (and debris)  of my zen garden.

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The wall is being replaced with white plastic, which Smith and I really don't want, but, when you live in a condo, someone else rules and you get what they want. The wall will be fine and we'll do our best to cover some of its whiteness. The lantern will return to its spot in the corner, the rock will be washed and put back in place, and next summer we'll find new furniture.

Hopefully, it won't be too long before everything is back in its place and we'll be able to hang out before the temperatures turn too chilly.


And...ToT is Back!

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Carole asked us to list 10 Books That Have Stayed With You Long After You've Read Them. So, in no particular order:

1. To Kill a Mocking Bird-Harper Lee ~ Harper Lee wrote a book that speaks to many people on many layers and it is a book I could read over and over again. If you haven't read it you should put it at the top of your TBR list.

2. Light in August-William Faulkner ~ This is a recent read and it is my first Faulkner. Detractors say the sentences in this book are overly long and that Faulkner is over the top descriptive, which can become boring to some. I found this book transported me to a time and place, that it set the characters in front of me almost as if I were watching a movie, and I was able to see the whole book in my minds eye. I felt the southern heat, I looked into the light of the landscape, and I felt wrapped up in the lives of each character.

3. Catcher in the Rye-JD Salinger ~ Holden Caulfield forced his way into my heart and he is another character I could see in my minds eye and feel his emotional state. It's been years since I read this book, but it has stayed with me.

4. Garden of Evening Mists-Twan Eng Tan ~ Tan writes of memory, forgetfulness, acceptance, and war, as Yun Ling, a Supreme Court judge in Malaysia reflects upon her life. The Garden plays a roll in the unfolding of her story. This was my favorite book of 2012 and, imo, it should have won the Booker Prize.

5. Love in the Time of Cholera-Gabriel Garcia Marquez ~ This is a book I've read a couple of times, because I enjoy the way Marquez weaves a story by using stories within the story and interconnecting them throughout. The colors and characters of Marquez's world came alive in this book.

6. Constellation of Vital Phenomena-Anthony Mara ~ Early last year I read this book and recommended it to anyone who would listen. This is a difficult story told about a group of people surviving in war-torn Chechnya. Despite years and years of war, their spirit of hope kept them going through the horrific circumstances. The story is heart-wrenching, but I couldn't put it down.

7. Painter of Silence-Georgia Harding ~ The story is merely sketched in, in the beginning, but as the story unfolds, it fills in like a full color painting. Locating a copy of this book is difficult, but I read it via Audible and the narration was perfect.

8. Why I Wake Early-Mary Oliver ~ As someone who wakes early and who loves the beauty of nature, Mary Oliver uses words in a way I can not.  At the beginning of the day I'll pick up this book and read one of the poems, as it is like saying a prayer to the day.  Mary's joy, and her glorifying in the beauty of each day, is contagious.

9. All the Light We Cannot See-Anthony Doerr ~ This is my favorite book this year (so far). The story moves back and forth between two characters, a young French girl and a young German boy, telling their separate stories as WWII unfolds. As the title suggests, it is full of darkness and light, readable characters, and a plot that unfolds beautifully.

10. Dandelion Wine-Ray Bradbury ~ This is not your normal Bradbury, as it isn't science fiction. The main character is a 12yo boy, who becomes aware he is alive during his summer of running free. The joys of summer in a small town are tempered with the realities of life. I've read it several times and would love to read this book at the beginning of every summer.

The books on this list are only a smattering of favorites and it's the list I could pull out of my head in a hurry (with the help of Goodreads). I'd be happy to answer any questions you have about my list or any of the books on it.

Please share one of your most memorable books in the comments. I'd love add more to my TBR list.


September 3rd

I'm trying to capture every bit of sunshine I can.

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Sunrise

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Sunset

We drove out to the Great Salt Lake to watch the sun as it slipped behind the hazy horizon. Our inland sea has a distinct smell, but the cool breeze, and lapping waves gave me the sense of peace.

As the light of day shortens, the suns warmth wanes, and the colors of leaves and light change, the calm of acceptance fills my heart. Watching the change of seasons and the changing light, as it moves away and returns, is one of natures beautiful gifts.