Z is for...



Zen is a complicated idea. It is very simple It is hard to understand. It is an easy concept to understand.  Zen is nothing. Zen is everything. 

During my teens, and into my college days, my life was full of anxiety and fear.  My stomach was always in knots and life was very uncomfortable.  All I did was worry and fret.  After my first marriage ended and I was on my own, a bit of enlightenment came to me.  Worry had not helped change the outcome of my feared problem(s) and nothing was ever as bad as I worried it would be. It was then I decided that if the subject of my worry could be changed then I would work toward that change.  If it was out of my control and couldn't be changed, I would work to stop the fretting.

It took practice and patience, but fretting about life has abated, albeit not completely. Life is a process, eh?  Although I am not as Zen as I’d like to be, Zen is part of my daily life.  Zen has helped me find balance, simplicity and peace.

Creation with ones hands is much like the process of life. Step by step we learn a craft, study it, do it and perhaps become a master of the technique.  We can also go through life the same way.  The goal is to live without the sway of emotional attachments, without wishing for the end, but instead, enjoying every step of the process.  We are who we are and life is not an easy road.  We must accept that this is so and take life as it come, enjoy it ALL, as without the darkness you cannot know light.

The Japanese lantern in my Zen Garden,  is a daily reminder to walk the path of non-attachment and to enjoy the journey of creating a life.  The garden is beautiful in all seasons. Its beauty is everything. It's beauty is nothing.

The ABC-Along was such a fun part of blogging this year.  Anne, thank you for this wonderful idea.  We were able to learn things about friends and other bloggers that may not have come to light. So much creativity went into many of the posts.   

If you have participated, and published all 26 letters of the alphabet, you have until December 31st, to put up your last letter (or catch up if need be).  Deb has a fun post that shows all the members of her family catching Zzzzs and Cathy has a post on the best Zoo ever. Anne and I will pick our favorite post, and will also pick a person at random, for a prize. If you haven’t already, please leave a comment, and we’ll put you in the hat for some Xocolate (and maybe an extra surprise, too.)

Y is for....

Yei-bi-Chai    (yay-ba-chay)


This beautiful Navajo Rug hangs over our bed. It has been credited with 'healing' our marriage, as it the dancers symbolize a healing ceremony.  It's been there so long that neither of us remember what year we bought it, but it was while we were on a trip to Bryce Canyon.  We stay in Ruby’s Inn, just outside the park, as they have a good restaurant and a very nice gift shop.

Where did the year go!?  Here we are with only one more letter of the Alphabet for the ABC-Along. Anne's idea was a wonderful way to get to know other bloggers and their part of the world.  Everyone made the ABC Along their own with the entries.  It's been a fun read!   

You have two weeks, actually until December 31st, to put your best letter forward and create a "Z" that is unique yours.  If you have posted all the previous letters you could be in for some prizes, like Xocolate.   Anne and I will pick our favorite and then pick someone randomly for prizes.  Good luck!!

X is for...

Chocolate just has never been a favorite flavor of mine.  As a child, when other kids eating the usual chocolate bars, I was enjoying Big Hunks or or perhaps a Butterfinger. Caramels and bars with nuts were my favorite choices. It wasn't until adulthood that I feel head over heels for chocolate.  REAL deep dark chocolaty goodness....GOOD, real chocolate.  Having one piece of chocolate is often enough for me, but one a day is a must.

Caseofhandmadechocoates Giftchocolatesineverynook Xocolate opened in Salt Lake City a few years ago and it has been difficult to stay away.  Their chocolate is fine, delicious, and completely addicting (in a good way).
The shop is very small, simply decorated and has beautiful xocolate on every wall. Right now they are featuring gift tins of Peppermint Bark for the Christmas Season. Gift boxes and bags are always ready, so you can run in for a quick gift or a special treat for yourself.

Have you been keeping up with the ABC-Along?  If you have a post for every letter of the alphabet then Anne and I have a special treat for you.  We'll pick our favorite "Z" and randomly draw names from all the ABCers, who made it to "Z", and both winners will receive....XOCOLATE! (You must email me so we won't miss your post.)


Post your "Z" before December 31st and then email me (on side bar) so we can check out your post.  Anne and I will pick a winner the first week of 2007.  Now, put on your thinking caps!

W is for....

Walk with me Wednesday in the Wasatch Mountains.

Judy has a wonderful tradition on her blog called 'Walk with me Wednesday' and I have always enjoyed the posts. Sunday, after breakfast, we decided to take one last walk around Silver Lake before it is completely covered with snow. 


Mountainswallownestonsideofnordiccenter_1 Squirrels could be heard chatting and chirping in the trees and we saw their tiny foot prints in the snow. They are the last of the critters to leave this landscape, or so it seems.  The swallows are long gone, leaving behind one lone mud nest under the eaves of the Nordic Center.


Only one small section of the lake was covered with ice, which was, in turn, covered with a thin layer of snow. Ice crystals have formed on the yet to be frozen surface, which resulted in an unusual reflection of Mt. Millicent.

On either side of the path secret formations, that have been hidden by summer foliage, now come into view.  The textures and colors of winter contrast with the pure white snow.

Textureofrockssnowlichen_1 Shadesofwintergreenandwater_1  Texturesofrozenground_1

Treegrowingcrookedhardtoseeinsummer Frostisbrokenunderbridge_1 Walkaroundsilverlakewithalittlesnow

A dusting of new snow has settled on the pines and the air smells rich with wet soil, pine bows and crisp clean air. Gloves and hats are very welcome, as a chilly breeze brushs our cheeks and high gray clouds block the sun.  A quiet peace has come to the lake and it will soon slip into its ice covered shroud of winter.

On the side bar is a picture of Judy and Kim (who also has Walk With Me posts) captured while they were having a fabulous time at Rhinebeck.

V is for...


One of the best things about Vermont is Norma.  She and her welcoming committee member, Vincent, greeted us with open arms.

Norma certainly has her own style and while she may lack true 'Martha-ness' she makes up for it in being 'real', as in being real-ly fun, real-ly crazy, a real-ly good cook!  We had delightful meals, even though we had dessert for breakfast just before heading to Rhinbeck.  But the day before, when we were schedule-less, she made yummy omelettes.  Sadly we were having so much fun that few pictures were taken.  Norma is wicked wacky and the very best host. David, her true blue hubby, is a very fine gent and he and Smith had (and have) stories to share.

Let's go back to the 'V'.

The minute we crossed the border into Vermont the landscape changed.  Large farms were nestled in the green rolling hills and mountain peaks in the distance reminded us that Vermont is the Green Mountain State, a name it deserves (and we know our mountains).


Eventherocksaregreen Norma proudly drove us around her State of residence and we fell in love with its beauty.  Vermont's landscape could not be more different than our own beautiful State.  One of our stops was Smugglers Notch where even the rocks are green! Norma took a very nice picture of me and it turns out she's a real-ly good photographer as Smith didn't have such good luck.

Wedidjeffandhadlovelysandwiches Wecaughtthelastgaspofcolor_1The leaves were in the last gasps of color when we 'did Jeff'. We enjoy a nice meal where Anne and Norma would meet for lunch before Anne moved across the plains to Utah. Smith had the 'The Bill Sandwich which consists of 'Liberal Amounts of Ham, Left cut Swiss, Stone Ground Mustard, Pressed & Grilled on Rye Toast, served with Bush Fries'.  Needless to say Vermont is our kind of place.

LikehomingpegionswecanfindyarnanywhereWhitechurcheswithsteeplesdotthetowns Vermont has that romantic New England look of white churches with tall steeples. While we stopped for this classic photograph we spotted what every good knitter has built in radar to find...a yarn shop!  We perused the small, but nice, selection and reminded each other that Rhinebeck was in one day.

Normacancriveatractoratvtreststop_1 Smithfoundamoosethatwashavingagoodtime Near the end of the sight seeing day we stopped at a rest area and found it had tractors for tables! Norma knows how to drive a tractor as surely any 'real' Vermonter would. After seeing 'Watch for Moose' signs every where, Smith finally found one.  He was quite the guy and Smith enjoyed his company. 

The last picture of the day is of a colorful shoreline taken as we drove across Lake Champlain to the islands. Thank you Norma for a showing us around your beautiful home State.

Smith and I both fell in love with Vermont and it's rural beauty.


It seems Ferdinand Magellan made his way to Utah while I was exploring Vermont. Michelle sent a box full of luscious rovings from Spunky Eclectic (and other fine goodies, too) as she was my Yarn Aboard pal!


From top to bottom you see Delphinium, Hyacinth, Navajo Gems and Poppies.  Michelle said they are all easy spinning rovings which is just what I need to try on my new wheel! Yummy candies are shown, but were soon enjoyed.  She also sent a charming set of note papers and a sample of Eucalan Wool Wash.  It is a fabulous package that arrived just in time. Thank you Michelle and I wish we could have met at Rhinebeck.  Now, I need to ready Ferdinand for his journey to my pal.

U is for....


How could my "U" for the ABC-Along be anything else?

Utah is a place I have had a love-hate relationship all my life.  Not being one of the 'predominate culture' can be rough, but there are too many good things about living in Utah, so there is little need to complain about the not so good.

The number one reason to live in Utah is its beauty.  Northern Utah has the majestic Wasatch and Uinta Mountains, both of which are minutes from nearly every front door.  Recreation opportunities can be had year round and if you don't recreate you can just absorb the beauty by looking up.

Here are a variety of pictures from the Wasatch Range and most of the places shown are minutes from my home.
Summerviewsarewonderfultoo Beautifulviewsatjordanpinesinbccanyon Runoffnotveryhighasyetinapril_1
Silverlakefromabove_1 Yellowmounta Blueskydayathebirdapril_1

Southern Utah is a whole nuther thing. When No. Utah is considered high desert country, the southern part of the state is the real deal when it comes to red rock and sand.  The landscape is very unique and awe-inspiring in a completely different way than the mountain country.  The National Parks of the area are 'must see' destinations if you travel West. 

Deadhorsepointincanyonlands Archesatcanyonlands_1 Kolobcanyonpartofzion
Mountainbikinginthedesrt Redrockslotcanyonwithneena Sunsetzionparkbeautiful
Many of the So. Utah pictures were 'stolen' from my sister Neena's blog.  She lives in Cedar City, home the Utah Shakespearean Festival, another great thing about living in Utah.

Utah Pictures is a fabulous site full of  Utah pictures (what else?) from all over the State.  Be forewarned, there is sound and the first time I heard it I about fell out of my chair. Most of my ABCAlong posts have been places in Utah and you can check them out here.

T is for...


Consider, today, that there is likely no greater gift you can give another person than that of your copious wisdom. It is only when we use our resources and talents to help others achieve their goals that we can feel truly gifted and excited by our successes. In offering the benefit of our experience to people whose dreams run parallel with our own, we channel our abundance into our efforts to improve the lives of people in need of our wisdom and tutelage. As mentors, we utilize our achievements in a benevolent fashion. As a result, we grow alongside our charges, remembering what it is like to be struggling at the start of the goal-realization process. Our own struggles for success are put into perspective, and we can take pride in all we have accomplished. When you use your resources to help others fulfill their dreams today, you’ll feel highly accomplished.

Since 1995 I have been a teacher of needlework. I learned to embroidery at the age of 8 and throughout my life have pursued many forms of fiber art and crafting.  In the mid-1970s I worked in a needlework store and and enjoyed learning different types of embroidery (and knitting).  In the mid-1980s I became more involved with organizations that promoted needlework and of all styles.  Teachers  were brought in to teach new techniques and I loved learning so much I began to travel for lessons. After 20 years of striving to learn all that I could, I am considered proficient in needlepoint, counted thread, Japanese embroidery, Brazilian embroidery, crewel, and silk and metal embroidery.  The local shop knew of my ability and, in 1995, asked if I would teach classes.  It has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

In July the shop was sold and closed for over a month while the new owner redecorated and restocked. When she reopened, we (the students and I) were thrilled! 

All the threads were hung by color and there were many more choices and the variety of painted canvas designs were  much more to our liking.  It's a good change, a much needed change and we couldn't be happier.

The classroom now holds a large table and the walls are covered with possibility.

The beg table is very nice as the classroom can now hold up to 10 students.

JaneisalsoveryindutriouslyworkingIvadeneworkslongandhardonherdesign_1All the students are very good at needlepoint and I have been able to teach them a few techniques to improve their skills.  Together we take a painted canvas and pick threads, textures, colors and stitches to bring the canvas to life.  We strive to create needleart, not just to color and cover the canvas. 

JoanhasaverylargepiecethatisalmostfinishMargaretstitchesbeautifulllyWhile my knowledge is important in the creation of a piece, it is a collaborative effort. We discuss each choice and even try stitches and colors. Some students are very involved in the process of choice and others just want me to decide. They don't know that they really could do well without my guidance, but with my background I can teach techniques they don't know.  It challenges me each time they ask "What should I do here?" or "Is this color a good choice?"  Experience, trial and error and curiosity help in many of the choices.  We have a good time together and that makes class day very enjoyable. 

Margaret brought the last piece we worked together to class last week.  She is an excellent stitcher and, as with many of the other students, has surpassed my stitching skills. She considers this her best piece of work to date. It is truly museum quality stitching and I am very humbled to have a part in the creation of such beautiful art work.

Bestpiecemargarethasdonetodate Click to enlarge

Rarely does anyone in class complain (any more) that a project is taking them too long.  Over the years we have worked together the students have heard me say "It's the process." so many times they could scream.  But, they believe it, they live it, and they love it.

S is for...

Skiing, Snow, Solitude, Snowbird, Silver Lake, Sundance and Silver Fork Lodge.
Utah has the "Greatest Snow on Earth".  Truly.

Skiingatbrightonskiresortindecofive SKIING in Utah is an important part of our economy and it is all because of our wonderful SNOW, scenic mountains, and the ease in which you can go from the airport the ski slopes. Many visitor fly in from the East coast on an early flight and can be skiing right after lunch. Now if that isn't a slice of heaven for a skier...what is?

Silverforklodgeinjanuaryosic SOLITUDE is a favorite place for local skiers. It's about 3/4s of the way up Big Cottonwood Canyon and just above our favorite spot for breakfast, SILVER FORK LODGESolitude's slopes, and other mountain views can be seen from the windows of SF and in the warmer months we love to sit on the deck. SILVER LAKE is in Brighton Township and part of Brighton Ski Resort.  Smith and I are not skiers, but we do enjoy the mountains year round (as you know) and Big Cottonwood is about 5 minutes from our door.

Silverlakeinjulyosixfabulousview Silver Lake Summer

Snowbirdinseasonofosix Just a few minutes south of the entrance to Big Cottonwood Canyon is Little Cottonwood Canyon and two more jewels in the the State of Utah's snowy crown, SNOWBIRD and Alta. Snowbird Resort is full of fun year round and we love to visit and enjoy the mountain air and beautiful views.  Alta has some of the best wildflowers during the spring months and there are many good hiking trails in the area, too. Both resorts are considered world class, but in my humble (OK, not so humble) opinion, they are in a class of their own.

Sundanceinfallocto4 SUNDANCE is on the backside of the Wasatch Mountains and a bit more of a drive for us. It sits on the Alpine Loop, which is part of Utah's Scenic Byway and is one of the best spots to see golden aspens in the fall. Sundance has several excellent restaurants is another nice place to visit year round. The area around Sundance is full of good places to hike, other scenic spots to visit, and abundant beauty.

So, as you can see, while we may have the "Greatest Snow on Earth" our mountain resorts offer spectacular fun and beauty all year round.  They are a SUPER reason to live in Utah.


R is For....

Ruess, Everett - Everett Ruess


Ruess disappeared at the age of 20 in the Escalante wilderness of Southern Utah.  Mystery surrounds his disappearance and many books have been written about his short life. He has grown to legendary status because of the journals and art that he left behind. Ruess' dream was to wander freely and leave no trace, which he did only too well.

Ruessprintsfromsuaw_1 Favoriteruessprintsfromsuwa

Years ago, as SUWA was getting off the ground, they offered prints of the linocuts that Ruess had sent home to his family over the years he trekked through the wilderness areas of the American Southwest. Smith bought a full set of the remarkable reproductions so we would always be reminded of the places and landscapes we love to visit.  Many cover our bedroom walls.  It is almost daily I study the designs in black and wish to be in the desert, to fill my soul, as Ruess did, in the red rock country.


If you like Ruess' prints and postcards they are now available from his family.

Enjoy your weekend and spend some time in a natural landscape if you can.

Q is for...


Little Cottonwood is a shorter wider canyon than Big Cottonwood.  The differences are visible right away as the granite cliffs tower over the road as soon as you enter the Little Cottonwood.


Largestonecutwithlayerofquartz At the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon is the little known Temple Quarry Nature Hike. Here you see Smith and Camille checking out the two large stones left by the quarrymen of the 1850s. This Quarry site is where granite stones were harvested for the Salt Lake Temple and the Utah State Capital. The stone is actually Quartz monzonite which is very similar to granite but has a different ratio of Quartz to feldspar minerals (granite contains more Quartz).  The quarried stone on the right shows the layers of Quartz clearly visible between the outer smooth surfaces. Scroll to the bottom of this site to see a good picture of the Quarry in action.  The picture below shows finger size holes along the edge of a stone where the quarrymen drilled in metal shafts along a natural crack. The shafts would act as wedges so that when the stone was hit with a sledge hammer it would cleave along that line. (This is a bit of an oversimplification but you get the idea, right?)


Glacialrockcreekbed The nature trail is a short hike, but it's mostly shaded and runs along a dry creek bed that is still full of glacial stones.  After spending too much time looking for the trail we found it right where we started...to the right off the parking lot. (Don't ask.) But, it was a nice day to be outdoors and we had had a hearty breakfast at the Fork Lift Restaurant in Snowbird beforehand. My Trekking Sock came along on the journey and I even found time for some extreme knitting.


Today is Susan’s birthday.  She's away for a family vacation, but you could still leave her a Happy Birthday comment.