Lots of News

Since I retired I have spent more on gas than I ever did when I made my short commute to work. Every week it seems I am filling up the tank! Last week was another busy one with hardly any time to rest. I drove miles and miles north of the Salt Lake Valley and and miles and miles south. This week I am exhausted and trying to keep my schedule a little lower key. Being on the go produces lots of news worthy happenings (at least newsy for my small life). 

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Thursday I traveled to Utah County (Provo/Orem area) to see my sister's new home. They are relocating from Omaha to Utah after 40 years+ of living away. There are 6 girls in my family (one boy) and 3 of us spent the day together helping Karen pick paint and carpet to redecorate her new house. She has a lot of work to do before she can move in and years of work ahead to make the house and yard her own. It will be nice to have her back in Utah. 

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Friday I came home from swim class and saw that one of my neighbors was having an estate sale. I was a little alarmed as she has been in assisted living (memory care) for some time. Of course one can't help but think the worst has happened (but then I hadn't heard anything). I found out she is alive and well (expect the memory thing) and her family was just thinning out the collected treasures of past generations. The glassware, silver service, china, and furniture was all of beautiful quality. If someone was a collector of anything from jewelry to fancy dinner service, they would have found just the thing. I am not a collector of anything, but I have an appreciation for the past. Mike (as she was called) was also a needleworker and as soon as I saw this chair I knew the work was hers. I stood before it knowing it had no business being in my house. It works with none of my decor (such as it is) and fits nowhere. No.where. But, I couldn't leave it behind. Now I have no idea what to do with it (except sit on it), but I am happy that it is mine. 

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This is a desert, but April and May can be quite wet. We don't complain about the rain, unless it comes along at inconvenient times. Every afternoon there has been a thunderstorm boil up and, unlike last week, the rains have come down. Usually they last only a short time, but the ground gets a much needed drink and the garden is happy. However, I am constantly dragging the patio cushions from the chairs and tucking them into a safe dry corner. It is a bummer I have to do this every day, but the rains have kept the garden watered and the air cool. Like I said, no complaints. My flower pots are also very happy. 

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I won't keep you in suspense any longer, although I think most of you already know the BIG news. Sunday night we drove north 40 miles to look at a litter of nine schnauzer puppies. A lovely family had both doggy parents, which we got to meet (and wanted to bring home with us) and all nine of their beautiful babies. What a treat to see the whole family and make friends with all. 

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Three of the nine (salt and pepper)

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Two black and silver, one white

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Rocio with Mom and Dad 

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Dad and three of his babies

28389953298_19d13588b7_kOur boy on the right (4 weeks old)

It took us forever to choose (how do you leave any of those babies behind!?) and I'm sure the family was more than ready for us to leave, but we finally made our choice out of the nine. We picked the one that will look most like his daddy, Chico. We're thinking through names and testing how this or that feels on the tongue and in our hearts. (We have had a tradition of picking names that start with "M", so we are limited.) Smith and I are THRILLED, scared, and so very excited! We will visit as we can, as he is only 4 weeks old and we would like to wait until he is at least 7 or 8 weeks. What do you think?!!  


As Time Goes By

This post was intended for last week, but Monday went by, Tuesday went by, Wednesday went by, and then I just gave up. But, I've finally put together a little catch up to give you an idea of what's been happening around here.

Celebrating! 

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A week ago Friday I spent with my kid sister (she 24 years younger than me) while she walked to receive her diploma from the University of Utah College of Education. She has reached her life goal of becoming a teacher! She had been working full time and going to school full time until this year when she started student teaching. Two months before the end of the school year she was asked to take over a Kindergarten class. I don't know how she did it all, as she is also the mother of two teenage boys! I am SO excited for her! Way to go Jana!  

Wondering!

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This beautiful, graceful flower showed up in a corner of our garden and we had no idea what it was or how it got into our vegetable garden. I put a picture on Instagram and instantly got an answer from Eileen. She foretold of horrors as the plant is an invasive weed and will take over lawns and spread never to be eradicated! It has the angelic name of Star of Bethlehem. I carefully dug out the bulbs, trying to get every one large and small. They seemed to multiply right before my eyes and I'm afraid I may have left one or two behind. I may be digging this invading flora from my garden all summer long.

Enjoying!

 SPRING!

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Cheryl sent me a message that the wisteria was blooming at Red Butte Gardens and a day or two later I ran up for a quick morning stroll. WOW! The scent, the color, the variety and beauty of the blossoms just made my heart soar. The Garden's are full of blossoming flowers but the only thing that had my eye was the wisteria. 

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When I walked past this wisteria and blossoming viburnum their two scents mingled and I about fell over. They filled the air and I felt as if I were in an enchanted garden. As Kym would say, #flowersaremagical. 

Family! 

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My niece's son had a baseball game last Friday. As the game started down came a light rain, but one inning in the rain changed to a steady pour and both teams got wet as could be. (Thank goodness for the big umbrella Shauni and I shared.) Nine year olds don't care about the weather and they played a good game. Jaren, just got an RBI and was pumped and ready to give his mom a high five! He had also fielded a ball to stop a winning run in the inning before! Despite the wet weather a good time was had by all. Go Jaren! 

Fiber! 

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Saturday morning, in the pouring rain, I drove 45 minutes north to take a  silk scarf dyeing class at the Great Basin Fiber Fair. The teacher talked about the color wheel and then showed us how to mix the dyes and dye our scarves. Each group got to use the colors of the other two groups so we ended up with three different color ways. The class was easy and informative and it felt great to walk away with three beautiful scarves. 

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After class I walked around the marketplace and had a great time running into people I hadn't seen for awhile.  There were many beautiful yarns, fleeces, handmade objects, looms, brooms, and all sorts of fascinating fibery wares. I also visited with Nancy Bush and took a walk down memory lane, as I touched all the beautiful lace creations she'd brought from Estonia and remembered the many unique techniques I've learn from her over the last 30 years(!)! 

Loving!

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My neighbor has a large patch of lilies of the valley that is just starting to bloom. As you walk by a faint scent of floral soup wafts on the air and turns your head. The flowers are tiny, delicate, and loving the rain. I watch over the patch as they seem precious and in need of a guard to keep them safe. That isn't true, they should be fine where they are, as they are, but they have a way of inviting me to care.

I'm heading over to the garden today to check on what's been growing and make sure I have pictures to share with Bonny. I also plan to have a post for Unraveled this week as well (fingers crossed)! 


Nature's Beauty

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Last week the weather guy told us the possibility of more frost was minimal as they average last date of frost was April 23rd. He was going to plant his tomatoes because he was sure there was no threat of a killing frost. That may well be, but despite his predictions we had snow yesterday. It rained buckets in the morning (and snowed for a short while), but by afternoon we had a cool breeze and sunny blue skies. The next two nights we'll be on frost watch as Smith planted a dozen tomato plants on Sunday! 

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Our condo grounds house over 100 trees of various varieties, about half and half deciduous and fir.  My knowledges of trees is very small, but I know we have Sunburst honey locust (no pods or throrns) and Ponderosa pines outside our door. We have several flowering trees, some pink blossoms, some white blossoms. All the crab apple and Russian olive were removed (trash trees) years ago. That's the long way of telling you about the many beautiful Kwanzan cherry trees. The one across the street from our condo was gloriously pink, with large blossoms (above!) that weighted down the branches. Here it is with the additional weight of snow! 

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One of the trees has been here far longer than we have and it is half dead with a gnarly trunk, but still, it is so beautiful in its own way. Eventually the management will have to removed it, as there are fewer branches alive than dead. In it's hay day every branch was covered with pink frilly blossoms, so thick the tree looked cuddly and the limbs simmered with shades of vibrant pink. When the blossoms fell the walk below was thickly carpeted with petals, a pink glorious carpet that made the heart sing. But, every year winter has taken its toll and now only a few blossoms dot the aging limbs. 

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 This year the poor tree is showing its age (I know how it feels!), but it is blossoming and trying to share its beauty and grace. We should all age as gracefully as this old tree. I love the gnarled trunk and the way the roots wrap the terrain and keep it upright. 

Smith Wassmer paintings

A few years ago (2004) my very dear friend, Thom (now gone), gave me the gift of a small painting by a well known local artist, Ted Wassmer. I have kept the painting and the sweet note Thom sent tucked away, but this year the struggling Kwanzan cherry reminded me of his gift (Dance of Spring) and I've decided to have it framed. (I know! Why did I wait?!) Do you see the resemblance to the brave old tree? I feel the gift is double fold, as the painting has come to life. 


Pocket Poem

The poem I share with you today was written by me! I am not much of a poet as I have only written one or two (the other I can't remember) and a haiku here and there (which I don't remember, either), but I give you the words that came to me while listening to a robin yesterday morning. 

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I used an image of my handwritten poem, in the style of Tyler Knott Gregson (@tylerknott). I heard an interview with him on To the Best of Our Knowledge.* He writes poems either by hand or on an old typewriter and posts them to Instagram. He is a master poet, every poem beautifully crafted. 

Happy Poem in Your Pocket Day! Thank you, Kym, for the encouragement to post today. 

*There is also an interview on TTBK about how knitting can improve your health. 


Three Months in a Trice

Anyone remember me?

Sometime back in mid-February this happened--the beginning of the end. How I mourned my beautiful amaryllis and the light she brought to the drear of winter. 

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Towards the end of February this happened and, as you know, when a dear friend from a far off place pops in, the heart just soars. It was so nice to see Laurie and Mr. Etherknitter if only for one night. 

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Also, arriving the last few days of February was much needed snow, which we first welcomed, but when the cold and snow seemed to take hold and stick around for  weeks, we felt it had over stayed its welcome.

40455541165_186342d897_kIt stayed and stayed day after day...

25768761537_4dbc00de4c_kafter day... 

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after day. The storms were spaced far enough apart and the accumulations were small and, in reality, we didn't have much to complain about. I know you know how it feels to have winter come and never seem to leave. The cold was bad enough, but it was the endless days of gray that start to get to me (beautiful as the pictures may be).

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That isn't to say spring hasn't done her damnedest to put on a show. See what you have to look forward to?!! The first trees started blossoming around the first part of April and they've been going on and on. The forsythia, the bulbs, and all the other blossoms that make spring such eye candy, have graced our days, although, I think the peaches, plums, and apricots might have been damaged by frost.

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Brunnera how I love you! As of today she is in full bloom, my favorite spring flower, the delicate, tiny blossoms that furl and grow in cold or warmth, then dot the ground around as the silvery leaves grow and the flowers wan. 

April has been cruel, but she may have turned a corner as the skies have been dynamic, the clouds playfully shaping themselves into all the shapes they can be. I may have been absent from the blog, as well as other on-line sites, but I have been taking daily photos and loving mom nature as much as possible.

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Our new patio furniture arrived during a snowstorm, which turned out to be the last. I know the potential for more snow is about 50-50, but for now, I choose to believe that spring is here and, fickle as she may be, I love her so.

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You Gotta See This

There is grace, laced with anticipation, as this stunning amaryllis shows off more beautifully than I imagined. She is a show stopper and to think there are two more stems with flowers coming, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. I will have more of this beauty to watch well into February. 

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The sweet, charming elegance of a petite double stemmed overachieving soft pink amaryllis is daily eye candy. Six small flowers balance perfectly on her stem, and to think there is still another set of blossoms to come. I am full of awe. 

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The deep red, shot with white, each petal perfectly outlined, the stamens reaching, swooping elegantly out of the center-this amaryllis is the most beautiful of any I've ever had (which, in reality) is few, but I think I have one that will be hard to top. With her three stems the show will continue for a few weeks to come and I will be watching every step of the way. 

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Amaryllis watch this year has been a joy and has fulfilled my wildest dreams!  Happy Weekend, everyone. 


Much Ado

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Can you stand another picture of an amaryllis? I hope so as I can't stop taking pictures of my various beauties. This lovely amaryllis monster happens to be red with velvety edges that just don't quite show in the photo. It is the most luscious color. I'm dying to see it fully open. She has 4 blossom on this stem and two more stems growing.

Along with a few other people, I have been playing around with the Google Arts and Culture app. My favorite part is upon opening the app you'll find several extensive articles on various arts or crafts. The first day I opened the app I found this informative article on Yodoe Umberlla's.  I have long been fascinated by the beautiful paper and bamboo creations and learn so much about the craftsmanship involved with each step. 

Yesterday I came across this article on Frida Kahlo's Wardrobe. I don't know about you, but Frida is one of my favorite artists and I enjoyed reading about her clothing and her life, her pain and sorrows. She had a style all her own. Which I apparently don't as you can see I was compared to "Micky" by the app. Quite a resemblance! Of the four or five choices, this was the one that made me laugh out loud. 

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And, last but not least, I give you my Year of Colour by Makelight, via Instagram. Usually, I don't post often on Instagram (this year will be different as I am posting daily) so I only had a few "dots". Mostly I post pictures of my mountain which has either blue sky above or is shrouded in gray. My year of color is just as I would expect!

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Last Week

Last week was seemingly busy, as there were appointments, classes, and distractions galore. By the time I got through all the blogs I wanted to read and other on-line sites I visit, there was little time left to sit and think through my own thoughts on the day. Limiting my on-line time (something that is a "thing" right now) has been berry, berry good for me. 

I'm an early riser and as soon as I get out of bed, my morning routine comprises of having breakfast and checking several places on-line. Since I need to be out the door by 8:00 to make my early swim aerobics class, my time is limited and I may not get back to the computer until late in the day (if at all). While I was working I only made it to swim class once a week, then change to two days a week when I retired, then three days a week, and now I go every day except Saturday, because Saturday's are just plain crazy at that pool. The workout is fun, different every day, we jump around in the water working our arms and legs and it's a blast. The big plus is my exercise out of the way early in the day. 

Our weather has been almost balmy, with temperatures starting out in the low 30s and heading right up near 50. Most days last week the skies were clear, but there have been a few bad air quality days, as well. I hear a change is in the air and winter may arrive this weekend. I'll believe it when I see it. 

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Last week I had a couple of doctors appointments and I am happy to report my cardiologist gave me a good report! He has a great view of our Oquirrh Mountains, the mountain range on the other side of the valley from where I live. This is the same view I had 8 years ago when I had surgery. Hello, view! I'm happy to see you only once a year. 

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Thursday night just as I ran out the door to snap a photo of the golden glow that topped "my mountain" the neighbor drove by. I only got one blurry photo taken before she engaged me in conversation. By the time we'd finished the golden moment hand passed, but, even a blurry photo of that gold capped mountain is magical. 

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When I look back at my photos of the week I mostly see pictures of amaryllisi, that's multiple amaryllis. The first to bloom (and I know you've seem many photos of it) stands 30" tall and has 6 blossoms, each 7-8" across. The second plant has been slow, because it has a second shoot, but it is starting to open and I can see it has 6 blossoms as well, but I'm sure this plant will be more on the petit side.

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The crimson amaryllis that sits on my desk has three shoots! The bulb had "crimson" written across it when I purchased it in December and I thought that meant the flowers would be red. As it turned out only the stems and buds are a deep red. As the flowers open, I can tell they are shades of pink. 2018 will be my year of the pink amaryllis forest. 

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But, wait! There's more! Can you believe I have an FO? After a wait of 4 years, and constant knitting for 2 1/2 months, I have finished Brickyard! I couldn't love her more, both the yarn and the pattern. She's even had her debut and she was a pleasure to wear. I promise FO pictures (soon) and a full report! The picture makes her look pink, but the color is more of a berry red.

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I have found other things to knit and there has been reading. There have been a couple of closets straightened up and a few things discovered, others discarded. Plus there has been painting, and planning, too. What will be my next sweater (yes! another sweater), will I be able to watercolor or sketch anything half decent for my watercolor class?  And in a bit of craziness I started thinking about February's Month of Letters, which is still a couple of weeks away. I just couldn't help it as I wanted an excuse to go to the stationary store and putter around. As fast as my days are going by it's good to be prepared for the future.


Intentions and Resolutions

Did you have a lovely Christmas and a great New Year celebration? We did! The weather has been unseasonable warm and the air quality not TOO bad. The days between Christmas and New Years were mostly filled with brilliant blue skies and temps near 50, which gave me the chance to head out for a daily walk. Even our one cloudy day was warm. This next week could bring back some of the hazy, yellow inversion, but as long as we don't end up totally socked in, I'll live with it. Did you see the super moon?

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As a new year begins many people start making intentions or resolutions. Truthfully, intentions and/or resolutions have never been my thing and, if  they ever were, I'm sure I've broke them often enough to know there's no changing now. However, I did look around and decide on a few things I might throw into the 2018 ring. 

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Last year I made several pairs of perfectly striped socks but, sadly, the attrition rate from my sock drawer was more than I'd knit. So, I thought I'd keep the sock mojo primed. The only yarn in that photo that hasn't been hanging out in my stash for years is the blue/black yarn, named Electric Slide, which Cara (January One) destashed last month. I'm knitting it first because it's stripy!! The other pair with a bit of ribbing already started may or may not be next. In fact, it may or may not be at all. Time will tell. I also do not intend to stray from my favorite colors of blue and pink (or red) unless something spectacular comes along. 

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My sock drawer wouldn't be in as bad of shape if I ever took the time to mend a few pair of slightly damaged socks (and gloves), but I think I'll just say I should "dedicate" a day to darning which would keep my feet happy. The warmer weather has meant a pair of mitts is all I need to get by in the cold, otherwise, I would have mended the gloves by now.  I'm great at excuses. 

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I AM taking a watercolour class. No intentions there. The teacher (Liz Steel) is in Australia, which is why I've "misspelled" watercolour. I'm a rank beginner, but I'm willing to learn and will (hopefully) get over my impossible fear. The plan is to just have some fun and not try to be upset when things aren't "perfect". Perfection is over rated.  

 And, I plan to finish my sweater (Brickyard) which is in its final inches. Oh, and reading, I'm all about that this year, too! 


Some Fun Stuff

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Friday was a good mail day, although with my Postcrossing addiction, almost every day is a good mail day. This postcard arrived from Russia, a Russian bear in a (what must be) hand knit sweater, with the added plus that the sender had written a very nice note on the back. We're all all about connecting to the world at large. This postcard, along with another I received, was nice on its own, but a great package also arrived.

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Cara had decided to do a little destashing, via her Instagram account, and I was the lucky recipient of this pretty yarn. I had to have it as it is self-stripping and I've missed my self-stripping sock addiction. I had to wind up the yarn immediately as my sock drawer is still losing more than it's gaining. Sock knitting must continue as often as possible. Stripes are easy (with Carole's Picot Edge pattern) and pretty yarn is always a plus. This is called Electric Slide by White Birch Fiber Arts. 

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You were right about my need to be patient when it comes to an amaryllis blossoming. The fancy-smancy amaryllis has growth! Can you see the little tip of a leaf coming up? Kym said that fancier bulbs can take longer than the "store-bought" bulbs.  All three amaryllis are now sending forth shoots. Time will tell if that includes blossoms. 

And, thank you for your help and suggestions on the Christmas cactus. Your comments and links were very helpful as I learned about its needs and I may have narrowed down the problem. Since I bought the cactus in full bloom last year at Christmas time, I'm fairly sure it is a "Thanksgiving" cactus. All its needs seem to be met (water, cool nights, light, but one thing is lacking and that is the darkness it seems to require. I will try covering it and see if that stimulates flowering. There is always next year, but the cactus grows and looks beautiful, nonetheless, and I will keep hope.