Officially Summer

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There was a reason we took an extra day off for this first weekend of summer. Memorial Day Monday is notoriously crowded no matter where you go, but on Tuesday, everyone goes back to work and peace reigns.  Our Favorite Breakfast Spot is very crowded on weekends, but during the week there is no wait and the kitchen can prepare a meal to my specifications. It felt so good to once again be sitting on the deck in the clean mountain air.

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The day after a holiday is the perfect time to visit Silver Lake because everyone else was there for the Holiday and we had the trail mostly to ourselves. The aspens have not yet leafed at this elevation and the meadow was filled with dried grasses. Since snow totals were higher than they've been the past few years, there is a good amount snow yet to melt. Silver Lake sits in a glacial bowl and is fed only by snow runoff. This year the lake is fill nearly up to the boardwalk.

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On the backside of the lake where the walkway wends through the forest, we had to hike over piles of snow and jump over streams of running water. Parts of the lake were still iced over. The sounds of birds filled the air, a sure sign of mating season, but we did not hear the usual scolding of squirrels or the quacking of ducks. We also did not see moose (as we have many times in the past) but we did hear a frog, Our first ever!

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Part of our afternoon was spent in the garden, but I returned home to get out of the sun and relax a little. I did a little knitting and reading before starting preparations for a nice dinner together. While working around the house I listened to The Queen of the Night, a book that has everything! Intrigue, sex, prisons, murder, mystery, music, PLUS, beautiful descriptions of gowns and costumes* (after all it is historical fiction of an opera singer's life during Napoleon the IIIs reign). I rarely read books of this genre, but I'm trying to stretch my reading muscle. I decided on the audio format because the book is quite long (over 600 pages) and when listening I can use my hands to get things done. Best of all, this book fits on both my Read Harder list (historical fiction set before 1900), as well as fills a Bingo square (set in a place you'd like to visit). Win-win! 

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Yarn is wound, directions printed, and needles at the ready, but I have yet to begin my TTL Mystery Shawl. Tonight will be quiet, which means I'll be able to listen to my book and work through the first clue. I hope to finish the sock this weekend as well!

Enjoy your weekend, my friends. 

*For more information about the costumes and the book, read this Vogue interview with the author, Alexander Chee.


Remembering

I've found it is very easy to walk away from the blog when things start to tilt. There were numerous reasons my voice fled, but two things came along that knocked me off my feet.

Dad last time i saw himDad (2013)

My father passed away on April 29th--not necessarily unexpectedly, but rather suddenly. He was 88 and worked to stay active until the last. He had two buddies, and the three of them liked to drive around and look for new places to explore. For many years they were able to hike the trails of Arizona, but the last couple of years they've explored the back roads in a truck.

The week or so before he'd told me about a day trip they'd taken to a mountain they liked to explore. When they started back down they ended up on the opposite side they'd intended and got a little lost. He laughed as he told me they had to follow the railroad tracks and find a place to cross before they could get back on the right road. He had a blast and said the three of them (one friend older than he) had made a list of places they still needed to see. He certainly loved the landscape, an appreciation he passed on to me. Putting together his memorial service is my next hurdle.

FamilypictureThe last time we were all together (2009).

UnclebobUncle Bob (2012)

A week later we got a call from Smith's cousin letting us know dear Uncle Bob was in hospice. Two days later he passed, which only added to our grief. Grief is heavy. It weights down the heart and changes ones view of the world, at least for awhile. Maybe forever.


So Many Years

Over the years I've taken many knitting classes, several from Nancy Bush, who is our resident guru of all things folk, especially all things Estonian. Nancy taught me to knit socks (cr. 1995), lace, colorwork, and anything folk oriented. She brought in other designers, such as Elizabeth Zimmerman (I missed that class) and Sally Melville. Wooly West was a fabulous shop and we Salt Lake knitters were very fortunate as Nancy brought the world of knitting to our feet. 

This weekend our local Knitter's Guild sponsored classes from the inimitable Nancy Bush and I was fortunate enough to take the Estonian Lace Sampler and a Roositud class. I took the same classes many years ago (maybe 15ish years), but enjoyed them just as much this time around, maybe more. 

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The classes were a birthday present to myself, as today is (are you ready for this,  my 66th birthday. Also, over a dozen years ago I started this blog, so this day holds a double celebration. My life changed the day I hit publish for the first time (2550 posts and 72,000 comments later) and I cannot tell you how fortunate I am to have so many dear friend, near and far, seen and imaginary, as I do today. You have all made my life better, richer, broader, and more dear. Thank you, friends. 


Generosity

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Our Christmas of 2015 was filled with all that's good. We spent with friends who are generous, talented, and who throw great party. Our dear friends Monica and Steve had a crowd over for a Christmas Day feast. Monica not only cooked dinner for a large group, but she also made cookies and treats for everyone to take home (YES, me included!). She is a friend who goes above and beyond. Sadly, I left my camera at home, so you only get a small representation of the treats she made.

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Just as everyone dreams, snow fell Christmas Day covering the ground giving us a picturesque (if not treacherous) day. That night, just as we were leaving to head home, we saw the full moon. It was lovely night cap to our wonderful day.  The day after Christmas, Boxing Day apparently, was picture perfect, with the blue sky making the cold nearly bearable. Smith had the day off which meant we could meet friends for lunch. This time of year is all about sharing time with friends and family and, with our family so far away we feel grateful for our friends. 

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Our fun didn't stop there, as we were invited to have dinner at now-blogfree-Susan's. Cheryl and Larry were there and, once again, we had a really great time. Susan talked us into doing a Yankee Swap, but Cheryl and I were unsure. Holy cow, we had way more fun than expected, with Cheryl bringing the most sought after gift, a unicorn head!  Smith opened it first but Susan's DH thought it too good to pass up and he took possession. (Maybe you had to be there.)  Life is tough when you're a Mets fan, just sayin'.

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A week or so ago our power was out for a few hours and I mentioned how I'd spent the evening wrapped in fleece reading by flashlight. Susan was incredulous that I hadn't wrap up in the warmth of something wooly. She generously gave me her latest project, a huge and beautiful Nuvem. I feel so fortunate to have a warm, cozy, BIG blanket of a wrap whenever the cold starts to creep into my bones.

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I have been knitting! And, to do my own bit of paying it forward, I started a pair of gift mitts using Gale Zucker's new pattern Trip Mitts. They're quick knitting and have a fun, rustic, and very charming look. Did I mention how much fun I'm having knitting them?  They're just what you need when a little instant gratification is in order. I'm ending my year by knitting this pair and starting 2016 with another gift pair (just to even things out).

How are you beginning your knitting year? Something fun, something adventurous, something for yourself?

Have a very Happy New Year, friends!

 


Currently

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Listening to....We went to a concert Saturday night (Jeff Hamilton Trio) and we have been listening to the CD we bought while there. FANTASTIC!

Thinking about... The fun weekend we had with not one, but TWO date nights. We saw Spectre, the newest Bond, which was too long, but kind of fun. 

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Dreading... The inversion, commonly known as the "dreaded inversion". It's here. I'm just dreading it will stick around.

Planning... To turn blue again.

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Celebrating... Chanukahmas (all month long) We love to celebrate the light!

Drinking...Water, wine, whiskey and tea

Itching to...Finish my AC bag (maybe soon!)

Needing to... Shop for Christmas

Organizing... I should be organizing my time, but it seems to be slipping through my fingers. 

 How are things in your world? 

 


Day 20: A Smaller World

One of the reasons I started an account at Postcrossing was to bring the world to my door. The idea of getting mail from around the world was very enticing. It's unlikely I'll ever travel outside the USA and it's even more unlikely I'll travel the around the world, but a postcard in my mail box from Germany, Ukraine, Australia, Malaysia, Russia, France, China, or Brazil, makes the world feel a smaller place. I have postcards from all across the world, over 160, so far.

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The postcards can be anything the sender likes, but my listed preference are of landscape, costumes, crafts, birds, the sky, and something a little different, but used in many cultures, the umbrella. 

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I now have a little collection of umbrella postcards and another of birds. Many Postcrossers send pictures of their landscape, native costumes or crafts. Some send a postcard they find funny or poignant. Everyone writes a little something on the card--sometimes a lovely note, sometimes a simple greeting. Any postcard is a welcome sight in  my mailbox. 

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When my postcard arrives at its distant destination my address is given to another Postcrosser somewhere else in the world. I never get a postcard back from the person who sent it, unless we agree upon an exchange or become pen pals. The point of Postcrossing is to connect the world on a small scale and with a postcard you start a chain reaction of kindness and connection, final destination unknown.


Our Day Together

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We walked around the lake, what better place to be on a gorgeous fall day? At that elevation, not many leaves were left on the aspens, just one tree in 10,000 had its golden curls.  The water went from choppy from the cold wind, to clear as glass in about 3 1/2 seconds.  

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After the lake we drove up and over the mountain down into Park City and, because the day was clear (thank you breeze), we stopped to see the view from the top of the pass. We could see all the way to the Uinta mountains and the low hanging clouds that always dot their skies. 

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The day was fine, the weather warm and gentle, one of the last amazing fall days we'll have this year. The weather has turned towards the cool, even the cold, as a storm approaches and the skies cover with gray. We enjoyed our beautiful day together, with time to talk, time to walk, and time to laugh.  We know there will be many more perfect days, but for now, we head back to work, to face the chill of coming weather, and to find scraps of evening time to spend together. This is life.