As Usually Happens

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One thing I consistently lose is track of the time. You will often hear me say on an all to often basis "Where did the time go?!" Crazy! I DO NOT know where September went. It flew by so quickly I could hardly keep up with myself. Another thing I have done consistently is take a daily photo (I hear Mary's voice in my head encouraging me). By way of catching you up I'll give you a quick synopsis of this montage.

~On September 3rd I picked a container of raspberries and we had a few for dessert that night and finished them with breakfast the next morning. Freshly picked raspberries just can't be beat (and we're still picking!)

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~On the 4th day of September I finished On the Spice Market! Since the heat spell broke about 10 days ago, I've been wearing it almost daily. It's a beauty and I'm very happy it's done. The colors are vibrant and the pattern interesting and always entertaining. 

~During the heatwave we had days of smokey air as so much of the west was on fire. Oregon and Idaho smoke filled our valley and made the air dangerous to breath. On the good side, the heat made the garden burst with squash, tomatoes, beans and it brought on the corn, too.

~As the sunflowers unfurled and turned their faces to the sun  the pyracantha produced it's vivid orange berries. The bushes aren't as prevalent as when I was a kid (I know why-the thorns are vicious!). When I spot one it brings on childhood memories, reminding me often of the large hedge at my grandmothers house. 

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~Before I knew it, here it was near the end of the month and time for our knitter's retreat at Alta! We had a great time and reprised our Korean facial masks (kitty face edition), adding even more participants for the face, hand, and foot spa treatments. Warning: laughing is a major side effect.

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~And then, winter arrived! At least at 9,000 feet! Thank goodness the guys who carried our luggage up 64 wooden stairs also volunteered to dig out my car.  I was so happy they were the ones to wrangle 10" of snow off my car.  The snow was confined to Alta Resort with a little more at Snowbird, and the roads were mostly clear as Cheryl and I made our way home. 

~The colors are starting to change in the valley, the days have been a mix of gloomy and gray, sunny and clear. We've had nice evenings in the garden and Smith has been clearing it out and readying the soil for sowing of garlic bulbs, while putting the rest of the garden to bed for the winter. The process will take all month (which will make him happy). 

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~My sister Leeann is staying with me off and on as her husband deals with a major health issue. The hospital is very near and she lives a distance away. She is a lovely guest and I am so grateful I have a place for her. Please send your good thoughts and prayers to her and her husband. He is getting stronger everyday and for that we feel blessed. 


Catching You Up

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Celebrating - Still!  When last I posted you knew this was going to happen. My office threw retirement party in my honor. I can't tell you how surprised (and happy) I was. My office friends are people I will never forget and never give up. One of my girlfriends said she had never seen a smile that big and beautiful on my face--ever. I have to admit it was a pretty great day. 

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Traveling - The very next Monday I took off for my date with Will! Camille and I saw Guys and Dolls, Midsummer Night's Dream and Shakespeare in Love. I enjoyed and loved every single play, each one excellently played. 

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Visiting - My sister, Neena, was kind (and generous) enough to invite us to dinner two nights in a row. She knew eating in Cedar City would be dangerous for a celiac (and she was right). We were treated to delicious duck the first night, and perfectly grilled grass fed beef the next. Her hilarious and kind husband, Don, was also there, but got short shrift in the picture department (he took this one of us). 

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Sightseeing - Camille and I took a day and drove up to Cedar Breaks to see the glorious canyon that is so majestic, unique, and impossible to photograph. We were there at the time of the wildflower festival and saw nearly every color of the rainbow represented in flower form. 

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 I tried and tried to get a good picture of the canyon, which glowed in the cloudy light. Hoodoos became dimensional, while the canyon's depths felt dizzyingly hypnotic. Like I said, it is nearly impossible to do justice to the canyon's color and perspective with a camera lens.   

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Delighted by - TIME! I've been running non-stop since coming back home, that is, until today (yesterday as you read this). Between time in the car (Camille drove the whole trip), and snatches of time here at home, I've been able to finish the long suffering socks. This is my fourth pair of perfectly stripy socks in the last year. I am finished with stripy socks, for now. 

Reading (and listening) - I've finished four books since retiring and have two more in the works. Lab Girl, was the latest and my favorite of the lot. I credit Vicki with my desire to read this book as she gave it 5 stars, which it truly deserved. Hope Jahren's writing on science never got boring or became difficult to understand (for a non-sciency person). This book is a memoir about her life (her very interesting life) and the story is fascinating and packed with emotion. This is a great book to listen to as it's read by the author who isn't afraid to tell of her weaknesses (and strengths) throughout.  

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Hanging - Pictures in my bedroom, which have been sitting around since we finished painting the room, about (or over) a year ago. I also hung pictures above my desk and have more pictures yet to go (which is why I stocked up on nails).

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Walking - I took a walk around Silver Lake (my first since last summer!) and found many wildflowers still in bloom. I missed the Silver Lake iris, but caught the tail end of the elephant head and bog orchid season. I found a columbine which had color, which was exciting, as I have only ever seen pure white at the lake. I didn't see a moose, but did see a doe and her fawn (too far away to photograph). I expect my trips to Silver Lake will increase as summer's days decrease. I have a chance to enjoy summer before it's over and for that I am very grateful! 


6 on 6

June 6th sneaked in and smacked me upside the head. So many, too many, things are happening. I decided to take a cue from Honoré and write a 6 on 6 post for today.

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Our weather went from freezing (literally) to near 100 degrees within a couple of weeks. Nature is crazy, this year more than any other! In actuality, the garden is doing well with the weather extremes, but I think they'll be happy when a cool down comes in the end of the week. Smith and I went to a small local nursery last week and bought flowers for the patio and a few more peppers and tomatoes for the garden.  I'm excited about the garden, more so this year than in the past, because...drum roll, folks....

My retirement date is July 14th!!! Seriously, I had doubts this day would ever come, but a few stars aligned and helped it happened.  The plan is to make my new life into something that doesn't involve a job, or at least, a full time job. Summer looks like a blank pallet ready for me to mix the paint.

I'm working on my Book Bingo card, but because last week was just so busy, I'm feeling a bit behind in my reading. That is something I think will change (in July!!!). The list of books I want to read grows and grows and I may be doing some finagling to get a few titles  work--like putting a round pegs into a square holes.  I am the boss of my Book Bingo, right? Sing it! However, I do not see a Bingo in the near future. 

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I knit, therefore I am. Yes! Knitting feeds my soul. It is my social life, my creative life, and the "thing" that grounds me. I'm quite in love with the two projects on my needles and I am anticipating the TTL Mystery Shawl, which is set to drop on the 15th! Kim from The Woolen Rabbit has my order for two beautiful colors of yarn (Think Pink!) and I'm ready and willing to get started. On the Spice Market may be set aside for the month, but here's a little 411 about it. The yarn is Marianated Yarns Dragon Scales Set, with Steady Rain as the main color. If I had to guess, I'm about a third of the way through.

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Clever Octopus collects craft supplies that are no longer wanted by other crafters. They have yarn, fabric, paper, tiles, beads, paints, etc., etc., etc. (on and on). Instead of buying brand new supplies you can pick up perfectly useful, and almost like new, supplies for your projects. If needed they offer guidance to help with your effort, plus they have organized classes. A few weeks ago I took a mosaic class at the Clever Octopus (Susan was there, too.) I signed up for the class, as it's an art I've long wanted to explore. My rather primitive blue bird makes me smile and I learned a few techniques in one short evening. The mosaic brick now greets visitors at my front door. Did I mention I'm retiring?! Exploring new crafts, ideas, and techniques is one thing I plan to do with my "free" time.

I joined the neighborhood community center and have been going to water exercise classes. The ladies are fun, talkative, and welcoming.  Some have been going for years and have a lot of tips on what to do with your time once retired. They told me about the senior center next door, but I don't feel like a senior citizen! The workout has been good for my hip, but I'm headed for X-rays because the pain is fairly constant. Hopefully, strengthening the muscles will only do it good! 


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... 


Eye Candy Fun

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Thank you, Vicki! I'm totally in love with the Prisma app and the all the many ways it can change one of my simple photographs. 

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Love this birdhouse created with Prisma Love!

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Eye Candy created with Prisma Candy Paper Art.

I've been going a little crazy trying one effect after another. The reason I dropped was to tell you enjoy the weekend. Our weather this weekend looks quiet wonderful, albeit with a little fall in the air. As you well know, I am not ready for the summer to end and I'll take every warm and sunny day that's offered. 


Bingo-ed!

BOTNS Bingo

I got one Bingo and I'm closing in on two more! Yesterday Carole mentioned The Gilmore Girls would be returning to Netflix. I've never seen an episode and I hope to do a little watching when they're back on the air. From what I hear, a book was mentioned on almost every episode and, as it happens, Buzzfeed has published a list  with over 300 of the books. How very lucky, as I have a square on my Bingo card for the Gilmore Girls.

This week the longlist for the Man Booker was announced and I'm enthralled. I look forward to delving into some fantastic reading, but for my Bingo square I'm considering a couple of past winners. 

My favorite Bingo books so far are The Secret Scripture (I've read this book 3 times), Mothering Sunday, Chicago, and Love Poems. I'm a fan of Irish novels and The Secret Scripture is quite a tale. I now want to read everything the author, Sebastian Barry, has written. Mothering Sunday was a tongue in cheek stab at British society. Love Poems had rhythm, wordplay, and smart use of language, which reminded me of hip-hop. Chicago has some very memorable characters, including most of the tenants of the apartment building, but Edward the dog stands out. You may remember hearing about the author as he wrote, Mink River.

Runner ups were Cocaine Blues (just for fun), Homegoing, and House at the End of the World. I'm now reading Dandelion Wine (which I read every summer or two) and I'm anticipating The Sellout, Outline, and finishing Hour of Land, which is going to take me most of August. 

I hope for more reading time this weekend as temperatures will still be around 100 or so. There are a few other plans in the works, too. Have a wonderful weekend!


Blow By Blow

Wednesday, July 13th - The Cottonwood Presbyterian, the church that allows SOUL Community Garden to use their land, had a social with all the summer foods you'd expect and a band to play oldies so the crowd could dance the evening away.

Friday, July 15th - Smith and I had a lovely evening of sushi shared with friends, Smith worked most of the weekend and Friday was his only night off. There was a lot of eating, drinking, and being merry, as befitted a Friday night after a week of work. (Not that the weekends aren't spent working, but that's a different story.)

Saturday July 16th- Lunch with a friend I haven't seen in awhile. Incredibly, I had sushi yet again and it was even more delicious (if that's possible) than the night before.  A few hours later I had dinner with another friend, but begged her to choose anything other than sushi. We took a trip to India and had aromatic, spicy, and flavorful tikka masala and coconut korma (among other things). I ate my way through the weekend and broke the bank in the process. All the food was worth every penny. Time with friends is priceless.

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Between lunch and dinner I made a quick stop at a family reunion just in time to play a few rounds of Bingo. Last year I won a couple of times, but this year I had no luck, just a great time with my sister and few members of our mother's family. Time with family is priceless, too.

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Sunday July 17th- Sunday is traditionally SnB, knitting with friends. Sometimes it's just Cheryl and I, but usually there is a group of 4 or 5, always fun. The rest of my afternoon was spent weeding and water in the garden. The hour and half I spent there it was 100 degrees (10% humidity) and I became very overheated. The watering had to be done, as plants also suffer when it's that hot. All evening I sat in front of a fan trying to cool off whilst sipping cold white wine.

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Tuesday night Smith was free!! And, we decided to spend the evening with Larry and Cheryl at one of SLCs fabulous free summer concerts. City Jazz Big Band was in fine form playing swing, jitterbug, the waltz, cha-cha, and so much more. There were many practiced dancers showing off their skills and I was even asked to dance, although I am a terrible dancer. (Smith is resolute in his desire to NOT dance.)

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When I realized the last time I'd talked to you was July 7th I was sad (and embarrassed). Life is busy, s much more happening than I've shared with you here, but nothing earth shattering, just hectic and energy sapping (physic energy sapping). Summer is slipping away, although we are in an epic heatwave, I have watched as the light changes, disappearing in the morning and the evening.

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I have been reading when I can, but the illusive bingo has not been caught. I am stuck in two densely worded books (books worth the time and effort), and looking forward to moving on to something shorter, maybe lighter, and quicker. I desire a bingo or three! The two books taking my time are The Hour of Land (Time Travel) and Homegoing (Set in Africa). Yes, I am stretching the meaning of "Time Travel", but the evolution of our National Parks fits the bill, imo.

Somewhere along the way I made a miscalculation of on my TTL Mystery. Not only did I mistakenly tell several people I was on Clue 4--I have spent a fair amount of time frogging clue 3 and I'm still not through it! I made mess of row 14, which meant some fudging had to be done over rows 16 & 18. I wouldn't bet my life on it, but it looks like I am finally on track and may make it to Clue 4 this weekend. The shawl may even be finished by the end of summer. I have hope!

Monday is Utah's Bigass Holiday! Really big! The date should actually be the 24th of July (Pioneer Day / Days of '47, etc (or Pie and Beer Day, as those of us in the "counter-culture" like to say), but because Sunday is sacred the celebration will be on Monday. I'm very happy to have a day off, no matter the reason.


Celebrations

Time away from the blog stretched on longer than I'd intended. I feel I have many good excuses, but excuses they are. If I divide my life into sections of work, home, and family, there isn't one section that isn't in some sort of upheaval. This weekend afford time for peace, time for calm, time of love, and time to regroup. 

This weekend my family came together, from places all across the country, to celebrate Dad's life.  He taught his children to love nature, love music, to be strong, independent, and generous. All 7 of Dad's children were here along with many of his grandchildren and great grandchildren. Three of Dad's 4 living siblings were here (which wasn't easy) and many of their children also came. It was wonderful to see cousins I hadn't seen in quite some time. 

This weekend was mostly about Dad, but there were other things going on, too. 

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1. This weekend I listened to my family make beautiful music together. My sisters, nieces, and nephew played two of Dad's favorite hymns at his memorial service. My sister plays the harp, another sister the piano. My nieces and nephew play string instruments, and one of my nieces sings like a songbird. 

2. I listened to my sister and my nephew eulogize my father's capacity for love and acceptance. 

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3. I heard a member of the Armed Services Honor Corp play taps for my father. (I sobbed through the whole thing.)

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4. I watched the Honor Corp gave a gun salute in honor of my father's service during WWII. 

5. As the oldest child, I received the flag from a member of the Corp. I was verklempt as thank them for the flag and for their service to our country.

6.  The weekend wasn't just all about family, it was about friends, too. Sunday I helped a friend move and along with all the work there was love and laughter, too. 

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7. I admired the work of the tile guy who had set in my crazy choice of tiles for the new shower. May I just say how happy I am it looks even better than I envisioned. The contractor, and the tile guy, who were both a little skeptical, admitted it was great. There is still more work to do to finish the job. 

8.I organized and cataloged my inks, cleaned and filled a few of my pens, and wrote postcards, notes cards, and letters. 

9. I fit in a little knitting (working hard on my TTL Mystery shawl) and reading (working towards a Bingo). 

10. To finish off the weekend, Smith and I had dinner out with our neighbors, then came home to watch fireworks from our balcony--the city park to our left and the country club to our right. 

It was a fabulous weekend all around. 

Today Smith and I continue the long weekend by enjoying a day off together. We may head to our favorite spot, but we might decide to try someplace new. I'll let you know later.

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Thank you for the love, condolences, and support you have given me over the last month since my father died. I am very happy he is now at rest. I miss him and I know he would have loved the coming together of his family and the celebration that honored him. 


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.

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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.