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. 


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. 


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. 


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

Much Ado


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. 


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!


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. 


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. 


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. 


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.


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. 


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.

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?


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. 

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. 


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. 


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


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.


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. 


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. 

As Usually Happens


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!)


~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. 


~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.


~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). 


~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


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. 


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. 


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). 


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. 

 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.   


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.  


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).


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.


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. 


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.

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). 


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?)


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! 


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


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. 


Love this birdhouse created with Prisma Love!


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.